Orbital’s “Copenhagen”

After a concert whirlwind over the past 3 days, featuring The Chromatics, The Church, and wrapping up with 11 hours of live music at the Just Like Heaven Festival, I’m a tad exhausted and sort of at a loss for words … as well as hearing. But I haven’t officially posted any new selections for this month just yet. I had the Big Electric Playlist, but that’s technically recommends from last month. So that doesn’t count. Thus, I’m going to muster up some energy and inspiration, and squeeze one in before hitting the sack. Yeah … that sounds kind of not right … oh well … it is what it is … or will be … or whatever.

Anyway, I’m rambling, so let’s get to it. I actually heard the live version of “Copenhagen” from one of Orbital’s live shows, and realized I didn’t recognize the artist. I’ve been a longtime fan of Orbital, so I found that a bit odd. I’ve followed their pioneering brand of breakbeat house and trance for pretty much the duration of their 30 year career. That’s a heck of a long time for an electronic act to be around. Granted, the British duo, comprised of brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll, did call it quits a few times, taking a couple of 5 year long breaks. But they’ve managed to find a reason to keep on keeping on. And that makes them practically founders and legends in the ever-ongoing and expansive field of electronica.

Like I was saying, “Copenhagen” seemed to have slipped past me, when it was released back in 2017. It’s not linked to any album, and it wasn’t included on last year’s “Monsters Exist,” their first LP in six years. It’s essentially a one-off single that marked their reunion, following their second separation, and debuted at their live shows during that era. To my knowledge, Orbital never made it stateside back then. They did play a show at the Belasco in December of last year, which was incredible. And from what I know, that was their first one since at least 2012. I would’ve posted some footage from that show, but the audio kind of sucked. So it really wasn’t worth doing.

Back to “Copenhagen,” I think what I like is its vintage Orbital sound, updated with a few decades of maturity and sophistication, or course. It’s quirky and melodic, with strange abstracted vocal sequences, and punchy rhythmic beats. Orbital’s last few efforts, meaning the last decade or so, have ventured into sometimes darker or more discordant territory, texturing these moodier melodies with classic breakbeats and atmospheric synths. It’s all been danceable, but a little more adventurous and experimental in spirit. I guess three decades will do that to the creative process … and good on them. I bring all this up, because “Copenhagen” seems to favor the lighter, brighter shades, almost like a modern retelling of the dreamy classic “Halcyon and On and On,” but with a lesser dose of ecstasy and its accompanying ethereality.

So on that note, I offer you Orbital’s recent trip to “Copenhagen.” Enjoy!

Orbital’s 2017 single “Copenhagen,” marking their 2nd reunion.

And here’s a music video with lots of motion graphic animation, well-suited to a wall-sized LED projection … or more likely, a live performance visual.