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William Orbit – My Oracle Lives Upstairs

William Orbit, My Oracle Lives Uptown

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

WILLIAM Orbit’s new album My Oracle Lives Uptown is a curious listen. On the one, it’s billed as “more of a party record” than his previous releases, and isn’t ambient “although it has its ambient moments”.

It’s also a deliberately low-key release and pretty straight-forward, eschewing the ambition of Pieces In A Modern Style in favour of just cutting loose and having some fun.

The party, though, would have to be fairly low-key too. Nothing screams out “let’s dance” like a Mark Ronson jam, while the ambience is still a pretty marked feature.

Orbit fans should dig what it has to offer, while anyone who liked the producer’s work with acts such as All Saints, Madonna and Blur will probably find moments to admire.

There’s also plenty of ambition evident in Orbit’s choice of instruments, with those trademark electronics mixing with all manner of additional drums, flutes, harps, etc.

But overall this feels more like a breezy chillout record, so anyone expecting a party anthem for the summer months had best think again.

It’s also an album that rewards the patient listener, with tracks getting better with each listen.

Standouts include former single Optical Illusions (Call My Name, featuring some lush guitar riffs, a haunting flute, and an angelic set of looped vocals from Karen Poole, the vaguely Holmes’-esque Spotlight Kid (which really does tap into the party spirit Orbit was seeking), and the ridiculously soothing Neutron Star, featuring a funky shuffle and some lovely vocals from Suzie Rose. It could almost be All Saints… almost!

Enjoyable, too, are title track My Oracle Lives Uptown, which is cute, playful and trip-hoppy, the disco-infused Hydrajacked, which sounds as though it could have been produced by Miami Vice‘s Jam Hammer, and the darker, Depeche Mode friendly White Night.

Opening track Radioharp is also a nice entry point. Latterly, though, tracks such as Drift So Far and Golden Country drift too much towards low-key ambience and may give rise to some head-scratching. It lacks a big finish.

That said, it’s still a worthwhile listen and as soothing as we’ve come to expect – but in a happier, less thoughtul way than usual.

Download picks: Optical Illiusions (Call My Name), Spotlight Kid, Neutron Star, White Night, My Oracle Lives Uptown

Track listing:

  1. Radioharp
  2. Purdy
  3. Optical Illusions
  4. White Night
  5. Hydrajacked
  6. Nimbus
  7. My Oracle Lives Uptown
  8. Spotlight Kid
  9. Neutron Star
  10. Drift So Far
  11. Golden Country
  12. City Lights Reflection