TRANS GILMOUR EXPRESS

Imagine a smooth, well-engineered train ride. You glide along, half-watching the countryside slip past the window, awake but not really focussed on anything in particular, enjoying a comfortable rhythmic ambience that rarely intrudes upon whatever reverie colours your mind. Such is the seamless swish of Metallic Spheres.

The Orb mapped this journey, laying down tracks of Youth’s subterranean bass and inviting first class passenger David Gilmour to spin some liquid runs and fills. This task he acquits with fluid grace on slide or Strat, without ever really getting a full head of steam, without ever raising a solitary bead of perspiration.

Orb-Gilmour back coverAlthough five songs are listed on each side, this train don’t stop; the music segues seamlessly across the 28 minute Metallic side and, without pause, the 20 minute Spheres side. There’s a passage mid-way through part two that briefly flexes its muscles and evokes ‘Echoes’ era Floyd, but mostly it cruises without any danger of going off the rails.

Ultimately that’s the problem with Metallic Spheres; there is little urgency, minimal friction, no adventure. Like the repetitive background slivers of Gilmour’s voice singing a re-worked line from CSN’s ‘Chicago’, it’s familiar but dreamlike; enjoyable but not quite memorable.

The Orb - Metallic Spheres

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The #200wordchallenge was the brainchild of Mike Ladano. See the whole list here.

One more Vinyl Connection contribution in a couple of days.

19 comments

  1. I LOVE Gilmour. I do not own this though. I’ll add it to the list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Probably one mainly for Floyd completists and/or ambient house fans, but enjoyable enough!

      Like

  2. Aussie-Byrd-Brother · · Reply

    You know, it’s strange, Bruce. I love and own several of the Orb albums – pretty much the run from `Orb’s Adventures…’ up until `ORBlivion (which I seriously rate as one of my favourite albums, perfect mix of intelligent `dance’ music and floaty cool moods!) – are all terrific – and I like batting for this up and coming hopeful Gilmour who just might make it in this industry ;), but for some reason I really didn’t engage with this album. I thought the idea sounded incredible on paper, like a match made in musical heaven, but it seemed like the Orb just added snatches of Gilmour aimlessly playing over the top, when I thought he would be beautifully mixed into their drowsy cool atmospheres. Perhaps it’s time for a fresh listen? This is all going on some scattered memory I have of it from the time it was released! Ha, did you ever hear any of those early Floyd remix albums that were apparently done by the Orb?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I reckon that’s a fair call, Michael. There is a lack of focus – and of energy – in the music that keeps it in the domain of ‘optional’ rather than ‘compulsory’.
      Have heard of, but not heard, those re-mixes. Though I do have one Floyd boot that I recall as having remixes on it. Must have another listen to it…

      Like

  3. That’s a striking album cover, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gilmour doesn’t sound like he’d be a fussy/pompous kind of first class passenger!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True. As long as the couch is leather and the Bolly chilled, he’ll rock out like a mother!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I didn’t really like this one much either. Kinda sad because I remember The Orb constantly being referred to as the Floyd of the 90’s – collaborating with a member from Actual Floyd would’ve been a big deal, if it had happened ten years prior. This album seems like they did it just to do it. Luckily their album from last year, Moonbuilding 2703 AD, put me back on the train again. Listen to that one before you put this on again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Will watch out for it.

      Like

  6. This sounds interesting! I love Gilmour’s slippy slidey on just about anything, although perhaps the lack of urgency might mean I have to put some extra effort into listening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Or an extra shot of caffeine prior!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We Canadians are good at coffee.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Another excellent connection between our countries.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. What’s going on here? You and that Evil 1537 trying to spark some sort of Orbventure here? Some underhand trickery going on … all very mnah, but sparking conversation about how great Orb may, or may not have, been.

    As I said over at his gaff, I was never really into Orb. Just never really clicked. While both these posts are about releases I’m unlikely to ever explore, there seems to be an argument for getting Orbed up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just do what 1537 tells me to do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s a bad influence!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you so much Bruce! I accidentally downloaded this illegally on the grounds that if I liked it I’d buy it, the completist in me demands it, but it just never took – despite liking everyone on it and the artwork.

    I can’t see me jumping this train any time soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure, Joe. As you know, I like a bit of blog spontaneity. Or should that be blogtaneity?
      Anyway, the general consensus seems to be that, while Metallic Spheres is pleasant, it is ultimately a missed opportunity. So it can happily bypass our vinyl collections.
      Except that there are some 2LP copies on Discogs…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I like it , not crazy blow my mind, but cool enough.

    Liked by 1 person

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