Information, discography and graphics:
I remember back in 99 when I first bought this album. Before then I had only listened to trance and the common club hits, even Spice Girls. I hadn’t learned about all the great music out there. In comes Orbital, and blows my mind away. For a year straight. On my way to school. I had it on literally 24/7 and it really opened up my music taste. So naturally, this review isn’t technical or analytic, because the CD is pure emotion to me.
In retrospect of course I enjoy the high attention to detail, the way every track oozes of effort and talent, but at the time, I had no clue about such analytical things. The CD shoots off with “Way Out”, where trumpets and synth lines morph away in complicated matters, and a beautiful repetitive melody comes into play. Orbital always loved those long evolving tracks, and this CD is no exception. All the tracks feel like a journey on each own, where usually there is a first section, second section and then back to first section. With all the sounds and small things they put in I can’t imagine the amount of work needed to sequence it all, but even so it never gets overpopulated or too messy, all the sounds are placed well and work well.
Now naturally in a review, the reviewer is supposed to compare it to earlier albums. And while I agree that this can be fruitful, in this case Middle Of Nowhere is just different. It’s different in the way that they no longer have as much a theme or a concept with the album as they did on Snivilisation or In Sides. It’s music for music’s sake so to speak. It’s all about the sounds, the arrangements, the climaxes. The title ‘Middle Of Nowhere’ with a pure white cover sort of gives this away before listening to it.
It’s even so extremely enjoyable to listen to, and an album that will forever be a part of my soul. I reckon it’s one of their best…
In no particular order:
Lustmord – [ B E Y O N D ] (Extremely accurate and the perfect incarnation of soft moody dark ambient)
Alva Noto – Xerrox vol 1 and 2 (Beautiful ambient with excellent associations)
Boards Of Canada – Geogaddi (Their weirdest but also most nice album imo)
Autechre – Draft 7.30 (Their most isolating and immersive album)
Air – 10,000 hz Legend (Perfect melodies and nice beats)
Goldmund – Corduroy Road (Amazing quiet piano)
Hybrid – Morning Sci-Fi (Excellent cinematic and scifi breakbeats)
Murcof – Martes (Nice strings and moody glitches)
Plaid – Double Figure (Awesome melodies)
Radiohead – Amnesiac (Better than Kid A)
Sufjan Stevens – Illinois (Beautiful songwriting and instrument use)
Burial – Untrue (Nice atmospherics for late nights)
Elegi – Sisteris (Perfect rendition of haunted shipyards and boats made of wood)
Mira Calix – One On One (Innocence and beauty)