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Those who survive the highs and lows of a rock career know the secret:
The ability to create, record, and make music available for people to hear only requires time, knowledge, and creativity. Oh yeah, and a strong will.
Orbit, the trio you know from Boston, is newly expanded with the addition of bassist Linda Bean (ex-PermaFrost) and guitarist Fred Archambault. Praised for their bass driven guitar pop rock, Orbit are still focused on making music. And after all theyve been through, their third full-length album, XLR8R is aptly named - Orbit is gaining speed.
In 1994, when guitarist/lead singer Jeff Robbins and drummer Paul Buckley formed Orbit, they agreed the most important part of being in the band and being a musician was the music. So, they made the music they wanted to hear - music that throbbed and kicked sex back into song. And it was well received. Orbit released La Mano on their own label Lunch Records and just as the majors were catching on. The band soon found themselves with a new home at A&M Records. In 1997, A&M released Libido Speedway which spawned the modern rock top 10 single "Medicine" and earned the band a spot on that year's Lollapalooza tour.
When A&M was dismantled under the Polygram/Universal merger in 1999, Orbit had just finished their second full-length album (tentatively titled Guide To Better Living). The band was surprised to learn that Polyversal-Unigram- InterGeffen&M was keeping the unreleased album, without any plans for release. After getting over the shock of losing what they'd spent six months writing and recording, Jeff and Paul realized that although they didnt have the cash to make another studio album, they did have the means to keep making and recording music. They joined the tech age.
In true DIY style, they took the last of their money and bought a Mac G4 computer, MOTU Digital Performer digital audio recording software, and the necessary hardware to get high quality audio in and out of the computer. This was not the industry standard ProTools setup, but instead a system that could rival it for one tenth of the money.
They wrote some new songs and began recording in Cambridge, MA the old fashioned way, laying down the drums and bass on 2-inch analog 24-track tape. All of the overdubs were done in a friend's digital tape based project studio in Nashville. The tracks were digitally transferred into the Mac and sent to the band's former bass player and producer extraordinare, Wally Gagel (Folk Implosion, Eels, Old 97s). In Los Angeles, Wally mixed all of the songs in the computer and though the band was more than happy with the results, they didn't have enough songs recorded for a full-length release.
Now comfortable with computer digital recording, the band recorded a new batch of songs directly into the computer. They spent more time tweaking the sounds, experimenting in ways they hadn't before. Triggering drum machines and samples from the original drum tracks gave songs like "Slow Down" a hybrid acoustic-electro sound that combines 808 style drum machine sounds with the feel and sound of real drums. They played with plug-ins and virtual synthesizers, and Jeff overdubbed his vocals in his basement studio in Providence, RI, where he mixed the remainder of the songs.
With the help of Jeff's brother Neil Robbins, Orbit finished XLR8R in the spirit with which it was made - using the band camcorder to record video clips and creating a full CD-ROM-style enhanced CD. The ECD contains three bonus tracks (not available on the audio portion of the CD), 7 full-length QuickTime videos, live performance footage, band photos, a link to www.orbitband.com and information on Orbit Army, the band's underground network of volunteers.
Orbit went on hiatus in late 2001, playing their final shows at the club the started it all for them TT the Bears Place in Cambridge, MA. Two sold-out shows at TT's and then a final performance at The Burlington Memorial Auditorium in Burlington, VT as part of the city's First Night Extravaganza.
Where are they now? Jeff and Linda formed the band WELL, check them out at www.wellband.net, Fred moved to Los Angeles, CA to pursue to world of Producing and Engineering following in the Orbit footsteps of Wally Gagel. And Paul runs this fine label, Lunch Records and continues to drum, making records for Boston's luminaries Kay Hanley www.kayhanley.com and Nate Albert www.kickovers.com.