William Orbit | Hello Waveforms (Sanctuary)

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Good electronic albums are difficult to find these days. Mixing and remixing the same sounds can only result in so many songs without them sounding similar, right? Only a few electronic artists have been able to separate themselves from the monotony. William Orbit has been quietly influencing music for decades with his uniquely ambient records. With his newest album, hello waveforms, it seems Orbit takes a step back to examine his techniques.

Orbit has been pretty unobtrusive the past couple years, ever since his 2000 release Pieces in a Modern Style. After putting out such a beautiful piece of work, it must have been difficult to jump back into the market. Somehow, Orbit avoids the desire to mimic the success of his last record.

On his newest, Orbit attempts to incorporate a sleepy attitude. I tend to group electronic music into one of two categories: dance and mellow. Orbit’s solo albums have leaned toward mellow, but because Pieces in a Modern Style blew me out of the water with its passion, I was slightly disappointed with hello waveforms.

After Orbit’s years of helping produce albums and singles for artists like Madonna, Blur, U2, All Saints, and the Cure, it would stand to reason that repeats would be made. Unfortunately, some of the songs on the album simply run together during the first listen. It wasn’t until the second or third time through the record that I began to hear each song individually.

Every album has a purpose—a perfect setting in which the songs really come to life. There are dance albums, breakup albums, and angry albums. I would categorize Orbit’s hello waveforms as a chill-out album. If you enjoy background music that isn’t too distracting but still beautiful, you’ll find that this album is the one you’ve been looking for.

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