Orbital ‎– The Altogether

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Tracklist

Tension 5:52
Funny Break (One Is Enough) 4:55
Oi! 5:04
Pay Per View 5:11
Tootled 4:51
Last Thing 5:12
Doctor? 5:30
Shadows 5:47
Waving Not Drowning 4:31
Illuminate 5:28
Meltdown 10:17

Versions (27)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
8573 87782 2 Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album) FFRR 8573 87782 2 UK & Europe 2001 Sell This Version
none Orbital Orbital VI(CDr, Album, Promo) London Records none US 2001 Sell This Version
8573 88127 2 Orbital The Altogether 5.1(DVD-V, Album, Multichannel, PAL) Warner Music Vision, FFRR 8573 88127 2 UK & Europe 2001 Sell This Version
8573 87782 2, 0685738778225 Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album) FFRR, FFRR 8573 87782 2, 0685738778225 South Korea 2001 Sell This Version
857387782-2 Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album) FFRR 857387782-2 Brazil 2001 Sell This Version
AMCE-7234, 0685738792320, ORBCD Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album) FFRR, FFRR, FFRR, EastWest, EastWest, EastWest AMCE-7234, 0685738792320, ORBCD Japan 2001 Sell This Version
8573877822 Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album) FFRR 8573877822 Australia 2001 Sell This Version
40678 2 Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album + CD, Comp + Ltd) FFRR 40678 2 US 2001 Sell This Version
2 40678 Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album + CD, Comp + Ltd) FFRR 2 40678 Canada 2001 Sell This Version
none Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album, Promo) WEA Records, London Records none Germany 2001 Sell This Version
31167-2A Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album, Promo) FFRR 31167-2A US 2001 Sell This Version
8573 87782 2 Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album, Unofficial) FFRR (2) 8573 87782 2 Russia 2001 Sell This Version
none Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album, Unofficial) Not On Label (Orbital) none Yugoslavia 2001 Sell This Version
none Orbital The Altogether(CDr, Album, Promo) WEA Records none Germany 2001 Sell This Version
none Orbital The Altogether(CDr, Album, Promo) FFRR, London Records none US 2001 Sell This Version
none Orbital The Altogether(CDr, Album, Promo) FFRR none UK 2001 Sell This Version
8573-87782-4, 8573 87782 4 Orbital The Altogether(Cass, Album) FFRR, FFRR 8573-87782-4, 8573 87782 4 Bulgaria 2001 Sell This Version
8573 87782 4, 8573 87782-4 Orbital The Altogether(Cass, Album) FFRR, FFRR 8573 87782 4, 8573 87782-4 Poland 2001 Sell This Version
87782 4, 8573 87782 4 Orbital The Altogether(Cass, Album) Warner Music Korea, Warner Music Korea 87782 4, 8573 87782 4 South Korea 2001 Sell This Version
none Orbital The Altogether(Cass, Album, Unofficial) Moon Records (2) none Ukraine 2001 Sell This Version
857388127-2 Orbital The Altogether(DVD, Album, Promo, Pre) Warner Vision International 857388127-2 UK 2001 Sell This Version
WPBR-90209 Orbital The Altogether 5.1(DVD-V, Multichannel, NTSC, Album) Warner Music Vision, FFRR WPBR-90209 Japan 2002 Sell This Version
8573 87782 2 Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album) FFRR 8573 87782 2 UK & Europe Unknown Sell This Version
8573 87782 2 Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album, Unofficial) FFRR (2) 8573 87782 2 Russia Unknown Sell This Version
MTL-158 Orbital The Altogether(CD, Album, Unofficial) Not On Label (Orbital) MTL-158 Russia Unknown Sell This Version
none Orbital The Altogether(CDr, Album, Promo) Not On Label none UK Unknown Sell This Version
543-0 Orbital The Altogether(CDr, Album, Unofficial) Not On Label (Orbital) 543-0 Malaysia Unknown Sell This Version

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bullfinchart

bullfinchart

March 19, 2017
referencing The Altogether, CD, Album + CD, Comp + Ltd, 40678 2
Orbital cut ties with their club roots - temporarily at least.

The Altogether got a lot of flak when it came out, from myself included. The chunky drum sounds, the long unfurling epics interspersed with occasional club bangers: all gone. Orbital's pop album: something, it seemed, that nobody really wanted. Strong lead single - and the most classic-Orbital sounding track here - 'Funny Break', gave listeners false expectations. So the disappointment on initial plays led to an understandably negative response.

In hindsight, I find it a lot easier to be positive about the album for what it is: a very brave record. Previous album The Middle of Nowhere was solid, but found them out of new ideas - Orbital by numbers. Instead of continuing down that path with diminishing returns, they decided to mix things up entirely. The snippets of pop songs and '70s sci-fi that littered their tracks in the past now take the fore. Parts of the record - most notably 'Shadows' - preempt the hauntology movement, with a strong influence from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. 'Waving Not Drowning', ties together folky acoustics and basic analogue electronics in a disturbingly cheery kids TV theme. 'Pay Per View' skews lounge music into strange territories; 'Tootled' does the same with metal, sampling heavily from Tool. 'Tension' and 'Oi!' have tongues firmly fitted in cheeks, retro sounds and chirpy melodies mashing together rockabilly and rave.

It's not all great. 'Last Thing' is b-side quality, 'Doctor?' is a novelty step too far - a fun live track that should have been kept to the stage - and the less said about David Gray's appearance on 'Illuminate' the better. 'Meltdown' is decent but totally unfitting for the album. The album's artwork is really quite bad, even by the retro tongue-in-cheek feel of the album (bring back the old logo and swirly emblem!)

The Altogether is never going to be reassessed as a masterpiece, but I think it's time it gets a wider reappraisal. It's a bold record, a band trying a totally different approach after taking their classic sound as far as possible. It's intentionally retro sounding, and intentionally poppy, so those kitsch, cheesy sounds people often complain about are being unfairly misjudged. It might not be the most successful experiment ever, but it's an admirable one, and one that yields some excellent results in hindsight.

The US version features a generous, if slightly muddled, bonus disc, featuring all the original non-album material from the 'Style', 'Nothing Left', 'Beached' (sadly not 'Beached' itself, with the rights being owned by 20th Century Fox) and 'Funny Break' singles, plus the Altogether DVD bonus track 'Monorail'. Although these are almost all ostensibly the band's remixes of their own material, Orbital come from the same school of artists as FSOL and Underworld when it comes to reworking their own tracks into wonderful new, often unrecognisible, tracks. The menacing electro-breaks of 'Beelzebeat', for instance, started life as 'Funny Break', although one would never know by listening. 'An Fhomhair' is an acidic (and far superior) take on TMON's 'Otono'. 'Weekend Ravers' turns 'Funny Break' into a storming progressive trance number. 'Old Style' begins by reprising the melody from 'Style', before moving into an entirely new piece with an early rave feel. The sole wholly original piece here, 'Mock Tudor' is possibly the best, a stunningly beautiful piece of analogue techno in 7/4.

In terms of consistency and track quality, this bonus disc is one of the finest discs in the band's extensive catalogue. Unfortunately, the production styles of The Middle of Nowhere and The Altogether are incredibly at odds, giving the mixed running order a somewhat clumsy feel. 'Beelzebeat' seems immediately garish when followed by the chunky analogue sound of 'Nothing Left Out'; 'Monorail' suffers similarly sat between two more TMON-era pieces. A purely chronological running order, putting the various 'Style' mixes next to each other would have made an equally unsatisfying listen, but I still think the running order could do with more work to make the disc sound more cohesive.

Regardless, despite the criticisms I do have of this two CD set, they are mostly minor in comparison to the numerous highlights found here. To any newcomers to Orbital potentially put off by the negative response The Altogether has received, I'd strongly recommend giving this 2CD set a listen, as there is a lot to love if approached from the right perspective.
Numanoid

Numanoid

July 9, 2016
referencing The Altogether, CD, Album, 8573 87782 2
To sum it up in a nutshell this is the contractual obligation album
eliks_postindustry

eliks_postindustry

September 17, 2013
referencing The Altogether, CD, Album, 8573 87782 2

I have approached this album with caution, knowing how many negative reviews it's gathered over the years. Of course I knew "Funny Break" years before, but only this morning I have finally listened to the album in its entirety. And it sounds great! It's right on par with "The Middle of Nowhere" and even "Snivilisation", and not even a bit less interesting. It cannot be compared with Green or Brown, because it's different in style. You need to make up your mind what you expect of this album, before taking it on. Electronic music was different back in the early 90's when Green and Brown were released, and it is no surprise that the highly successful techno innovators such as Orbital have altered their sound ten years after that. It's intriguing, involving, and still makes you move every now and then. The only flaw I would say is its lack of signature climax, an anthem you anticipate by the end of the album; instead, "Funny Break" strikes right at number 2, which is not the way Orbital have usually set their tracks. Anyway - don't listed to the reviews - go and listen to it!
Sir_Ruff

Sir_Ruff

July 17, 2013
edited over 4 years ago
referencing The Altogether, CD, Album, 8573 87782 2
I am surprised at how few reviews there are of this album, and how most are negative. Having just listened to this album (twice) for the first time in at least 7 years, I am astounded at how much more I like it now compared to when it was first released, and I felt spurred to write something more positive.

I'm actually inclined to say that, stylistically, this is their most consistent, listenable and creative album since In Sides. They seem to have gone for a post-retro sound, i.e. the sounds are new, but I feel like they are channeling '60/70s Britain throughout. What I mistook for a hodgepodge of styles when this was first released now comes across as being much more coherent: this is Orbital pulling Add N to X-style rock vamps while sticking vehemently to their melodic guns; this is Orbital in the re-awakening of Britain of its BBC Radiophonic Workshop past, and this is Orbital doing a '70s (not '80s) pop/lounge album in their own inimitable style.

Their synth programming is on par with anything they ever did, but they also makes significant efforts to get away from some of their usual stylistic crutches. It's Orbital trying a little less hard to be classic "Orbital" while still very much sound like them; it's a tough balance but they manage it without sounding like they are trying too hard. Their vocal hooks are as catchy as ever, if not better, and I appreciate the unabashed happy-go-lucky nature of the entire album--this makes the odd "cheesy" synth sound easily forgiven. The only truly downer moment, for me, is the last song, Meltdown, which feels very out of place. Orbital doing (overwrought) IDM-style drum and bass just doesn't work. Ever. This was true in '94 for "Are we here", and it's true in 2001. Finishing on Illuminate would have been stellar. Oh well.

In the context of the earlier Middle of Nowhere and the later Blue album, those albums seem much more hackneyed and belabored to me now compared to The Altogether (although I vastly prefer the first to the second).

Ultimately, this will never be a classic Orbital album to the casual fan of their earlier material. But I think time has served it well, and it is definitely worth another listen if you, like me, had disowned it long ago.

I'll also add that the second disc is full of some b-side classics. Most of the slightly-too-many remixes of "Style" and one completely dodgy trance remix of Funny Break ["Funny Break (Weekend Ravers Mix)"] can be ignored, but "Monorail", "Doctor look out" and "Beezlebeat" are fantastic and should have all been on the Blue album. "Mock Tudor" is possibly one of the simplest, but most melancholic songs Orbital have ever done, akin to "The Tranquilizer" in terms of bittersweet melodies.
andregurov

andregurov

October 20, 2010
referencing The Altogether, CD, Album + CD, Comp + Ltd, 40678 2

I'll actually skip much commenting on the album proper; suffice to say it is a credible, although not groundbreaking, endeavor. But the 2nd disc is the keeper, mainly for the sublime "Beelzebeat" (originally a B-side to "Funny Break (One is Enough)"): an aggressive beat, horror bleeps, rave breaks, laser blasts, vocoderized vocals hidden in the mist, thunderous chords, and a midwestern melody played-on-who-knows-what show the Hartnoll boys never lost it. Quite worth the price, and the hidden gem of their past decade's efforts.
Shango3535

Shango3535

March 16, 2010
referencing The Altogether, CD, Album + CD, Comp + Ltd, 40678 2
1.09 Waving Not Drowning 4:31
Vocals - Kirsty Hawkshaw

On this track I don't hear any vocals at all. Am I missing something?
kawayama

kawayama

October 21, 2006
edited over 11 years ago
referencing The Altogether, CD, Album, 8573 87782 2
Orbital. Now more pop than ever before.

I've found three really good tunes on Orbital's new album. "Funny Break (One Is Enough)" is a classic Orbital-song with beautiful cyclical vocals by Naomi Bedford. "Doctor?" is the brothers' techno version of the Doctor Who theme, a favorite from innumerable live sets, finally down on plastic. "Meltdown", the last track on the album, is an epic masterpiece with clear rave vibes. The tune's got it all: slow HEAVY bass, at least two different breakbeats, piano loops, samples of type writers, sirens, telephones, smashed glass... and a build-up so filled with energy that it's next to impossible to sit still, you just gotta dance.

The rest of the album does have a few golden moments, but they are overshadowed by an all permeating feeling of cheesiness. For some unfathomable reason Orbital have taken the tinny sounds of eighties hi-nrg pop and tried to turn it into nineties rave. The result is thin and unengaging. Dated.

Also irritating is the fact that all of "Meltdown" isn't included on the CD, only the DVD version has the complete 22 minutes.