Do you know what time it is? Have you got time? Is the time right, or is it out of joint? And how do you know if it’s time to change?
Technology was supposed to free us from the tyranny of time — to emancipate us from the ticking clock, the blinking LCD. But it didn’t quite work out that way. The interconnected world means tighter schedules, endless rolling news, instant communication. What do you do when time renews its mastery?
“I’ve always been interested in time,” says Paul Hartnoll, until recently one half of Orbital, Britain’s beloved, torch-bespectacled electronic innovators and live techno pioneers who brought down the curtain on a 25 year career in 2014. “I’ve always had a thing for clocks, and for time as a powerful force — but also the way time oppresses you. It’s one of those things I keep coming back to.”
And he went back to it again after he and Phil Hartnoll separated last year. “Orbital had stopped working properly.” Paul explains. “We’d had a great four years since getting back together in 2008, but it was time to move on.” As Paul began to explore the new freedom of working alone, he kept returning to a doodle he has drawn since he was a teenager: a clock face with the time frozen at 8:58.
“For me, 8:58 is a moment of choice,” Paul explains. “It’s almost 9 o’clock. Are you going to school? Are you going in to this job that you hate? Everybody faces that decision now and again. 8:58 am is when you’ve got to make up your mind.”
The record that came out of all this is a rich and enthralling thing in which Paul expands Orbital’s delirious complexity and weapons-grade dancefloor appeal into new and more sophisticated areas. It’s all there in a stately and exhilarating opener, where bells, pistons and angelic robot choirs resemble a future glockenspiel. It’s introduced with a spine-tingling monologue on the theme of time by ‘Peaky Blinders’ star Cillian Murphy. The name of the track, album and artist is — what else? — ‘8:58’. As Cillian Murphy says at the very beginning of ‘8:58’: brace yourself for freedom. Now.
8:58 LP is out now on ACP Recordings. Get it here: http://smarturl.it/8-58-Deluxe and http://smarturl.it/8-58. Watch the second official video off the LP, for the track “The Clock” featuring Cillian Murphy, below. Directed by Luke Losey. Hartnoll met Murphy while working on the score of the TV show “Peaky Blinders”, which he collaborated on with Flood and PJ Harvey.
Tour dates (tickets):
09.05.15 – Glasgow O2 ABC
10.05.15 – Manchester Ritz
11.05.15 – Norwich UEA
12.05.15 – Oxford O2 Academy
13.05.15 – Bristol 02 Academy
14.05.15 – London 02 Shepherds Bush Empire