Orbital collaborate with Penelope Isles

Orbital have shared new single "Are Still Alive?" featuring Penelope Isles. The track is off the duo's forthcoming album Optical Delusion
Orbital photo by Kenny McCracken

Orbital have today unveiled the video for their new single “Are You Alive?” Featuring Penelope Isles, the third track to be taken from the electronic music duo’s forthcoming album Optical Delusion, out February 17. The video was directed by long-time collaborate Luke Losey and features Lily Wolter of Penelope Isles. “Are You Alive?” follows lead single “Dirty Rat”, an incendiary collaboration with Sleaford Mods, and “Ringa Ringa (The Old Pandemic Folk Song)” featuring The Mediaeval Baebes.

The duo’s new single adds to the Orbital product range of existential questions (‘Are We Here?’, ‘Where Is It Going?’) in collaboration with Bella Union signings Penelope Isles, AKA brother and sister act Lily and Jack Wolter, who are originally from the Isle of Man but, like Orbital, are now based in Brighton. “They’re our studio mates, they work upstairs!” says Paul Hartnoll. “And they’ve both got amazing voices.”

“Are You Alive came about when I had the instrumental and felt it could do with a delicate vocal,” Paul continues. “Enter Penelope Isles! They took it away and Lily came up with some killer hooks, we spent a day rearranging the song and Hey Presto! Are You Alive was born. But don’t be fooled by the sweetness of the sound, the lyrics have some bite. It’s a dog-eat-dog world…”

The origins of the song come from a 6Music project called ‘The Virus Diaries’ that Paul did with his old schoolmate, the poet Murray Lachlan-Young. Every Wednesday the two had to deliver a track; this one was originally called “Garden Centre”. Then Paul began to wonder what it would be like with sung vocals. Lily Wolter’s lyrics developed it into a haunting breakup song and it grew a gorgeous musical box melody – all the poignancy of the last few years in one place.

The new album is the latest in a burst of renewed post-pandemic creativity for two brothers who’ve stayed at the top of their game longer than anyone from the post-1988 Class of Acid House. Earlier this year an Orbital thirtieth anniversary package 30 Something – featuring reinterpretations of “Chime”, “Satan”, “Belfast” and more by fans ranging from Jon Hopkins to ANNA to David Holmes, plus studio versions of Orbital live favourites – reintroduced Paul and Phil Hartnoll to a worldwide fanbase.

Optical Delusion
Track List

01 Ringa Ringa (The Old Pandemic Folk Song) (feat. The Mediaeval Baebes)
02 Day One (feat. Dina Ipavic)
03 Are You Alive? (feat. Penelope Isles)
04 You Are The Frequency (feat. The Little Pest)
05 The New Abnormal
06 Home (feat. Anna B Savage)
07 Dirty Rat – With Sleaford Mods
08 Requiem For The Pre Apocalypse
09 What A Surprise (feat. The Little Pest)
10 Moon Princess (feat. Coppe)

Orbital 2023 Tour Dates

March 28 Glasgow SWG3
March 29 Newcastle NX
March 30 Manchester Albert Hall
March 31 Bristol O2 Academy
April 1 London Eventim Apollo*
April 5 Leeds O2 Academy
April 6 Cambridge Corn Exchange
April 7 Nottingham Rock City
April 8 Brighton Centre
*venue change

Purchase tickets for Orbital HERE


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