wed 20/03/2019

CD: 8:58 - 8:58 | reviews, news & interviews

CD: 8:58 - 8:58

CD: 8:58 - 8:58

First from Paul Hartnoll since Orbital's demise

"A twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop..."

In 2004 the era-defining dance duo Orbital supposedly went their separate ways. In fact, they merely took a four-year sabbatical. Three years later one half of the sibling pairing, Paul Hartnoll, released his debut solo album, The Ideal Condition. It was a lush affair, demonstrating a rich, warm musicality which hinted where Orbital’s melodic chops came from. It didn’t sell but was the best thing either Orbital brother, together or separately, had done in years. The revitalised Orbital then released two further albums, the latter of which, Wonky, was a gem, its closing number, “Where Is It Going?” as good as anything they ever did. Then they split last Autumn, ostensibly once and for all.

Paul Hartnoll is the first brother out of the traps, this time under a new moniker, 8:58. On his second solo album he combines the orchestral leanings and guest singers of The Ideal Condition – including The Cure’s Robert Smith, who's on both albums – with Orbital’s techno agenda. The result is a happy one.

Hartnoll’s interest in the nature of time first surfaced on Orbital 2 (AKA The Brown Album) and now provides a loose theme, with the actor Cillian Murphy popping up on a couple of tracks, both featuring the lines, “What if you could turn away from time’s tyranny? Vanish into a watchless world.” One of them, “8:58”, comes on like a genteely industrialised stab at the Art of Noise’s “Moments in Love”, the other, "The Clock", is pulsing, riveting dancefloor material of the kind Hartnoll's longterm fans will enjoy, as is the driving banger “Nearly There”. Happily the more song-orientated fare mostly works too. The Ed Harcourt-featuring “Villain” is a clunker, stodge clad in electro rags, but the numbers featuring Lisa Knapp, The Unthanks, and Fable work fine, offering varying degrees of the wispy and ethereal blooming into muscular electronic 4/4 drive.

Throughout, Hartnoll maintains a tunefulness that flits stylishly about rather than conventionally shouting its presence, and 8:58 is a fine, more-ish addition to the work of a consistently enjoyable electronic composer.

Overleaf: Watch the video for "The Clock"

Combines orchestral leanings and guest singers with Orbital’s techno agenda. The result is a happy one


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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