OMD with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (Excerpt : Air)





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Published on Jan 14, 2010

On June 20 2009, 80s synth-pioneers Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark realised a 30 year dream, backed by the rich resonance of a 75 piece orchestra, the visual majesty of filmmaker Hambi, and the vision of artist Peter Saville.

Set in the opulent and historic setting of Liverpools Philharmonic Hall, OMD performed their imposing back catalogue abetted by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, after collaborative audio-visual installation The Energy Suite received its orchestral premier.
The hit laden set, dripping with classics such as Enola Gay and Joan of Arc, and stuffed with exclusive firsts, such as the primary live outing of Radio Prague, is captured in all its magnificence on Electricity: OMD with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. The bands determination to utilise the entire orchestra to maximum effect saw Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys abandoning almost all the original instrumentation in favour of complete re-workings of the song arrangements. The result is so much more satisfying than the usual safe attempts of rock and pop acts to add a little classical colour to their catalogue!
Aided by Hambis commanding film backdrop, the blazing and abstract imagery augments the breathtaking theatrics of this unique musical and artistic performance.
The Energy Suite emerged from an 80s vision, born around the time OMD recorded Stanlow, an epic musical journey, which featured ambient recordings from Stanlow Oil Refinery on the Wirral peninsular. The imposing beauty of Stanlow at night fuelled their love for industrial architecture in pictorial settings, a love which was shared by iconic artist and designer Peter Saville.
When the genre hopping art pioneer and Factory Records partner Saville first created the neo-classical cover for OMDs foremost release Electricity, no-one could have guessed it would lead to a partnership which would span over three decades.
Though Stanlow stirred their combined passions, it wasnt until McCluskey and Saville, aided by Hambi, created The Energy Suite for an exhibition at specialist new media gallery FACT in 2008, that their infatuation saw an outlet.
Using striking and often haunting imagery of five power generating sites in the North West of England based in an arc around the Irish Sea, McCluskey along with long time collaborator Stuart Kershaw composed a provocative yet tender score to lift the iconic imagery and purvey the beauty the trio saw within its stature

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