Orbital - Snivilisation - Review
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critics' view

There have been occassions where I've been discussing Orbital with another big fan of the group and the question has been asked, "so what's your favorite album by them?" Before I heard Insides, I would always say that my favorite was Snivilisation, but often times afterward I would answer with the previous disc. It wasn't that I really liked either one much more than the other, it always ended up being whichever one was the most fresh in my mind.

While I may enjoy a couple of the songs on Insides a bit more, I think that Snivilisation is a much more cohesive release (minus the inclusion of one track that I'll talk about later) and actually probably their most even-flowing release to date. Of course, that's a somewhat strange statement to make given that the group toys with drum and bass, ambient, and even electronic thrash music (again, I'll talk about it a bit later) over the course of 10 songs and almost 75 minutes of music. Perhaps it's just that much of the music has the same sort of 'feel' to it and maybe it's just that it all is enclosed within a completely unobtrusive grey case with weird cartoons that somehow seem to convey the somewhat slapdash, yet unified effort.

In fact, the album opens up with some classic Orbital sounds. On "Forever" the brothers Hartnoll pull together all kinds of little chiming melodies and blips over a very subtle beat and the track flows as smooth as can be. "I Wish I Had Duck Feet" pulls together a sample from a carnie worker and some other spoken words into more of a sound collage than anything else. It's really just a setup, though, for the oblong pulses of "Sad But True." Those looking for a Metallica cover may find themselves a bit dissapointed, but it's yet another amazing track with a big loping beat and some repetitive synth sounds that layer until several different vocal layers by Alison Goldfrapp are added (some drifting, while others are cut-up and stuttering).

Following that straight-away is "Crash And Carry," one of those tracks that shows the group can pull off dance numbers as well (although they've strayed from that arena recently). With a beat that will make you drive fast if played on a car stereo and more of those layered sounds that the brothers are so great at producing, it will have you moving wherever you listen to it. From there out, things get a little more strange. On "Kein Trink Wasser," they pile on the piano sounds at the beginning before dropping into a more standard track while on "Quality Seconds" they rip out a minute-long synthcore track that could have very well been the inspiration for half of Moby's Animal Rights disc. Fortunately, it's short.

On "Are We Here?" the group gives drum and bass their own unique sound (and again enlist the help of Goldfrapp on vocals) before the album closes out with the quiet "Attached" that goes from very ambient to just more than something with a pulse. It's a nice way for the album to close out (even though the song slowly gains throughout it's entirety) and it again leaves me wondering which one is the better Orbital album. Of course, you probably know what I'm going to say now, which is that they're both amazing, so I'll just leave it at that.

Aaron Coleman
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