In 1990, two fairly anonymous guys stood behind a band of synths in the Top of the Pops studio and awkwardly completed a far-too-short rendition of debut-single (and chart-hit, pop fans), "Chime". Nothing else sounded like it and, frankly, nothing else has sounded as euphoric and seemless - apart from perhaps other Orbital tracks, of course.
Paul and Phil Hartnoll created a monster with "Chime" (the 12" clocked in at well over 10 minutes), kick-starting a 25-year career, before the brothers decided to take a rest from recording in 2004. During those two and a half decades, our successive governments attempted to quell the tablet-driven jubilation first experienced during the acid-house era, later on during raves and finally as jungle started to grip urban strongholds.
The infamous Criminal Justice Bill and the Poll Tax riots were soundtracked, intentionally or unintentionally, by the likes of Orbital, Eat Static, The Drum Club, Spooky and all manner of top-quality techno-with-brains from labels such as Guerrilla, Warp and the Planet Dog banner.
In some ways, Orbital were out on a limb in the '90s. Their music was more space-wave than crime-wave, with a string of thoughtfully arranged and increasingly cinematic 12" singles such as "Halcyon", "Lush" and the classic B-side to the "Satan" single, "Belfast", a perfect comedown if ever there was one. Along the way they've occasionally threatened to go off the rails - they once collaborated with Metallica and Angelo Badalamenti and rewrote the Doctor Who theme - but even these ideas came off, triumphantly. Their albums were never less than consistent, and if you need proof of just how far ahead of the game these boys were (and have remained so), even in 2011, check out the closing track on the album, "Insides" (called "Out There Somewhere 2" - 13 minutes)..
Talking of 2011, you can check out a brand new track, "Never", by moving your cursor up to the box on the right - it's a taster of their new forthcoming album, due in April 2012. It's a belter.
2012 will also see the brothers back on the road for their first proper tour since their comeback (of sorts) in 2009, with tickets due to go on general sale from this Friday. Their chosen cities are Manchester (5th April), Leeds (6th), Glasgow (7th), Liverpool (8th), Cambridge (9th) and London's Royal Albert Hall (10th). It is highly likely that the shows will sell out very quickly.