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Orbital; Spring Heel Jack

Presented by Philip Blaine Presents. Bands: (Orbital) Paul Hartnoll, Phil Hartnoll; (Spring Heel Jack) John Coxon, Ashley Wales. Reviewed Dec. 4, 1996. Orbital's success as a performing and recording act says as much about techno as Oasis does about British rock: It's in the songwriting don't expect a movement to ensue. The British band Orbital, with no central focal point, sells out two nights at the Legion Hall because of their ability to structure a viscerally exciting evening out of generally wordless, beat-happy modern electronic music performed on a bank of computers, keyboards and other electronic devices. Few techno artists understand the relationship of rhythm and melody as well as Phil and Paul Hartnoll, and their set flowed much in the manner of their latest disc, "In Sides" gradually building from compact numbers to eruptions of giant beats and manic melodies. It lends a sense of familiarity to the sonic terrain, mapped out with material from throughout their five-album history. On screens flanking the brothers Hartnoll the only visual aid beyond the "jewel-cutter" lights on the duo's foreheads simple shapes and images mirrored the locked-in rhythms and the gentle tunefulness that filled the bulk of the first third of Orbital's 90 -minute concert. As the pounding grew harsher and the melodies more horrific, squares and triangles and clocks gave way to squiggles and guns and images of pain. Talk about turning the beat around. Nothing, however, compared with the dramatic twists and turns of "Satan," not even Ministry at its darkest, as the brothers hammered explosive beats, muffled shouts and keyboard-triggered screams. It's a hellish experience, an avalanche that not only doesn't let listeners get out of the way, it sucks them in. Followed by superficial disco swirls, Orbital framed the darkness with a dab of feel-good no humor, no motive, no master plan, just music to move to. In the show's first 45 minutes, Orbital presented what could well work as an action film score, setting up sheets of sound that bounced between a tense tautness and an aura of lurking trouble. It's a sound that opener Spring Heel Jack, which offsets its beats with washes of discordant electric piano, has mastered as well. (Island will release Spring Heel Jack's debut, "68 Million Shades," in February). Where they differ is in the depth of range and the girth of the beats. Jack's still a club band; Orbital's ready for arenas and proof positive that independent bands on independent labels, in this case ffrr, can stick to their guns. Phil Gallo

With:
Bands: (Orbital) Paul Hartnoll, Phil Hartnoll; (Spring Heel Jack) John Coxon, Ashley Wales. Reviewed Dec. 4, 1996.

Presented by Philip Blaine Presents. Bands: (Orbital) Paul Hartnoll, Phil Hartnoll; (Spring Heel Jack) John Coxon, Ashley Wales. Reviewed Dec. 4, 1996. Orbital’s success as a performing and recording act says as much about techno as Oasis does about British rock: It’s in the songwriting don’t expect a movement to ensue. The British band Orbital, with no central focal point, sells out two nights at the Legion Hall because of their ability to structure a viscerally exciting evening out of generally wordless, beat-happy modern electronic music performed on a bank of computers, keyboards and other electronic devices. Few techno artists understand the relationship of rhythm and melody as well as Phil and Paul Hartnoll, and their set flowed much in the manner of their latest disc, “In Sides” gradually building from compact numbers to eruptions of giant beats and manic melodies. It lends a sense of familiarity to the sonic terrain, mapped out with material from throughout their five-album history. On screens flanking the brothers Hartnoll the only visual aid beyond the “jewel-cutter” lights on the duo’s foreheads simple shapes and images mirrored the locked-in rhythms and the gentle tunefulness that filled the bulk of the first third of Orbital’s 90 -minute concert. As the pounding grew harsher and the melodies more horrific, squares and triangles and clocks gave way to squiggles and guns and images of pain. Talk about turning the beat around. Nothing, however, compared with the dramatic twists and turns of “Satan,” not even Ministry at its darkest, as the brothers hammered explosive beats, muffled shouts and keyboard-triggered screams. It’s a hellish experience, an avalanche that not only doesn’t let listeners get out of the way, it sucks them in. Followed by superficial disco swirls, Orbital framed the darkness with a dab of feel-good no humor, no motive, no master plan, just music to move to. In the show’s first 45 minutes, Orbital presented what could well work as an action film score, setting up sheets of sound that bounced between a tense tautness and an aura of lurking trouble. It’s a sound that opener Spring Heel Jack, which offsets its beats with washes of discordant electric piano, has mastered as well. (Island will release Spring Heel Jack’s debut, “68 Million Shades,” in February). Where they differ is in the depth of range and the girth of the beats. Jack’s still a club band; Orbital’s ready for arenas and proof positive that independent bands on independent labels, in this case ffrr, can stick to their guns. Phil Gallo

Orbital; Spring Heel Jack

(Hollywood American Legion Hall; 1,000 capacity; $ 20)

Production: Presented by Philip Blaine Presents.

Cast: Bands: (Orbital) Paul Hartnoll, Phil Hartnoll; (Spring Heel Jack) John Coxon, Ashley Wales. Reviewed Dec. 4, 1996.

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