Chime

Album: Urbal Beats, Vol.2 (1990)
Charted: 17

Songfacts®:

  • This sound collage was made by brothers Phil & Paul Hartnoll while messing around in their bedroom, allegedly for less than £1. They recorded it on their father's cassette deck and released the tune through Jazzy M's Oh-Zone label. It immediately sold out through word of mouth alone and the track was re-released by London Records subsidiary FFRR with whom it soon became a nationwide rave anthem.
  • Paul Hartnoll recalled to The Sun February 13, 2009: "It was just bedroom fun, or maybe the sitting room. Chime came about through thinking, 'hang on, there are six inputs on my four-track. Instead of recording it as a four-track, why not just use all six inputs and bypass the recording bit, go straight into my dad's tape deck? But if I do that, I can't remix it, it's a one-off recording. That's what Chime was. When you create something as a byproduct of something else, that's when the magic happens. You're doing it so unselfconsciously."
  • The Hartnoll brothers performed this on BBC's Top of The Pops, wearing anti Poll Tax T-shirts to demonstrate their anger about Margaret Thatcher's local government tax policies.
  • Orbital took its name from the rave parties that occurred in late 1980s Britain, near the M25 orbital motorway that circles London.
  • Paul Hartnoll recalled to Mojo magazine: "Writing 'Chime' I was just trying a way of recording where I did all live to the 4-track, without worrying about mucking about and syncing different tracks. I started about four in the afternoon, I think it was a Wednesday, a couple of hours before I went to the pub. I guess I was trying to do something a bit Detroit techno, but really, I just took some random samples from my dad's easy listening records, put in the dum dum dum do - do - dumb bass at the beginning, job done.

    Right at the end I thought, what's that weird sound? And it was the descending string bit. Sounds OK, I'll put that in... And that was literally it."

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