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Orbital Biography

Home > Music > O > Orbital > Biography

Birth Place: Sevenoaks, England, UK
Years Active: 1989–2004, 2009 – present
Genres: Techno, Ambient Techno, House, Rave

Orbital is an electronic/dance music duo from Sevenoaks, England consisting of brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll. The duo came together in 1989 and disbanded in 2004. Five years later in 2009 the brothers reformed. The duo was a prominent feature in the electronica world during the 1990s, and attained both critical acclaim and commercial success.

Orbital's first recording, “Chime,” was released in 1989, which was a huge hit at rave clubs and peaked at #17 on the U.K. Dance chart. The duo's self-titled debut album arrived in 1991.

In 1992 they issued the EP, “Radiccio,” which did not chart well but produced the hit song, “Halcyon.” A year later saw the duo's second album, also a self-titled release, in 1993. The album peaked at #28 on the U.K. Albums chart, and remained there for 15 weeks.

The duo's third album, “Snivilisation” arrived in August 1994 and featured Alison Goldfrapp on vocals on several tracks. Orbital's fourth album, 1996’s “In Sides,” became their second Top 5 album on the U.K. Albums chart and brought the duo significant attention and success. As a result, the duo were approached to score the soundtrack of the film, “The Saint” and spent the next few years providing music for feature films.

1998 saw the brothers return to the studio to work on their fifth album, “The Middle of Nowhere” which was released in 1999 and again featured Alison Goldfrapp on vocals. They followed in 2001 with their sixth album, “The Altogether,” which included guest vocals from the Hartnolls' brother-in-law, David Gray.

Despite their growing success, Orbital called it quits in 2004 after a number of shows and the release of their seventh album, “Blue Album.” Paul Hartnoll continued to record music as a solo act, with his debut solo album, “The Ideal Condition” arriving in 2007 on ACP Records. Phil Hartnoll formed a new duo, Long Range, with Nick Smith. Their debut album, “Madness and Me,” also arrived in 2007 on their own label, Long Range Recordings.

In 2008, Orbital announced they would be reforming to play a gig together called “20 years after Chime” at The Big Chill Festival 2009. Since then the band has gone one to play a number of shows and released a new album, “Wonky” in 2012.