Orbital releases new single 'Smiley' inspired by late 80's rave origins

Published 29th July 2022

To coincide with the groups belated 30th anniversary celebration [learn more about the incredible 30 Something here] Orbital have released their new single Smiley inspired in part by their origins within the late 80's rave scene.

Orbital are without doubt one of the most influential bands in the world of techno and electronic music and have had a hugely diverse output over the course of their career. While many electronic artists have struggled to find a musical identity Orbital have managed to establish their own unmistakable sound and Smiley is no exception.

Given that the track is released in tandem with their wonderful 30 Something retrospective album, Smiley succeeds in encapsulating everything we love about Orbital. It combines the euphoric psychadelia of Chime with the spoken-word sampling reminiscent of Snivilisation, while a spiralling melody that wouldn't be out of place on In Sides weaves its magic.

Smiley samples the infamous 'A Trip Around Acid House' edition of World in Action which was produced at the height of the second summer of love in 1988 and went some way to expose the original 'fake news' tabloid myths around acid house. It also includes a 20 year old Paul Hartnoll describing an incident in which he was beaten up by police busting a house party in Sevenoaks, Kent.

Paul said: "We wanted to do something that represented where our heads are at now but wearing the clothes from back when we started. So to chronicle thirty years of Orbital you've got this track that chronicles the very start of dance music in Sevenoaks. It's our origin story."

"And to make the very important point that, in civil rights terms, basically we all got beaten up by the police for having a party," Phil added. "Could never happen now, everyone would film it on their phones. Instant police brutality case."

The accompanying animated music video features "sock puppets, high-end CGI, background stock footage, specially filmed elements, stop-motion and stills photography."

Director of the promo, Luke Losey, commented: "There was a moment in the late 1980s that bridged the gap between free festivals and big raves. These events had a strong DIY ethos that was a kindred spirit to punk. We would go and put great big metal sculptures in the woods or perhaps an abandoned railway station, hang a few lights and power up a sound system."

Luke continues, "that handmade DIY feel of the time was something we wanted to imbue into the film from the start, but also the sense of unity that existed amongst us despite Thatcher's authoritarian desire to sew division, divide and conquer, with her foot soldiers in blue and her red-tops with their morally dubious claim to offer a better version of Britain than the one we could clearly see unraveling before our eyes. Hindsight has given us the opportunity to rectify past misdeeds with the happy ending we didn't get at the time. No unicorns were hurt in the making of this film."

The 30 Something boxset to mark their 30th anniversary boasts "reworks, remakes, remixes and re-imaginings of landmark Orbital tracks based on the duos unrivalled live show."

Listen to Orbital's new single Smiley here and learn more about 30 Something here.

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