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.