ORBITAL at the Opera House (735 Queen East), Monday (October 15). $21.50. All ages. 416-466-0313, 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
Unlike most electronic artists' reps, Orbital's has more to do with their performances than with their studio recordings.
There's no question that even without the fancy light-up eyeglasses, Paul and Phil Hartnoll's confrontationally dazzling multimedia onslaughts have always been more entertaining than any of their attempts to bridge the gap between techno and house on disc for the non-clubbing crowd.
It's only natural, then, that they'd eventually try to transfer what they do onstage into a marketable form. So with their latest project, cleverly titled The Altogether (London/Warner), they've sought to bring the image/sound barrage of their shows into the home environment. Releasing the album in the DVD format seemed like the perfect solution.
"The whole DVD idea actually came about because we wanted to try using 5.1 Surroundsound," explains Phil Hartnoll. "It's becoming more popular in England and Europe as the price of home theatre set-ups has gotten more affordable. When we went to our UK record company with the DVD idea, they were all for it. But then it was, like, 'Oh, shit, we need to come up with some visuals now.'"
Fortunately, the duo know loads of like-minded people who are into that sort of thing.
"This huge production company called The Mill, who won an Oscar for their work on Gladiator, designed the DVD menu and brought in the animators to create the images. It all worked out amazingly well."
Not quite. Apparently, the people at Warner, who release Orbital's music in North America, weren't as gung-ho about the whole DVD concept. Thus far, The Altogether is available here only as a CD with an extra disc of remixes, B-sides and unreleased tracks. Wouldn't want to rush into any of those newfangled formats.
"We've been on tour recently, and I just presumed that the DVD version was coming out in North America like it did in England. I've only just found out that it's not. I don't know what's going on. It's all ready to go in the NTSC format, so there's no excuse.
"Our manager's meeting us in New York, and we'll need to sort out what needs to be done. Right now there's talk that if Warner won't release it we've got to find someone who can."