Influential Electronica Duo Orbital Split Up - Rolling Stone
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Influential Electronica Duo Orbital Split Up

“Nothing lasts forever and it’s time to stop,” the brothers Hartnoll announce following group’s 25 years and eight albums together

Orbital circa 1991Orbital circa 1991

Orbital circa 1991

Martyn Goodacre/Getty

Brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll of the influential electronica duo Orbital have decided to end their musical partnership after 25 years and eight studio albums, the band revealed on their official website Tuesday. “After 25 years at the forefront of electronic music – from house to rave to festival mega-techno, to international dance stardom to the 2012 London Paralympics Opening Ceremony – Orbital brothers Paul and Phil Hartnoll announce that they’re hanging up their iconic torch-glasses and parting ways for the final time,” the band announced in a statement.

Named after the U.K.’s orbital motorways, Orbital’s Hartnoll brothers began making music together in 1989 in their Kent, England home. Their first single “Chime” drew enough interest to get the duo signed to FFRR Records, which distributed Orbital’s self-titled 1991 debut album. In 1996, the duo released their most critically acclaimed disc In Sides. Even more so than their studio work, though, Orbital became recognized for their incredible live performances, including a legendary 1994 Glastonbury set that was captured on their live LP Live at Glastonbury 1994–2004.

Orbital initially broke up in 2004 as the brothers focused on their own musical projects, but they reunited in 2009 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Chime.” Their final studio album Wonky arrived in 2012. Orbital’s two-decade retrospective Orbital 20 landed on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 30 greatest EDM albums of all time.

“We’ve had our ups and downs, and it’s not always been easy, but I’ve loved my time with Orbital,” Paul Hartnoll wrote in Orbital’s farewell statement. “It’s been brilliant that we’ve been able to take our music to so many places, from local clubs to headlining Glastonbury to playing massive events across America, Australia, Japan… It’s been fantastic.” Paul Hartnoll revealed that he already launched a new project called 8:58 as well as worked on the soundtrack for the BBC series Peaky Blinders along with PJ Harvey and producer Flood. Phil Hartnoll will focus on his DJ career.

“It was particularly nice to get such a lovely reception when we got back together a few years ago,” Paul Hartnoll continued. “We made the Wonky album specifically to play live and these shows over the past few years have been a real high point in many ways. The shows and the audiences have been amazing. But nothing lasts forever and it’s time to stop.”

In This Article: Orbital


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