Apr 16, 2016

A post about Orbital... thinking In Sides: The Box

Yesterday, the Orbital single The Box turned 20 years old. I know this because 6 Music tweeted about it.

Actually, it's because Paul out of Orbital tweeted that 6 Music had tweeted about it.

The Box was a single from Orbital's fourth album In Sides. The band had transformed themselves from club-storming Chimers into paranoid techno charmers via their third album Snivilisation. Think Brian Blessed turning into Jeff Goldblum.

In Sides was full of fear and joy of a technological utopia. But The Box was different. It was nestled between the snarling machines of PETROL and the sinister choir of Dwr Budr. The Box's use of harpsichord and brushy shares made it feel antique, as if it were carved from old wood.

Indeed, we heard the titular container creak open, Hammer-style (horror not MC). We're pretty sure we know who was inside - hey, look, it's the amazing pre-Oscars Tilda Swinton.

The best thing about The Box, was the epic 12", lasting over 20 minutes: a four-part odyssey that was ambitious, frightening and strangely moving.

What is the box? Who opened it? And why do I keep thinking of coffins?

Have a listen to the full, er, Box set below. Even better, track down the vinyl. With two decades of hindsight, and that creaking noise haunting me ever since, I wonder if this release was Orbital's finest early-period moment.

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