After having Steve Hillage play on their first (as well as several other) albums it does make one wonder why a collaboration between The Orb and David Gilmour didn’t happen a long time ago. The Orb had referenced Pink Floyd’s work enough including sampling Richard Wright’s keyboards at one point. Anyway, with a rather polite fanfare here are the fruits of their first labour together. And to be honest with you its kind of what you expect, which is no bad thing.
The album is fairly short with a total running time of 48 minutes. Side one, or the ‘Metallic Side’ as it’s called, sets the scene with glistening synthesizers that seemed to be played from within an alien spacecraft. After a few seconds Gilmour’s instantly recognisable guitar sounds lifts off and makes the track verge more towards the sound of the opening of “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” Then The Orb start to kick in the ambient rhythms and the spaceship begins to head towards the centre of the universe back to planet where the Greys come from. The only hiccup on this ride is “Hymns to the Sun” section where Gilmour starts to sing rather weakly, which comes as a distraction to the head trip. The fact that this is reprised on side two (or ‘The Spheres Side’) breaks up what would have been a comfortable trip to another world with some irritating turbulence. However, this is a small gripe.
It’s side two where both artists seem to feel more at home together and comes across as the stronger of the two. This, maybe, because it seems to borrow heavier from The Floyd at times and drifts into the cosmic void in a more progressive vein. Alex Patterson of The Orb piles on some odd samples (is that part of The Wicker Man soundtrack I hear in there; hmmm) and there’s even a touch of Tangerine Dream in the synth sounds. Overall there are no huge surprises here and the album works well as an hour to hyper nod. The royalties from the album goes towards helping support the case of Garry McKinnon, a British computer hacker who broke into the US government’s sites to look for evidence of UFOs and was going to be extradited to face trial by the then Labour government. The truth is out there…..