Pink Floyd RSS News Feed


We have 10 guests online
Visitors: 94032962
Pink Floyd The Black Strat book by Phil Taylor
Nick Mason Inside Out signed copy
Brain Damage and A Fleeting Glimpse
Home arrow Reviews arrow Albums arrow The Orb featuring David Gilmour: Metallic Spheres album review
The Orb featuring David Gilmour: Metallic Spheres album review Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Orb featuring David Gilmour - Metallic SpheresLast month, we told you about the new collaboration between David Gilmour, and ambient wizards The Orb. The resulting album, Metallic Spheres, has really got the interest fired up amongst many of you, and we're getting a regular stream of emails asking about it. Thanks to our friends at Sony, we can now bring you the exclusive first review of the album!

You might recall that last year, David had been in the studio jamming with Martin "Youth" Glover, who was at the time working on an ambient mix of the 'Chicago' re-recording, which was released to raise awareness of the plight of Gary McKinnon. Dr Alex Paterson (the one constant through the history of The Orb) was not involved in the sole jamming session and the only plan initially was for David to play guitar on 'Chicago'. However, the result of that jam session has now been spread across this album, released as "The Orb featuring David Gilmour".

Said Paterson: "It's a collision that's been waiting to happen with Pink Floyd/David Gilmour and The Orb orbiting many of the same planets". Truly a match made in the heavens, both parties were clearly made for each other going by the lush and absorbing result...

Metallic Spheres is designed to be heard in two parts – 'Metallic Side' (quoted as being 24'48" long, but actually running for 28'42"), and 'Spheres Side' (said to be 25'09" but in reality, a shorter 20'12") – each 'side' containing five discrete movements which are hard to pinpoint in terms of their start and finish. The album features David's guitar and lap steel guitar, plus some of his vocals from 'Chicago'; Alex Paterson contributes sound manipulation, keyboards and turntables, while Youth adds bass and keyboards and handles the production.

In addition to the standard CD album, there will be a 'Deluxe' 2CD version: the first disc is the same as the standard, the second is a 3D60™ version, a new sound production process developed by Youth, Mike Brady (The Jam's live sound engineer) and Ian Thompson (musician and multimedia producer), which allows you to listen in three-dimensional sound. As with the earlier QSound format, you don't need special equipment, and it is said to "sound amazing on any headphones in any format", and also quite different to the standard CD release. The album will also be available from iTunes, and there will also be a vinyl version, exactly the same as the standard CD, but including a download card permitting you to download an additional ambient bonus track. All versions will be available from October 11th (UK) and October 12th (North America). Ordering details are at the foot of this review.

A low rumble, some random keyboard notes, then the instantly recognisable guitar work of David Gilmour greets the listener of the 'Metallic Side'. Subtlety is the key here - a perfect accompaniment to the atmospheric and percussive soundscape on offer. Those who crave the structure of a regular song, with its rigid verse/chorus structure, need not bother with this. But hey - you're a Floyd fan, right? Some of their greatest moments have been lush, meandering glimpses into different worlds...

As the first quarter of 'Metallic Side' finishes, the percussion builds, offering a more urgent tone, and one begins to hear the odd human voice in the distance behind David's soaring guitar, but it's nearly ten minutes into the track before part of his vocal from 'Chicago' can be heard, albeit quite fleetingly.

Of course, whilst this album was developed from the 'Chicago' session, it is so far removed from what you heard released back in August 2009, you'd hardly know they were connected.

By the midpoint, a pastoral air arrives, with guitar work reminiscent of Obscured By Clouds era Floyd material. From here, the mood goes quite introspective until the final movement kicks in, closing things with a heavily percussive flourish, accompanied again with David's delicate guitar work.

The 'Spheres Side' starts with a darker and altogether more purposeful feel to it. What strikes you strongest is the harder guitar work. This then pursues a more percussive vein than the Metallic Side, especially when entering the final third. It certainly seems to feature a lot less of David's guitar work by the middle section, although just as you feel they've forgotten about him, his 'Chicago' vocal reappears for what feels like a longer outing this time around.

At times sweeping and majestic, at others quiet and introspective, this album is never dull or predictable. A great showcase for the talents of both protagonists (David, and The Orb), it won't necessarily be to everyone's tastes but we urge all of you to seek it out with an open mind. It's an album that will reward you as you get more familiar with its meandering paths.

The album marks a new direction for David's guitar work, and one which we hope will not be a one-off. For years, The Orb's work has had many parallels with Pink Floyd's, both musically and visually, with a healthy number of fans of both exploring the other's back catalogues. Metallic Spheres will only boost this, in an album that we hope is just the first of these collaborations.

The date of release has now been fixed at October 11th in the UK, and one day later in North America. As a reminder, in addition to the standard CD album, there's the 'Deluxe' 2CD version, which includes the 3D60™ version, and the album will also be available from iTunes. Finally, there will also be a limited 180-gram vinyl version, exactly the same as the standard CD, but including a download card permitting you to download an additional ambient bonus track.

Pre-orders for the album have now started, and you can currently order the following:

SingleCD AmazonUK AmazonCA AmazonDE AmazonFR HMV Play Tesco
Deluxe 2CD
AmazonUK   AmazonCA AmazonDE AmazonFR HMV Play  
Vinyl AmazonUK AmazonCA AmazonDE AmazonFR HMV    

For the single CD, at time of writing Play are substantially cheaper than the other European retailers at time of writing, and Amazon Germany are cheaper than the UK for the vinyl edition.

< Prev   Next >
Brain Damage on Facebook Follow Brain Damage on Twitter Brain Damage's YouTube channel
Pink Floyd Calendar
Pink Floyd on iTunes
HeYou Floyd Fanzine - order details - the Pink Floyd, Nick Mason, David Gilmour
and Roger Waters news & info site
All content except where noted otherwise is © Brain Damage/Matt Johns 1999-2023.
Please see 'About Brain Damage' page for legal details and the small print!
Website generously designed and built by 3B Web Design