Electronica veterans Orbital plan to team up with the Lo Fidelity All Stars and techno duo Crystal Method for an all-electronic U.S. tour that Orbital's Phil Hartnoll says will be staged more like a rock concert than a rave.
The tour will run for about three weeks in July and will hit venues with capacities of 2,000 to 3,000 people, Hartnoll said Tuesday.
Hartnoll said he and Orbital's other member, his brother Paul, have designed the shows with traditional rock staging in mind.
"We didn't want to get involved with the rave thing," he said. "We just wanted it to be a gig, where you didn't have to be 16 and you didn't have to stay up all night."
"We've got quite a big production [planned]," Hartnoll said.
Hartnoll did not specify dates or venues for the tour, and an Orbital publicist said she could not yet officially confirm the tour or provide further details.
Orbital -- whose fifth studio album, The Middle of Nowhere, was released in March in the UK and is due in June in the U.S. -- are credited with being the first electronica group in their native England to make a significant impact as a live act.
Forming in 1987 and scoring their first UK hit with "Chime" in 1990, they were an early presence in the electronic music scene. In the U.S., the Hartnoll brothers played Woodstock '94 and the 1997 Lollapalooza tour, winning critical praise and garnering a cult following. They collaborated with Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett on "Satan" (RealAudio excerpt), which appeared on the Spawn (1997) soundtrack.
The Lo Fidelity Allstars' debut album, How to Operate With a Blown Mind (RealAudio excerpt of title track), has been praised by critics for its mix of live instruments and vocals with hip-hop and dance beats and samples.
The Los Angeles electronica duo Crystal Method are best known for their collaboration with the rock band Filter on "(Can't You) Trip Like I Do," from the Spawn soundtrack.
The Middle of Nowhere continues Orbital's tradition of what Hartnoll calls "electronic instrumental music" -- exploratory, carefully sculpted,
sometimes near-symphonic compositions not necessarily intended for the dance floor.
The album's first single, "Style" (RealAudio excerpt), demonstrates the duo's sonic fearlessness. The song's main riffs come from a sample of a buzzy, primitive synthesizer known as a stylophone, which Hartnoll says enjoyed a brief vogue in England in the early '70s. More than four minutes into the track, a female voice pops out of the mix, sings the line "Now I'm aching for you" several times and promptly disappears. The track closes with what sounds like an orchestra of stylophones.
Another track, "I Don't Know You People" is built from breakbeats and spoken-word samples, while "Know Where to Run" is a wordless hard-techno workout. The album's opening track, "Way Out," begins with synthesized strings playing a pastoral intro before a big beat-style percussion takes over and wordless female vocals enter the mix.