BELLS 'CHIME' FOR ORBITAL AT XMAS | Skip to main content



Techno duo's festive update of their 1989 rave anthem

Pioneering live techno act Orbital have been talking exclusively to about the subtle update of their first UK hit, 'Chime'. 'Christmas Chime' is literally 'Chime' with bells on!

The Hartnoll brothers have added a few slight Christmassy tinges to their 1989 rave anthem, and now it's being primed for a UK Christmas No.1 — set to challenge Altern8 (interview coming soon), ACDC and plenty of other would-be festive chart-toppers.

“We always meant to do it, but it finally came about from a conversation with an old friend of mine, Paul Isaac, who insisted it was a good idea and had to be done now,” Paul told DJ Mag. “There aren't that many electronic festive tunes around, and let's face it — it was made for it!”

Paul tells DJ Mag where he got the extra bells from – sort of. “The bells are from a sound effects record, but I cannot reveal my sources,” he chuckled, echoing the sampling secrecy he maintained over the original recording of 'Chime' nearly a quarter of a century ago — as he explained in the Game Changer video here

It's a faithful festive update, but DJ Mag asked Paul if it crossed his mind that 'you shouldn't mess with a classic'? “No, nothing is sacred in music — have you heard my back catalogue?!”

The video idea — Phil and Paul's grinning faces transposed onto Christmas elves, Aphex style — was conceived by Gavin Batty, and made by Mike Downs at Electric Lighting Studio.

'Christmas Chime' isn't Orbital's first tilt at the coveted Christmas No.1 slot. In 1996, their brutalist anti-commercialism piece 'Satan' — an anagram of 'Santa' — reached No.3 in the UK charts. DJ Mag asked Paul if he's softened his stance towards Christmas since having kids. “To be fair, I've always been a fan of Santa and Satan in equal measure!” he joked, stating that Christmas for him is going to involve; “Having a great family time, lots of presents and eating.”

So what does Paul want for Christmas himself? “All I want for Christmas is a Christmas No.1!”

Pre-order 'Christmas Chime' here