100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #60 Orbital – Chime

Released : 1990

The rave-as-the-new-punk tropes held as much water as you allowed them to, but the two features they did share were that of letting people who didn’t see themselves as musicians make noise and then helping them to put out recorded versions of that noise for the price of an A&R man’s business lunch.

Named after the endless M25 motorway that circles London like a coiled snake, Orbital were brothers Paul and Phil Hartnoll and by the late 80’s the pair were tinkering away on a range of primitive equipment in a cupboard at their parent’s house. They needed an outlet. For years it had been possible on any given weekend to hear snatches of pirate radio stations whilst looping around the capital between warehouse destinations, including that of Jazzy M, reputedly the man responsible for first bringing house to Britain.

At a punk-ish cost of £3.75, the Hartnolls created a track which would begin on that feed, in the process starting an acid house crossover into the mainstream and little did they know it, making them the first production duo to become festival headliners. Almost symphonic, Chime’s peeping, hi-tempo stabs and wobbly 808 undertow were cleaner and more precise than it’s peers, accidentally maximising the game changing fidelity of Radio 1’s brand new FM network. All of a sudden we weren’t in Kansas anymore, or Peckham, or Staines.

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