label: London / Warner Bros.
our score: 2.5 out of 5.0
the first time I heard an Orbital track. It was during the opening
credits of 1995's Hackers movie. From the start of "Halcyon's"
building electronic symphony I knew I was in for something unbelievably
special. No, it wasn't Hackers (although the movie does
remain a guilty pleasure), but rather I was introduced to the
wonderful world of electronic music... by none other than one
of the prime innovators of the genre.
Sure, I was
a late bloomer when it came to accepting electronic music. Orbital
had been making music since 1989 and it was only now, six years
later, that my ears caught on to the simply amazing pieces they
I call them
pieces because Orbital have always built musical compositions
rather than simplisitic electronic dance songs. Taking a look
back at the "work" Orbital has done in its thirteen
years it's easy to see this. They've always been more akin to
classical composers to popstars - in my book anyway.
unfaltering level of expertise in song production that has led
to Orbital being one of the select few names in electronic music
that can cause even the most boorish electronic fan to drool.
It's also the main reason why Work, although an entirely
necessary album in terms of historical standards, is ultimately
opening notes of their virgin floorburner, "Chime" to
the closing chimes of "Belfast," Work appears
to be an extremely successful "greatest hits" compilation
- at least to any non-fan. But here's the problem: only Orbital
fans are really going to be interested in this compilation. And
then there's the big question: why would an Orbital fan really
want this album when they more than likely have already invested
their money in the albums these tracks have been culled from?
An even more
preposterous notion is the fact that the tracks on Work
are, for the most part, the shorter single versions. Instead of
the uplifting build of "Halcyon" you're dropped right
into the climax. Instead of the raging flashback electro-core
of "Satan" we get "Satan Spawn" - that's right,
the horrendous version with Kirk Hammett of Metallica from the
What Work ultimately
ends up as is a cheap version of Moby's Songs compliation
(if that's really possible), with trimmed down crappier versions
taking the place of their supremely superior counterparts. For
a timeline of a band like Orbital Work really should
have been a double-disc set. At least it would have really gotten
the point across. Orbital is an outstanding musical group; there's
no reason their history should be told in such an easy-to-consume
anyone new to the genre or for those really big Orbital
fans who can't live without the new track "Frenetic"
(which is only available on Work, amazing as that is)
it may be a worthy purchase.
In this reviewer's
opinion, however, Work is simply Orbital for those cheap
bastards not ready to commit. I only pray that after Work
they invest in the "real" versions of the songs.
26-Aug-2002 8:44 PM