"Elektronic festival" at London's Barbican centre

Photo: Chris Gregory (2001)

Concert success...... London hosted William s first concert in many years on 18th October, he closed the "elektronic" festival held at London's Barbican centre and stunned the audience. What the audience didn't expect, was a choir (used extensively), brass section and a stage full of musical equipment including a vacuum cleaner & strimmer which were also used as musical instruments. Another surprise was the glamorous Beth Orton coming on stage to perform "Water from a vine leaf" which sent the audience wild. The blend of electronics with brass and choir worked and harmonised brilliantly whilst he performed many new pieces, and the show ended with an awesome rendition of Barber's Adagio for Strings in which it started just with the choir alone and ended with the version more familiar to it's recent chart success.
At the end of the night, the crowd would not let William go without him doing another track, suggested by the crowd William ran backstage to get everyone back on to repeat Adagio for Strings.

a chrono-list BIOGRAPHY
compiled and Written by Richard Shea


Torch Song (William Orbit,Laurie Mayer and Grant Gilbert) are launched by IRS records with their first single "Prepare to Energize". Prior to that they had been writing and performing since 1981 and setup a 24-track studio in the garage of their house in Little Venice of London IRS also release an E.P. by the group Crown of Thorns produced by William Orbit and Rikki Sylvan. Torch song are also credited for the production of a single by Kate Gardner.


Torch Song's first album Wish Thing is released, and singles Don't look now & Tattered Dress.
IRS chairman Miles Copeland (Manager of the 80's group Police, and brother to Stewart) plans Torch Song to produce Sting's Album, (Nothing happens until 1985). Other productions include a single by Sonja Kristina (ex-wife of Copeland's).
William begins his recording sessions of what will become his now famous Cargo highway.


William co-produces Sting's single "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free", Mixed by Rico Conning.
The first soundtrack gets the Orbit treatment with the opening track on Youngblood.
Torch Song release single Ode to Billy Joe and the now rare album Ecstasy.
William remixes tracks by Stan Ridgeway.


William remixes and engineers Belinda Carlisle's album "Belinda", followed by some of his first famous remixes on the chart-topping singles by Belinda Circle In The Sand & Mad About You. Torch Song release the singles White Night & Can't Find My Way Home, and soundtrack of Texas Chainsaw Massacre III gets the track White Night.


Torch Song's final single Don't Look Now (re-issued in the UK) is followed by the compilation album Exhibit A.
orch Song break-up but William salvages Guerilla Studios and retains a contract with IRS Records and William's Orbit's solo career is launched with Miles Copeland fully backing him. The albums "Orbit" (now William's most hated project) and the first Strange Cargo album are released. The first solo single Feel Like Jumping is followed by another Love My Way.


William remixes Docter & the Medics, Belinda Carlisle, Derek B, Kid Can't Dance and Well Red
Plays Guitar on ColourBox's album "Manic"

Productions include Wishbone Ash and his worst track EVER!, a British Comedy single for
Harry Enfiel "Loadsamoney"


William's most productive year of remixes, Mark Moore from S'Express (a fan of William and Torch Song) asks William to do a remix for him, they form an instant friendship and when Mark gets asked by Prince to do a remix he turns to William, the two of them together remix three of Prince's tracks 'The Future', 'Electric Chair' and 'Batdance'. On his own some of his other famous remixes appear with the likes of Erasure and other acts such as Human League, Jimmy Sommerville , Julian Lennon, Shakespear's Sister, Gary Numan and some of the less well known: Camouflage, Les Negresses Vertes, Les Rita Mitsouko, MC Twix and Nietzer Ebb. He also remixes for one of his own Musical heroes Malcolm McLaren.


One of the busiest years for Orbit Collectors, if you hadn't heard of William Orbit by now you would with his remixes of Madonna's "Justify My Love" and Seal's "Crazy" which still remain to be his most famous and popular remixes.
Remixes include Oleta Adams, Betty Boo, Erasure, Human League, Les Rita Mitsouko, Malcolm McLaren, Propaganda and The Shamen
IRS Records release William's 3rd Solo Album Strange Cargo 2
Guerilla Records a launched by William Orbit and Dick O'Dell, the First Guerilla release is BassOmatic's first single "In The Realm Of The Senses" and album "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Bass".
The Guerilla releases are as Promo's whilst a contract with Virgin Records sees that they are released commercially and sees his highest charting position and appearance on prime time TV (Top of the Pops etc) with "Fascinating Rhythm".
3 singles are released from the album which includes "Ease on By"
A Christmas Compilation from IRS sees one more last release from Torch Song "Hark".


Virgin releases BassOmatic into the U.S.
The next set of Bassomatic releases come from the album "Science and Melody" with the singles "Science And Melody", "Funky Love Vibrations" and "Go Getta Nutha Man".
Remixes include Cactus Rain, The Cure, Kraftwerk, React to Rhythm, Scritti Politti, Lizzie Tear, Wendy and Lisa (Sidekicks to Prince), Yothu Yindi and the "KILLER" of all remixes of Seal's big hit.
Guerilla releases compilation "Guerilla Grooves Volume 1".


The 3 O's get together, Dick O'Dell managing Beth Orton and William Orbit in a partnership called SPILL, a single is released Don't Wanna Know 'Bout Evil on Guerilla and Virgin. A following album is also planned although fails to appear in the UK (later released in Japan under Beth's name).
Guerilla artists Fuzzy Logic get the remix treament from William with "Obsession", and William Co-Produces 2 album tracks on The Christians "Happy In Hell".
2 Orbit remixes appear, Yothi Yindi's "Treaty" and the famous deep & moody remix of Madonna's "Erotic".


The release of Strange Cargo III, and the Strange Cargo III Video (UK only) by Virgin.
Also in the UK the single "Water From A Vine Leaf" is released (June 7th) and almost reaches the UK top40.
Meanwhile the SPILL project fails and the album is released under Beth Orton's name with the album "Superpinkymandy" in Japan only. The album includes 2 tracks which later emerge on the HinterLand Cargo album "Montok point" and "She cries your name".
Remixes this year include Depeche Mode "Walking In My Shoes", Les Negresses Vertes "Zobi La Mouche" and Les Rita Mitsouko "Y'a d'la Haine!".
William teams up with Peter Gabriel with production and session work on Peter's album "US", 3 remixes appear on the singles: "Mercy Street", "Kiss That Frog" and "Digging in the Dirt".
William also teams up with Spooky and they both remix Sven Vath's "Accident in Paradise".


A quiet Year, IRS Records release "Water From A Vine Leaf" In the U.S.
William takes time in Los Angeles (in his second studio, Guerilla Beach) to remix Madonna's "I'll Remember"
Another solo Orbit track emerges in a compilation CD: "Trance Europe Express 3" with "Barbarik"
Remixes out this year are only Epaule Tattoo by Etienne Daho.


William Orbit's most ambitious year to date, The Launch of N-Gram recordings is unveiled with the backing of Warners and a U.S contract with Discovery Records
The first releases on N-Gram are William's Solo work: Strange Cargo "Hinterland", and his first single since 1993 Strange Cargo "Million Town".
His other solo work of Classical pieces is released under the alias of The Electric Chamber with "Pieces In A Modern Style". However in the week of release the publishers of Arvo Part and Henryk Gorecki blocked its release. Even the special Royal Festival Hall concert which included all four acts on N-Gram had to be rearranged.
The Other 2 acts included Torch Song reformed with the new album "Toward The Unknown Region", and Cello player and Vocalist Caroline Lavelle has the album "Spirit" and Singles "A case of you" & "Moorlough Shore" are produced by William.
Remixes this year only include Sacred Spirit with a remix of "Yo-Hee-O-Hey" and released on a Virgin compilation


The last chance to get taste Electric Chamber when one of it's tracks appears on a N-Gram 4-Track Sampler.
IRS Records get ready to launch a re-issue / Compilation of Torch Song material (and remixes), William Orbit spends time to remix some of his old tracks and a few of them appear on The best of Strange Cargo. Shortly that release IRS records go out of business before anything else is released.
A compilation CD Northern Exposure sees 2 of William's past work ("Vine Leaf" Acid Bath mix & Fuzzy Logic's "Obsession") in a mix. Remixes are non-existent and only a collaboration with Matt Ducasse with Skylab "The Trip" appears. Several Strange Cargo tracks appear in the film "Heat" but fail to appear on the Soundtrack album.


Another collaboration with Matt Ducasse sees the release of a track William had previously performed live in London's Astoria called "Scream", this time it is released on record label Excession with the alias of Invisible. William gets busy remixing again with one of his best remixes to date: Bridget Boden's "Must Go On" Scottish band 18 Wheeler gets 2 singles remixed with "The Hours and the Times" (1 remix) & "Stay" (3 remixes). Blur also get the treatment with "On you own", "Death of a party" and "Movin' On". The Camouflage track "Love Is A Shield (Orbit remix)" becomes available on CD on "Best Of Camouflage"
Other remixes include Dreadzone's "Earth Angel", Olive "Outlaw", Pierre Henry Michel Colombier "Psyhe Rock", Rick Wright (of Pink Floyd) "A night of a thousand furry toys".
3 tracks from Bassomatic's album 'Science and Melody' are slightly remixed and made instrumental for the German film "Harald" and appear on the Soundtrack.
William spends the end of 1997 working with Madonna......


The year everyone hears the name William Orbit.
His career is radically put in the public eye with the production of a long-awaited Madonna album "Ray of Light", the results are stunning. Most of the album is produced, and many of the tracks are co-written by William, he also is the main musician throughout the album. After the Madonna work he moves onto producing Blur's next studio album at (Sarm West in London) up until November 1998. He leaves Crouch End and moves both home and Studio to Santa Monica to start work on other projects (including solo material) in 1999.
The much awaited Orbit produced Blur album "13" is released in March and is followed by single hits such as "Tender".
William returns back to working on his solo material and adds new tracks to the original version of the "Pieces in a modern style"CD (withdrawn due to legal problems). William also works on new mixes of Damon Albarn & Michael Nyman's soundtrack for the film Ravenous (released in 1999).
Remixes released this year include Madonna's Ray Of Light, the long awaited Morgan King "I'm Free" on Excession records, Sarah McLachlan's "Black" (released on the X-Files Soundtrack).
Live performances with Madonna on the UK Lottery show, and in the US with Oprah , Rosie and MTV.
Other work this year includes editing and mixing on a track from the album "Trip of a lifetime" by Kim Fowley, as a musician on Seals album "Human Being" (produced by Trevor Horn).


Another hectic year, Madonna picks up 4 awards at the 1999 Grammy awards and drags William onto stage, they share the award for Best PopAlbum & Best Dance Recording, Madonna also picks up grammies for Best Short Form Music Video & Best Recording Package.
Remixes this year brings Beth Orton & William Ørbit back together again to work on Central Reservation with Mark "Spike" Stent (released Sept).
First solo track release for a long time is 'Ogive' by Erik Satie (previously released on "Pieces in a modern style") which gets released on the "Human Traffic" Soundtrack.
Sept 99 - Ravenous Soundtrack is released (UK copies only include 3 tracks with additional production & mixes by William Orbit: Boyd's Beauty Pt A, The Pit & Screech Jam).
Production work: Madonna's Beautiful Stranger single is released (Co-Written & Produced by William Orbit) which sets new records for amount of radio play in July.
August, works with Mel C. on her debut album 'Northern Star' (released in October 1999) with the track "Go" and then with All Saints on the new soundtrack to "The Beach" directed by Danny Boyle and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
October - November 1999, William Ørbit and Madonna back in the studio for the next Madonna album, this time recording is in London.
November 1999, William wins Q Award's BEST PRODUCER for Blur's "13" album.
But as 1999 ends, William Orbit storms with chart with his first solo single release since 1995 : "Barber's Adagio for Strings" released with a remix by Ferry Corsten. It hits number 1 in the dance charts, and number 4 in the UK singles chart at the most competitive time : Christmas.
As the year ends, the single slips to number 11..... but 2000 has a surprise in store.


January- The single "Barber's Adagio for Strings" rises back up the UK single charts to number 7.
With many great reviews, and a long wait since it's original release (in 1995), "Pieces in a modern style" gets released.
"American Pie" single released, (produced with William Orbit & with Rupert Everett providing backup vocals) a remake of Don McLean's classic from the soundtrack of "The Next Best Thing" in which Madonna stars, the soundtrack also includes another Orbit-Madonna track "All stood Still"
All Saints single released, "Pure Shores" is co-produced by William Orbit and soundtrack to the flim "The Beach".

William Orbit selected Discography

Torch Song

1983 Prepare to Energise (Single)

1984 Don't look now/Prepare to energise (Single)

1984 Wish Thing (Album)

1985 Ode to Billy Joe (Single)

1986 Ecstasy (Album)

1986 Can't find my way home (Single)

1987 Exhibit A (Album of selected tracks from above)

1995 Toward the Unknown Region (Album)


1990 In the realm of the senses (Single)

1990 Fascinating Rhythm (Single)

1990 Ease on by (Single)

1990 Set the controls for the heart of the bass (Album)

1991 Funky love vibrations (Single)

1991 Science and Melody (Single)

1991 Science and Melody (Album)

1992 Go getta nutha man (Single)

Strange Cargo

1987 Strange Cargo (Album)

1990 Strange Cargo II (Album)

1993 Strange Cargo III (Album)

1993 Water from a vine leaf (Single)

1994 Strange Cargo III (PC/Mac CDROM) - Not Released.

1995 Strange Cargo Hinterland (Album)

1995 Million Town (Single)

1996 Strange Cargos (best of) (Album)

2000 Strange Cargo 1-3 (box set)

The Electric Chamber

1995 Pieces in a modern style (Album)

Note: This album is now unavailable due to legal problems (see re-released version under William Orbit Solo)

William Orbit

1987 Love My Way (Single)

1987 Feel Like Jumping (Single)

1987 Orbit (Album)

1997 Scream (Single, released 6/Oct 1997) - alias INVISIBLE

2000 Pieces in a modern style (album)

2000 Barbers Adagio for Strings (single)

2000 Ravel's Pavane pour une Infante Défunte (single)

Spill / Beth Orton

Spill are William Orbit & Beth Orton,

1992 Don't Wanna Know 'Bout Evil (Single)

1993 Superpinkymandy (Album) Only available in Japan & under Beth Orton's name.


William Orbit Remix & Production work

1984 KATE GARNER "Love Me Like A Rocket"

1985 STING "If you love some body set them free"

1985 BELINDA CARLISLE "Belinda" (Album).

1985 STAN RIDGEWAY "Camouflage"/"Salesman"

1985 COLOURBOX Album track: "Manic" & "Manic II"

1986 ETIENNE DAHO "Pop Sartori" (Album)

1986 BELINDA CARLISLE "Circle In The Sand"

1986 BELINDA CARLISLE "Mad About You"

1987 THREE O'CLOCK "Suzie's On The Ball Now"

1987 DEREK B "Bad Young Brother"

1987 O.M.D "Dreaming"

1987 ETIENNE DAHO "Pop Satori" Album

1987 LAURIE MAYER "Dust In The Wind"

1987 LIZZIE TEAR "Life Won't Be The Same"

1988 BELINDA CARLISLE "World Without You"

1988 KID CAN'T DANCE "Peace and Understanding"

1988 WELL RED "Hard"

1988 WELL RED "Rocketship of love"

1989 JULIAN LENNON "Now You're In Heaven"

1989 LES NEGRESSES VERTES "Zobi La Mouche"

1989 HUMAN LEAGUE "Romantic" (Album tracks)

1989 LES RITA MITSOUKO "Tongue Dance"

1989 MC TWIX "Devastatin 2 Yo Ear"

1989 NITZER EBB "Backlash", "Captivate", "Shame"

1989 GARY NUMAN "My Dying Machine"

1989 PRINCE "Batdance"

1989 SHAKESPEAR'S SISTER "Run Silent, Run Deep"

1989 JIMMY SOMMERVILLE "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)"

1989 MALCOLM McLAREN "Deep In Vogue"

1989 MALCOLM McLAREN "Somethings Jumpin In Your Shirt"

1989 ERASURE "Supernature"

1989 ERASURE "Star"

1989 S'EXPRESS "Hey Music Lover"

1989 S'EXPRESS "Mantra For A State Of Mind"

1989 NITZER EBB "Shame/Backlash"

1989 SHAKESPEARE'S SISTER "Run Silent Run Deep"

1990 HUMAN LEAGUE "Heart Like A Wheel"

1990 PROPAGANDA "Heaven Give Me Words"

1990 OLETA ADAMS "Rhythm Of Life"

1990 BETTY BOO "24 Hours"

1990 PRINCE "Batdance"

1990 PRINCE "The Future"

1990 PRINCE "Electric Chair"

1990 THE CURE "Inbetween Days"

1990 LES RITA MITSOUKO "Hip Kit" & "Singing in the Shower"

1991 HUMAN LEAGUE "Soundtrack To A Generation"

1991 SEAL "Killer"

1991 SEAL "Crazy"

1991 SHAMEN "Hyperreal"


1991 WENDY AND LISA "Lolly Lolly"

1991 KRAFTWERK "Radioactivity"

1991 SCRITTI POLITTI (Featuring Shabba Ranks) "She's A Woman"

1991 CACTUS RAIN "Mystery Train"

1991 CAMOUFLAGE "Love Is A Shield"


1992 PETER GABRIEL "Mercy Street"

1992 PETER GABRIEL "Kiss That Frog"

1992 PETER GABRIEL "Digging In The Dirt"

1992 PETER GABRIEL "US" (Album)

1992 MADONNA "Justify My Love"

1992 MADONNA "Erotica"

1992 YOTHU YINDI "Treaty"

1992 THE CHRISTIANS "Happy in Hell" (Album tracks)

1993 LES RITA MITSOUKO "Y'a d'la Haine!"

1993 ONE DOVE "Breakdown"

1993 SVEN VATH "Accident In Paradise"

1993 DEPECHE MODE "Walking in my shoes"

1993 SEAL Additional Production on 2nd Album

1994 ETIENNE DAHO "Epaule Tattoo" - Orbit: Remix

1994 MADONNA "I'll Remember"

1995 SACRED SPIRIT "Yo-Hee-O-Hey"

1995 HECTOR ZAZOU "Adventures In The Scandanavian Skin Trade"

1996 CAROLINE LAVELLE "Dream of Picasso"

1996 RICK WRIGHT "A night of a thousand furry toys"

1997 18 WHEELER "Stay"

1997 BRIDGET BODEN "Must go on"


1997 DREADZONE "Earth Angel"

1997 18 WHEELER "The Hours and the Times"

1997 BLUR "On My Own"

1997 OLIVE "Outlaw"

1997 BLUR "Movin'On"

1997 BLUR "Death of a Party"

1998 BLUR "Bustin n Dronin" (Includes 4 remixes)

1998 MADONNA "Frozen" (Single), Co-Produced by W.O. + Remixes)

1998 MADONNA "Ray Of Light" (Album), (Co-Produced by W.O.)

1998 MADONNA "Ray Of Light" (Single), Co-Written/Produced by W.O. + Remixes)

1998 X-Files "The Soundtrack" (Includes remix of Sarah McLachlan's "BLACK")

1998 MADONNA "Drowned World" (Single), Co-Written/Produced by W.O. - No Remixes)

1998 MADONNA "The Power of Goodbye" (Single), Co-Written/Produced by W.O. - No Remixes)

1999 Madonna, Beautiful Stranger (single, co-written/co-produced)

1999 Blur, 13 (album, production)

1999 Blur, Tender (single, production)

1999 Mel C, Go (album track, co-written/produced)

2000 Madonna, American Pie (single, production)

2000 All Saints, Pure Shores (single, co-written/co-produced)

2000 Madonna, 4 album tracks on "Music" (co-produced by William Orbit)

2000 All Saints, Black Coffee (single, produced by William Orbit)

2000 All Saints, 4 album tracks on "Saints & Sinners" (produced by William Orbit)

orbit william

more info

advanced technologic sound magazine
2002 issue 100

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