“It can only be attributable to human error.” - HAL 9000
More Leprechaun In Space than 2001: A Space Odyssey, this apparent concept album appears haunted by a creeping insincerity from start to finish. With two rather decent prior LPs in his discography for Planet Mu, Philadelphia’s Starkey fecklessly endeavors to stretch out the gimmick of his 2011 single “Open The Pod Bay Doors” with this meandering, weightless collection loosely tied together with mostly sci-fi titles like “Renegade Starship” and “G V Star Part 2”.
Unexceptional leads and dyspeptic detours mar the disappointing Orbits. In the latter category, ambient interlude “Crashing Sphere” attempts Kubrick’s cosmic class but instead spirals towards schmaltz. The choice of ham-fisted halfstep wobbler “Command” as the dancefloor single only starts to make sense shortly after Orbits’ halfway point, where one realizes that there won’t be anything coming to rescue the album. The pervasive self-seriousness thankfully relents with closer “Distant Star”, a tidy little update of early-‘90s Orbital techno that inexplicably reverts to bog standard dubstep for its final half-minute.
Considered a companion piece, the Command EP lets some other producers take a crack at making this more palatable to DJs. From Plastician’s chipmunk squeal-step to Drums Of Death’s retirement home rave, none of these reworks elevate the tune. In fact, some downright denigrate the source material, as in the case of Noisses’ awkward UK garage accident. Digital-only bonus track “Contact” closes out the EP with woefully vacuous balladry that was apparently too hollow-hearted for Orbits, though not by much.
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// Notes from the Road
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