Listening to this, it's easy to believe that Orbital haven't split. Though really, have they? Listening to this, you'd think that the singular member that comprises 8:58, Paul Hartnoll, was the band's Noel Gallagher. There's no sense that this isn't an Orbital album. If you just listen to it, and that's the thing, there's no sense that it isn't the next logical progression. So many hallmarks of the parent band are here, it's hard to think an act this good headlined the Isle Of Wight to 100 people the other week.
Frankly, the act have done themselves no favours with a nearly ungoogleable name, a webpage that is nearly impossible to find. There is something such as too much of a clean break, as there's no way a record this interesting deserves such an unloved fate.
It opens with – and the whole album – is wrapped around a text read by Cillian Murphy, about the tyranny of time, of clocks, and watches... and being watched. The textures around it, lush arpeggios and soundscapes, rising string symphonies created on computer, are the modern day equivalent of classic overtures. It's more symphonic, and more classical in approach – like Philip Glass on the dancefloor – than anything else.
Compared to Hartnoll's previous solo album (“The Ideal Condition”), which was a dry and linear record, this is lively, human, vibrant, a step ahead, built around the tyranny of time (be that 4/4, 6/8, 8:58am, or 9-to-5), and well, to be honest, an absolutely perfect continuation of the Orbital legacy – in the way that the best solo artists take everything great about their former bands and add something new when working with an undiluted vision – 8:58 reminds me of Karl Bartos' solo work, everything that vital about a parent band, distilled and focused singularly into a new, modern format, and honestly, just as good as Orbital. This? It's great, and gets constant rotation in my world.