Album: The Middle of Nowhere
Artist: Orbital
Label: FFRR
Year: 1999
Rating: 4/5
Summary: Full of energy and well polished.

After releasing a string of albums which each have one compelling epic track - Belfast, Halcyon + On + On, Are We Here?, and The Girl With the Sun in Her Head - it's nice to finally see Orbital bring out a more solid album which sounds consistently good throughout.

The actual production of the album is more professional than usual, and it has a well polished feel throughout. Most surprising is the credit stating that the Hartnoll brothers didn't program any of the percussion themselves - a serious move given that this is largely beat driven music. They seem to have made the right decision though, as The Middle of Nowhere is their slickest sounding album to date.

The emotional tone of the album varies from the atmospheric intro to Know Where to Run and the relatively dark Otono to the silly, lighthearted melody played on a sample of a Stylophone on the appropriately named Style. Despite this variety, you're never too far away from a dance rhythm, ensuring the tracks are all upbeat.

All in all, this is the most consistent and professional sounding album from Orbital. It's still as full of energy as their previous work, yet also well polished. If you like dance music, you can't really go wrong with The Middle of Nowhere.