When it comes to the history of electronic dance music, few producers loom larger than siblings Phil and Paul Hartnoll in Orbital. The British brothers visit KCRW to play their very first single, “Chime,” released all the way back in 1990.
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The New York gig was about six weeks after 9/11. It was just enough time for people to get over it enough to come out. We were thinking, ‘Well, what’s going to go on here?’ You know, we’re playing things like ‘Satan,’ and our visuals are all these things that we would call Satanic: bombs and horrible things that people do to other people. We didn’t want to be insensitive. [And] the gig blew my mind. It’s one that will stick out in my head forever. The people coming up to us: ‘We really needed to explode and let our hair down.’ It was very moving.
— Orbital’s Phil Hartnoll on the U.S. backlash to electronic music in the early ’00s, where the scene’s at now, and the band’s successful return.