The Orb Featuring David Gilmour: Metallic Spheres

More chiller than thriller.

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It was bound to happen eventually. For decades, Alex Paterson’s ambient house pioneers have been conducting a slow-motion courtship dance with Pink Floyd, lacing their albums with spoofy homages and sly echoes. The Orb once even shared a bass player with the Floyd, Guy Pratt, who later married Richard Wright’s daughter.

Finally, 20 years after writing a track called Back Side Of The Moon, Paterson and his frequent studio collaborator Youth have secured an album-length David Gilmour collaboration. Worth the wait? Alas, probably not.

Metallic Spheres was born from a collective charity cover version of Graham Nash’s Chicago (We Can Change the World). Indeed the album is essentially an extended and mutated remix, with Nash’s people-power lyrics bubbling to the surface at rare intervals. It divides into two lengthy tracks, roughly 25 minutes apiece, a very Floydian sort of format, recalling Meddle.

Gilmour’s signature aqueous blues licks and languid lap-steel twangs are drizzled rather too thinly over a shifting backdrop of softly undulating beats, pastoral trip-hop, gently clonking Krautrock and perfumed easy- listening grooves. There are some lovely moments, but also rather too much generic Ibiza chill-out compilation filler circa 1990.

Sadly, neither guitar legend nor studio boffin step outside their comfort zones and rise to the challenge of a full collaboration.

Stephen Dalton

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.