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Orbit Service

Songs of Eta Carinae

(Beta-Lactam Ring; US: 9 May 2006; UK: Available as import)

The Legendary Pink Dots would be proud—their once-unique brand of psychedelia has officially been co-opted, and well, by Denver, Colorado’s Orbit Service.  Songs of Eta Carinae (dedicated to the dying star of that name a mere 7,000 light years from you and me) is the second album from the group, and they do the restrained narrative thing quite well, allowing as much darkness as they can to seep into the mix before they blow it into little itty bits with well-placed catharses.  Opening track “Wolves” is one of the best to be found on the album, as it puts the entire Orbit Service package in a convenient, four-and-a-half minute candy wrapper, but the centerpiece is the astounding, eleven-minute “Asphyxia”.  “Asphyxia” does the meandering psychedelia better than anything else on the album, perhaps because it is in no hurry to get to its little explosions, and its three-minute beatless ambient epilogue provides respite from all the heavy sentiment while maintaining the high artistic bar.  Occasionally, Orbit Service falls into the trap of not allowing their songs the space to develop, and little experiments like “Closed Circuit” come off as a bit pointless, but for the most part, Songs of Eta Carinae is deeply absorbing work.

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Mike Schiller is a software engineer in Buffalo, NY who enjoys filling the free time he finds with media of any sort -- music, movies, and lately, video games. Stepping into the role of PopMatters Multimedia editor in 2006 after having written music and game reviews for two years previous, he has renewed his passion for gaming to levels not seen since his fondly-remembered college days of ethernet-enabled dorm rooms and all-night Goldeneye marathons. His three children unconditionally approve of their father's most recent set of obsessions.


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