Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 40, Ed. 1 Friday, February 17, 2006 Page: 39 of 72
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William Orbit sounds stuck
in the 90s on long-awaited latest
By Gilbert Garcia Pop Music Critic
Considering the brief
shelf life of the average
techno track, it's been a
near eternity — six years
— since William Orbit
released a new recording. When we last left the
ambient pioneer, he was re-mixing the work of
Barber, Beethoven and Handel to surprising suc-
cess on his classical homage album "Pieces in a
Modern Style." Now that he's hopefully gotten
past this overly-serious phase, Orbit has released
"Hello Waveforms," an album that's far more in
the producer's traditional vein.
Fortunately or unfortunately for fans, the
album is all-too-familiar for those who have fol-
lowed Orbit's career. For those who still remem-
ber the days of "Strange Cargo" and not just
Orbit's remix work and production for Madonna,
there's little on "Hello Waveforms" that won't
sound stale. The album dwells almost exclusive-
ly on the typical Orbit tropes — acoustic guitars,
choral arpeggios and spare ambient swells. If
SLEEPYSONGMAN: Orbit eschews innovation for sedative
"chill out" music.
anything, Orbit is even more laid back today than
he was in the '90s, steering clear of anything
resembling dance music. Of course, this isn't
necessarily a bad direction. But when an innova-
tor of Orbit's caliber waits six years between
albums, it's not out of line to expect a little some-
thing fresh and different.
There's nothing at all displeasing about the
tracks on "Hello Waveforms." It's testament to
Orbit's skill that these sequenced blips and
omnipresent strings possess such a gorgeous
warmth, making tracks like album openers "Sea
Green" and "Humming Chorus" truly enchanti-
ng. And it's even more enjoyable to hear the
often timid producer cut loose a little, as he very
nearly does on the guitar-driven "Surfin" or the
faux-soul track "Spirals," featuring vocals from
Sugarbabes and Kenna.
In spite of these occasional fun twists, howev-
er, "Hello Waveforms" seems stuck in a '90s
down-tempo universe, neither rejecting nor
pushing the genre forward. Taken as background
music, the album doesn't disappoint — it is, after
all, the techno version of cocktail piano. But once
you've soaked up the ample atmosphere, there's
less and less substance to come back to. With
"Hello Waveforms," Orbit has produced a per-
fect logical successor to his "Strange Cargo"
recording. It's too bad he waited until 2006 for a
Famous for being famous, celebrity stand-in
Mcole Richie continues to try to reach beyond
her 15 minutes. After a her recent novel was
released to universal indifference, Richie has
adopted the Duff-Lohan gambit, releasing a
demo of her new song, titled "Dandelion.'"
Believe it or not, this song could have been
worse. To her credit, Richie can actually carry a
tune. But lyrics that could have been borrowed
from an 8th grade journal makes this track partic-
ularly embarrassing, even for someone half
Richie's age. If this is what happens when you
write your own songs, then maybe paying a
songwriter isn't such a bad idea.
SAVED BY THE BELL
WJ'T ' <■ £l%
It's easy to be good to the people you love. It's
quite another to be kind to those who would reject
As a gay youth from rural Texas, singer Blayne
Bell never had an easy time reconciling his
Christian faith with his sexuality. But rather than
shy away from the conflict, the young vocalist
embraced it. Already a signed Christian recording
artist, Bell made the decision to leave gospel
music in 1999 In favor of making a difference in
other gay kids' lives. Today, Bell sings and speaks
in both religious and secular venues, telling his
own story while inspiring others to follow their
dreams. His upcoming Piano performance will
feature songs from his new self-produced record
"Overcome," as well as a brief meet and greet
with the singer beforehand. An artist who contin-
ues to demonstrate compassion, Bell serves as a
reminder of Christianity's kind side.
— Gilbert Garcia
Community Unitarian Universaiist Church
2875 E. Parker Road, Piano, Feb. 18 at 7:30
p.m. $10. 214-356-8369
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02.17.06 I dallas voice I 39
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 40, Ed. 1 Friday, February 17, 2006, newspaper, February 17, 2006; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth238896/m1/39/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.