Techno legends Orbital to play their whole ‘Green Album’ live in Manchester

The Hartnoll brothers ride again

By Ben Arnold | 24 October 2023

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Techno legends Orbital will play the whole of their seminal ‘Green Album’ live in Manchester next year, after confirming dates for a full 2024 tour.

The Hartnoll brothers will play the Victoria Warehouse on May 4, alongside dates in Birmingham, Nottingham, Bristol, Dublin, Glasgow, Exeter and Southampton.

The dates follow their last album, Optical Delusion – their tenth studio set – which was released last year, and featured input from Sleaford Mods and Mediæval Bæbes.

Paul Hartnoll said: “I’ve always been sceptical about going back but when we thought about playing The Green Album live I rolled the idea around for a bit, how could this work? The way we perform is always free and full of improvisation in production and arrangements.

“This approach will give us a chance to take these fabulous old tracks, written by young versions of ourselves, and perform them with a modern sensibility. Intrigued, I gathered all the original gear, set it up and switched on.


“As I dusted off the old floppy discs, samplers, and an Atari ST computer (Google it), I discovered the ghost of my past in the machine. It was like collaborating with my 22-year-old self. As the songs broke free from their original form, it quickly became clear that I really did want to take these songs on the road, many of which have never been played before.

“We love playing live, the most exciting thing is to take a whole bunch of music we haven’t played before and discover how to play it, to see how people respond to it and shape it as we go along together.

“To play the Green Album live will be a wholly new experience for us and you, it’ll be a bit of an adventure. This will be new territory that I can’t wait to explore. As the saying goes…

“There is the theory of the möbius, a twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop, and when we reach that point, whatever happened will happen again. That time, it would appear, is now.”

The so-called ‘Green Album’ is in fact the band’s self-titled debut album, first released back in 1991.

It’s generally considered to be one of the most influential British electronic albums of all time, but due to the Hartnolls self-titling their first two albums (the second Orbital album, released in 1993, is known as the ‘Brown Album’), it’s generally named after its green cover.

The ‘Green Album’ features two of the band’s most revered productions – the iconic rave anthem Chime, and Belfast.

Chime, the band’s debut single, was originally released in 1989, before being re-released in 1990 on Pete Tong’s FFRR label, after which it hit the top 20 and scored the brothers an unlikely slot on Top Of The Pops.

Even now, the track is still often used by the band to close their live shows.

Belfast, with its famous choral soprano sample, is also one of the band’s most recognisable tracks, so-named after the pair were booked to play DJ and producer David Holmes’ legendary Space Base 4 club in the city, back in 1990.