It is June 1994 and I am in a tenement flat in Edinburgh watching coverage of the Glastonbury Festival with my friend Aydin. Aydin and I had been to the Reading Festival some years previously and cheated by staying over in his grandparents’ house in London and driving in every day – that’s the way to do a festival. Anyway here we are in Edinburgh and this band called Orbital come on the telly – now up to this point in my life I’m very much a white boys with guitars kind of music lover and as for dance music – forget it, I hate it with a passion and don’t have any in my music collection save for some New Order, Happy Mondays and Primal Scream remixes – that kind of stuff was okay as it was on Factory and Creation.*
I sit and watch these two blokes and suddenly I get it, I understand what these men are doing and the tunes, oh the tunes are there, they are big, subtle but powerful and I love them – I bloody love this dance band and need them in my life. They play a tune which the caption on the screen tells me is called “Impact” and it is one of the greatest things I have ever heard in my life – Aydin turns to me and says “What a load of rubbish.” “No way – it’s fantastic, I love it.” I reply and that’s how my Orbital fandom began!
1994 was a pivotal year in my life and Orbital kind of became the soundtrack to the big events in my life – seeing my wife to be for the first time across the college canteen, getting married, having children, moving away from my childhood home, Orbital were always there and when they split up in 2004 my first born son Gruff and I sat in the car listening to them and reader, I cried as I saw him tapping his feet and nodding his head along to One Perfect Sunrise from their – at the time – final album – ten years had passed from that moment in Edinburgh and my life had changed in every possible way.
And then they reformed. As a rule I hate bands reforming but in 2009 off I went to the Brixton Academy and as part of one of the happiest audiences I’ve ever been in watched a reformed Orbital play a fantastic gig and they are as good as they ever were which breaks all my preconceptions about bands reforming. The subsequent album Wonky took nearly three years to arrive but it was worth it and it makes me smile when I listen to it – I still love them.
First up – Impact from that 1994 Glastonbury performance:
Next, the one that made me cry – One Perfect Sunrise:
*I did admit to being a music snob in an earlier post.