Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Choon of the Week: Orbital "Impact (The Earth is Burning)"

I never danced in a field in Hampshire until 1999. By then, all night raves were sponsored by Ericcson, which takes some of the je ne sais quoi out of it. But one of my most fatalist beliefs is that we don't come into contact with music and love it until we are ready for it, and I was not ready for all things electronic until about my sophmore year in college (1997-1998).

My most romantic side is the one that fantasizes about hearing great music within the context it was originally written. The rebellious energy of early rave/acid house/whatever you want to call it will clearly be a bit muted when you are listening to it at your desk at work, but a boy can't help but dream of driving around the M25 (where Orbital got it's name) waiting for a call on a massive mobile phone to find out where the underground party is going to be, and that dream for me arrives when I listen to Orbital's "Impact (The Earth is Burning)"

The song is off of the Brown Album (Orbital 2), which came out in 1993. It's a completely epic track clocking in ten and a half minutes and it should be noted that when Orbital released their greatest hits compilation, Work 1989-2002, vitrually every other song was edited down to a three minute version, but "Impact..." was left completely in tact.

"Impact..." starts off with a factory plant sounding breakbeat drenched in acid (808, not LSD) but quickly devolves into a battle of the synth lines. First, a bubbling acid line that serves the role of a bassline throughout the song. Then everything stops for the main riff - as majestic and dramatic an acid house melody as you can find. I know this sounds like completely hyperbolic, but check it out and tell me if I have completely lost the plot. Attached to the main riff like a siamese twin is the synthetic bagpipe line - like two attention-starved kids flailing their arms, but in a very appealing way. Both are great, completely distinct from each other but co-existing to the point of co-dependency (maybe not - I am sure one could make a very effective remix using just one of the lines). From there, the song undulates in and out of these main melodies (and a few others), before building to the crescendo of the song - one of those dramatic vocal samples from an obscure old movie or TV show ("it's a cry for survival!") delivered as the rhythm keeps building into states of pure serotonin-soaked bliss.

Now I am looking out over the panoramic view of New Jersey from my office window (trust me, it's actually very pretty) wishing I was freaky dancing instead of drafting memos, but you can't go mad for it on a Wednesday morning (sorry this COTW is two days late), and at least I have "Impact..." to color my impression of what freaky dancing in the proper context would have been like.


At 5:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, I just listened to that and had to Google it to find out who says "It's a cry for survival", as I thought it sounded like Bill Nighy. Never found out. It's probably not.

Anyway, you're right about those Halcyon days of the early nineties, jumping around in a field in the early hours of the morning. It was fun! Never did any ecstacy tho. I'm sure you have some Underworld, now Cowgirl is a chooooon!

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