Friday, April 17
When I first saw Into Orbit, stumbled onto them really – they were on the bill and it was another band I was there to see – I was spellbound; that was reinforced by their debut, full-lengther which I all but foamed over in my review.
And now a chance to see them live again, having missed a couple of recent opportunities.
There’s something so perfect about the way this band’s music plays out – the dynamic. Yes, we’ve all heard the build-slowly/post-rock instrumental slow-trance enchantment in one way or another. But with just drummer Ian Moir and guitarist Paul Stewart it’s more a case of serve/volley, call/response – which isn’t to say that they play separately, they are always – and fully – each other’s support. It’s just that there’s a very dialogue-like feel to the way they set up their moments.
Their music is more overtly metal-influenced/metal-derived too. Its charge comes from metal. The patience too – the waiting isn’t the hardest part, that’s what creates the feel and flow.
Yes, there’s something prog-like about Stewart’s guitar lines at times. And I mean that only in a good way. I thought of the early Genesis and Mike Oldfield as much as I ever thought of Tool or Metallica. It’s in the spaces where Stewart is circling the themes, his guitar with almost a folk-like feel, incongruous though, as it’s always an electric guitar, and with a pedal board full of effects and ideas to coax from, this is where we have breathing space. Because when Moir’s drums kick in (or double-kick in, as it often is) they’re the thoughtful sledgehammer – the tune is driven into place, and there’s symmetry in the cymbal crashes, an almost perfect, mathematical approach to drumming. Yes, never is it without feel.
Moir seems to have worked out how to take from the pat-your-head/rub-your-tummy Danny Carey school of drumming without every worrying that he might one day become Neil Peart. He’s taken just the right elements, learned them, studied, and then applied them to his own music, helped to create something that feels so vital and original as the music of Into Orbit.
They’re certainly a world class act in my view. A duo that is slowly, surely, crafting a sound with legs, with heart, with soul – with a long-term durability; it’s the type of metal-influenced instrumental music that is a rarity in that it would seem intoxicating to fans of almost any kind of music; certainly any kind of instrumental music. Dub heads and rope-heads and any other kind of dopehead might lose themselves within the swirl of this sound. Metal-heads and jazzers and the dance kids too. Anyone, everyone can get locked up deep within the soul-stir of a groove that this band creates.
It’s hypnotic, mesmeric and subtly anthemic. It feels – while it’s happening – like the only thing that matters.
Nice, too, to get back to Valhalla. My first time there in a long time. Far too long. Great place. Good beer. A neat wee, purpose-built venue.
I won’t leave it so long next time.