On Second Thought
Orbital - In Sides

By: Andrew Unterberger

Posted 01/16/2004 - 05:49:42 AM by NickSouthall:
 There are, of course, numerous points over which I could take issue with you here, young Mister Unterberber, but they pretty much all come down to subjective opinion, so I'll avoid that! I vividly remember skipping college on the day this was released (a brisk Monday in April), and rushing down at 9am to the only place in town that sold music. The excitement and wonderment I felt upon hearing it is still, nearly 8 years later, almost tangible... Incidentally, I seem to recall an interview with the Hartnolls around the time where they suggested that "Out There Somewhere" was a "two-part alien-abduction fantasy" (1996 being the height of X-Files fever!) in which the first part was the terrifying side to abduction stories (check out those chilling digital 'wails' that sound like extra-terrestrials screaming in pain) and the second part was the blissful, Close Encounters-style utopic vision. The segue from one to two is still one of my favourite moments of music ever, as the stereo-panning suddenly shifts into hyperdrive. And as for the fade-out... eternal sunset... Good work, Mr. U.
Posted 01/16/2004 - 05:50:20 AM by NickSouthall:
 Apologies for the typo in your name!
Posted 01/17/2004 - 08:04:33 AM by AUnterberger:
 The two-part alien abduction fantasy story does make sense--the first part is definitely much tenser and fairly paranoid ("I'll remember if it's the last thing I do!") and the second one is definitely more optimistic, almost danceable (and yes, that blissful ending). It's really a testament to the group that they can make a seamless 25-minute exploration of alien abduction and have it not be boring at all. Remarkable. Thanks for the comments, Southall.
Posted 01/18/2004 - 08:28:19 AM by Danielsan:
 Your final paragraph rings true, Orbital's In Sides being my first ever electronic music cd. I asked my older brother to get it for my 18th birthday the day it was released and I went over to his mate's place in the afternoon. It was a warm summer's afternoon and when my two friends and I arrived there was this strange music drifting through the open house along with a strange odour or two. We seated ourselves in the livingroom and "relaxed" and finally I got around to asking my brother what this cool but strange music was. To my suprise he said "It's that cd you wanted man. It's pretty good," with an emphasis to signify his approval. Must have been at least 6 rockers converted that one summer's afternoon. Funnily enough, I took that cd to my first ever bush doof (= dance party in a forest) and it was stolen out of my tent, along with several other cds that I would now view as classics... I purchased another copy of In Sides but none of the others were ever replaced.
Posted 01/20/2004 - 08:31:31 AM by badhaircut:
 A glorious album I'm just discovering for the first time. As far as the "alien-abduction fantasy" goes (not actually mentioned in the review, but all the same), wasn't that the whole theme of The Orb's U.F.Orb album?