WILLIAM ORBIT – Pieces in a Modern Style 2 – Remixes – Decca Records (no #) [10/26/10] ***:
Orbit is one of these people who have previously been in the background of the multi-million-dollar pop music business. He did the Grammy-winning work on Madonna’s multi-platinum Ray of Light album in 1998 and has since been combining acoustic music with ambient electronica. His biggest success in that area was the original Pieces in a Modern Style, which remixed classical themes of Handel, Vivaldi, Satie, Beethoven, Ravel, Barber and others into daydream-like electropop melodies. His reworking of Barber’s Adagio for Strings reach position 4 on the British charts. And who knew that Madonna loved classical music?
In this new 14-track album sequel my favorite was his electronic remix of St. Saens’ Aquarium from Carnival of the Animals. I actually couldn’t recognize the Vaughan Williams Nimrod theme in several of the tracks (at least I think it was supposed to be VW). Neither could I recognize VW’s The Lark Ascending in the several remixes of that theme, but the theme from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is unmistakable in the final track. Supposedly this time he has remixed themes from not only St.-Saens and Tchaikovsky but also Elgar, Grieg, Bach, Faure, and Puccini. Sure couldn’t hear them. Some of these “classical trip hop” tracks are interesting to hear, but am I being self-promotional to say if I were in Orbit’s studio with all the keyboards and electronic gear at my disposal, I could come up with at least as listenable electronica versions? The rampant repetition may quickly get on many listeners’ nerves.
– John Sunier