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The Orb Vs Dave Gilmour – Metallic Spheres

The Orb Vs David Gilmour, Metallic Spheres

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

AT first glance, the pairing of ambient/house pioneers The Orb and ex-Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour seems too good to be true. Upon closer inspection, however, the collaboration is somewhat disappointing.

The two acts first got together on a version of Graham Nash’s Chicago for a charity project and enjoyed the experience so much that the Metallic Spheres project seemed like a natural progression.

The ensuing album is designed to be heard in two parts – Metallic Side (clocking in at 28mins 42secs) and Spheres Side (20’12”).

Also present are five musical sub-divisions in each part, thereby allowing the album to uniquely utilize Gilmour’s discernable electric guitar and lap steel guitar, Alex Paterson’s sound manipulation, keyboards and turntables, and Youth’s bass guitar and keyboards.

Far from being a thrilling venture, though, the album often struggles to get off the ground with the ambience of The Orb very much to the fore a lot of the time, and Gilmour’s guitar work nowhere near as brilliant as it can be.

Indeed, you could argue that there’s too much of a mutual appreciation society going on, with no one true identity really allowed to shine through.

Of the two parts, Spheres Side is arguably the more enjoyable… but there’s not much to choose from.

That’s not to say Metallic Spheres is terrible; merely disappointing. It does have its moments… times when The Orb deliver a thumping back-beat that deserves to be played at maximum volume so as to allow the speakers to really reverberate.

Or others when Gilmour is let off the shackles slightly… when his legendary guitar skills speak for themselves.

The nostalgic among you may reflect on some segments that sound like the score to latter Miami Vice episodes, when Jan Hammer was less of a one-man show (especially towards the end of Part 1), while others may appreciate the ambience that firmly places large segments of the LP in chill-out territory.

But given the standing of both acts in musical history, and their penchant for genre redefining, Metallic Spheres is an awfully pedestrian offering that fails to properly do justice to the skills of either act.

It’s great as background music… but that in itself is something of a damning description.

Track listing:

  1. Metallic Side
  2. Sphere Side

  1. totally disagree. its ambient with a smidgen of tangerine dream electronica thrown in for good measure. pedestrian? Perhaps you should be reviewing a metal band?

    madcaplaughs    Oct 11    #
  2. i’m intrigued and impressed by this project. there is a cool “making of” video on the site…its worth a watch –

    Heather    Oct 12    #