Reunited brothers Paul and Phil Hartnoll recently released their new single, “Tiny Foldable Cities” on May 11th. Monsters Exist Their first new album in five years, entitled Monsters Exist out September 14th via ACP Recordings. The band today are sharing the video for the single. Orbital play their next show June 11th in Moscow.
“When you haven’t made an album in five years it just comes tumbling out.” “Because of the global situation I was torn between writing a really aggressive Crass-type album that says ‘Fuck The Man!’ or going back to rave sensibilities. You know, let’s really rebel by stepping away and actually living that alternative lifestyle.” But the idea of ‘Monsters Exist’ tied it all together.
“You don’t need to spell out who the monsters are,” he says. “We’re not pointing our fingers at Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un. It’s clear who the monsters are. I’ve never liked preaching to people. It’s much better to provoke a bit of thought.”
Phil puts it more succinctly. “It’s a reflection on modern day monsters,” he says. “That can mean anything from bankers and The Man or your own demons and fears. The monsters inside you,” he says, evilly.
Among the tracks in progress is a cosmic piece featuring an address for the possible end of the world by Prof. Brian Cox (“It’s Brian being emo,” says Paul. “Brian Emo”). There’s also an epic state-of-the-planet title track featuring “anguish, dread and News at Ten-style drama.”
When they’re in balance these leading figures of British dance music constitute their own self-regulating yin and yang. Analytical, detail-oriented Paul listens to everything from new electronica by Nathan Fake and Jon Hopkins to Beck and Belle & Sebastian.” Born-again German techno fan Phil is hammering Bicep and the resurgent minimal sound of Berlin (he went to Berlin for the first time ever in 2017 “and I was like fucking hell, why haven’t I been here before?”). If time is a loop then Orbital have completed their own revolution to a new equilibrium.
“The master plan for this one,” says Paul, “is to make a bloody good album. And then see what happens.” ”
“We had an absolutely fantastic year with the live shows in 2017,” says Phil Hartnoll. “For instance we played the Blue Dot Festival at Jodrell Bank which was incredible, and for our London Christmas shows we really wanted to upgrade our whole production, which seemed to pay off judging by the amazing crowd reaction. It all reminded us, yes, this is why we love doing this.”
This surge of creativity shows how the Hartnolls have rebuilt one of electronic music’s best-loved partnerships after Orbital’s surprisingly bitter break-up in 2012. Driven apart by music’s strange and infamous brother-vs-brother dynamic, Paul and Phil didn’t speak for five years after the ‘Wonky’ tour ended.
“When we fell out, I just couldn’t enjoy any of the amazing things we’d done over 25 years with Orbital,” says Phil. They’d been onstage with Stephen Hawking at the Paralympics, in front of the whole world. They’d remixed Madonna. They’d played Glastonbury many times and travelled the world. “And this silly row sort of poisoned it. How daft is that?”
Now the brothers have a pact. Whatever happens, Orbital does not stop. “We’ve learned to talk to each other rather than let things stew, and it’s much better,” says Phil. “We used to waste a lot of energy wondering what the other one was thinking and getting on each other’s nerves. But now we actually talk! And it’s brilliant.”
“It was silly really,” adds Paul. “We’re brothers and business partners and creative partners, so we were three times as likely to fall out. But in the end we had to remind ourselves that Orbital is something we’re really proud of and that we love doing it.”
It’s healthy, he thinks, to be reminded of how lucky you’ve been, of how you need each other, of how you’ve got to let each other play to their strengths. “If we were both the same,” says Paul, “then it wouldn’t be Orbital.”
Standard CD / Deluxe Edition Disc 1
1. Monsters Exist
2. Hoo Hoo Ha Ha
3. The Raid
5. Tiny Foldable Cities
6. Buried Deep Within
7. Vision OnE
8. The End Is Nigh
9. There Will Come A Time (Featuring Prof. Brian Cox)
Deluxe Edition Disc 2
2. A Long Way From Home
3. Analogue Test Oct 16
4. Fun With The System
5. Dressing Up In Other People’s Clothes
6. To Dream Again
7. There Will Come A Time – Instrumental
8. Tiny Foldable Cities – Kareful Remix
11 Moscow, Bosco Fresh Festival
29 Brighton Racecourse
30 Hull, Zebedee’s Yard
13 Beat-Herder Festival
14 Barcelona, Cruilla Festival
28 Margate, Dreamland
29 Camp Bestival, Big Top
3 Dekmantel, Amsterdam Holland
5 Dublin, Beat Yard Festival
11 Gateshead, Sage
01 Bristol, Downs Festival
08 Birmingham, Shiiine On Genting Arena – 1 day festival
18 Minehead, Shiiine On Butlins Weekender
15 London, Hammersmith Apollo
18 Sheffield, Academy
19 Cambridge, Corn Exchange
20 Manchester, Apollo
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