William Orbit

William Orbit

Infobox musical artist
Name = William Orbit
Img_capt =
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Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = William Mark Wainwright
Alias = William Orbit
Born = birth date and age|1956|12|15|df=y
Died =
Origin = Shoreditch, Hackney, East London
Instrument =
Genre =
Occupation = Electronic musician and composer
Years_active =
Label =
Associated_acts =
URL = http://www.williamorbit.com

William Orbit (born on 15 December 1956 as William Mark Wainwright in Shoreditch, Hackney) is an English musician composer and record producer, perhaps best known to most for his work on Madonna's album "Ray of Light", which received four Grammy Awards, sold 4 million copies in the US [ [http://www.discogs.com/artist/William+Orbit William Orbit ] ] , and sold 20 million copies worldwide. He has also co-produced several unreleased Madonna songs originally recorded for other albums that were never used. In addition, he produced "13" by Blur, and remixed some of the songs on the album. More recently he has turned to orchestral compositions. He has three Grammy Awards.


In addition to being a producer, William is also a composer and multi-instrumentalist who has specialised in keyboard electronica and much of his work also features accomplished guitar and bass guitar playing. He has also recorded several largely instrumental solo albums under the name Strange Cargo which features vocals by Beth Orton, Laurie Mayer and Joe Frank, among others. "Water from a Vine Leaf" was a chart success from the album "Strange Cargo 3". Prior to that he formed the group Torch Song, with Laurie Mayer, in the 1980s. At that time the band first developed Guerilla Studios in an abandoned school on the Harrow Road. They shared the premises with a group of Spanish anarchists and it became known as El Centro Iberico. They were later joined by a third member, Rico Conning.

Orbit was the musical force behind Bassomatic in the early 1990s. Their hit in 1990 was "Fascinating Rhythm".

He has also produced and remixed songs by numerous other artists, such as French pop star Étienne Daho. Along with producer Rico Conning they produced the Pop Satori album, Scottish act One Dove, and Seal. He also remixed Prince's #1 hit song movie tie-in, "Batdance", from "Batman" in 1989. Orbit's remixes carry his signature electronic sounds and techniques, making them sought after by fans of his solo work.

Orbit also produced a version of Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" (the original arrangement of which features as the main theme of the soundtrack to "Platoon"). Adagio was lifted from the successful album "Pieces in a Modern Style" which was a compilation of classical re-workings. Orbit's version of the track was itself remixed in 1999 by Ferry Corsten and became a big club music hit as well as reaching #4 in the UK Singles Chart.

He has worked with girl groups All Saints ("Pure Shores", "Black Coffee") and Sugababes and Pink ("Feel Good Time" from "Charlie's Angels 2"). He produced "Dice" for Finley Quaye in collaboration with Beth Orton; Quaye also played guitar and sang on Orbit's tracks including the unreleased 'Arioso' featuring Madonna.

Some of Orbit's remixes include the song "Electrical Storm" by U2 in the album "The Best of 1990-2000". His remix is called "Electrical Storm (William Orbit Mix)." He has also worked with Swedish duo Roxette in the song "Entering Your Heart."

He founded Guerilla Records in 1989.

Orbit has also created several radio shows. In the late 1990s, he had a series on Los Angeles-based KCRW, called "Stereo Odyssey".

Orbit's song, "Time To Get Wise" was used in the 2004 film What the Bleep Do We Know!?, and the song's title was used as a tag line for the film.

In 2005, Orbit's most recent album, "Hello Waveforms" was released on the Sanctuary label. Subsequently he produced two tracks — "Louise" and "Summertime" — for Robbie Williams' 2006 album, "Rudebox". At this time, he also mixed several tracks on Laurie Mayer's most recent album, "Black Lining".

In the fall of 2006, "Purdy," a track Orbit co-composed with Laurie Mayer and Rico Conning, was used as the soundtrack in a television ad campaign for H&M which starred Madonna and was directed by her and Dan Cadan.

In 2007, Orbit composed his first orchestral suite for a full orchestra. The composition was performed for the first time on July 8, 2007, by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in the Bridgewater Hall at the Manchester International Festival.

He sometimes deejays at Circus at the Soho Revue Bar in Central London.He lives in North London and LA and has his office and studio in Hoxton Square, London.


More complete discographies can be found when exploring external links.

Torch Song

* "Wish Thing"
* "Ecstasy"
* "Exhibit A"
* "Toward the Unknown Region"


* "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Bass"
* "Science & Melody"


* "Orbit"
* "Strange Cargo"
* "Strange Cargo II"
* "Superpinkymandy"
** Released in Japan only as a "Beth Orton" album, but the sound was characteristically Orbit, making this possibly his most sought after rarity.
* "Strange Cargo III"
* "Strange Cargo Hinterland"
* "The Best of Strange Cargos"
** A compilation from Orbit's first three "Strange Cargo" albums, highlighted by two versions of "Water From A Vine Leaf", another collaboration with Beth Orton
* "Pieces in a Modern Style"
** Original release, withdrawn
* "Pieces in a Modern Style"
** Altered re-release, minus uncleared tracks from first release, although with additional tracks in their place
* "Hello Waveforms" (released on Sanctuary records, 20th February in UK, and February 21st 2006 for USA).
* "Cellcloud"
** Working title to a Strange Cargo album due to be released on 2008 on the Theomorph label.

Equipment Used

Used on Madonna's "Ray of Light":
*Waldorf Wave
*Roland Juno-106
*Roland JD-800
*Roland JP-8000
*Yamaha DX7
*Novation BassStation
*Korg MS-20
*Akai S3200 sampler
*Sherman Filterbank
*Atari ST Computer running Cubase II
*Pro Tools TDMUses/Has Used:
*Trident 80B Mixing Desk
*Roland Dimension D Chorus
*Yamaha SY-99 (on Torch Song's Into The Unknown Region)
*Roland SH-101
*Roland D-50 or Roland D-10 (has either used or used samples from; various jam loops are heard in Strange Cargo 2 and 3)Used with Torch Song/Guerilla Studio in the 1980s:
*AMS Digital Reverb
*AMS Digital Delay
*Linn LinnDrum
*Movement II Drum Computer
*Otari 24-track recorder
*Roland CSQ600 Sequencer
*Roland Jupiter-8
*Roland SH-2
*Roland TR-808
*Roland TR-909
*Roland RE-201 Space Echo
*Sequential Circuits Prophet-5
*Simmons SD5 Drum Brain
*Yamaha DX7Used in Torch Song's live performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1995:
*Yamaha SY-99 (played by William Orbit)
*Roland Juno-106(played by William Orbit)
*Roland JD-800(played by William Orbit)
*Akai S1000 series samplersvarious Roland drum-pads
*Atari ST computer
*Yamaha KX88 (controller played by Laurie Mayer)
*Yamaha SY77 (played by Rico Conning)
*Unknown 76-key keyboard, most likely *Roland MKB-300 or *Yamaha KX-76 (controller keyboard played by Rico Conning)
*Unknown 61-key keyboard, possibly a *Roland JV80 (3rd keyboard played by Rico Conning)

External links

* [http://www.williamorbit.com/ Official Website]
* [http://www.discogs.com/artist/William+Orbit Discography]
* [http://www.myspace.com/williamorbit Official Myspace]
* [http://www.torchsongonline.com TorchSong Online]
* [http://www.lauriemayer.com Laurie Mayer Official Website]
* [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/williamorbit William Orbit] at Rolling Stone Recent Interview Links
* [http://www.ft.com/cms/s/89920928-20be-11dc-8d50-000b5df10621.html Financial Times, June 22nd 2007]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/manchester/content/articles/2007/06/08/080607_mif_orbit_feature.shtml BBC, June 2007]
* [http://music.guardian.co.uk/classical/story/0,,2086196,00.html Guardian, May 23rd 2007]


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