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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Strange Cargo III

William Orbit

1993

Strange Cargo III

Album Summary

Strange Cargo III is the fourth album by electronic instrumentalist William Orbit. It is the third in a series of similarly titled albums: Strange Cargo, Strange Cargo II and Strange Cargo Hinterland. The album was performed, produced and mixed by William Orbit at Guerilla Studios, London. Mark Rutherford and Sugar J co-performed "Deus Ex Machina" with William Orbit, with Rutherford also co-writing the song. Rico Conning contributed flexible bleeps and roadhouse piano on "Time to get Wize", spiky piano and strings on "The Story of Light" and additional programming on "A Touch of the Night".The album was featured in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.83

Votes

5066

Genres

  • Electronica
Reviews
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Thu Mar 25 2021
4

I often wonder whether albums like this are made for people to actually enjoy....or whether they're made for hi-fi nerds to boast about how great the plinky-plonks sound through their speakers (they sounded awesome through mine)

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Wed Jun 23 2021
1

So then, mood music. Not often my thing, especially this version, which dumbly apes what they think 'peaceful' sounds like without realising that isn't enough to make people feel at peace. Broad brush approaches only creates greater distance from the listener. As with lyrics, specificity is what allows them to grab hold of the song, clamber in and find their own way to those feelings. These sounds are so washed out with generalisations that there's no chance of that.

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Wed May 19 2021
4

It was a trip listen to it with my eyes closed on my way home back from work. Great tracks overall

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Mon Jul 12 2021
3

Das pendelt erstmal so rum zwischen ganz interessant (hätte ich damals noch besser gefunden als z.B. Orbital) und zeitlos schlimmer Esoterik. Findet sich dann, nachdem man sich hörbar deutlich bei Andrew Weatherall und The Orb bedient hat aber letztlich in so Ralf Hildenbeutel/Sven Väthschem Ibizasphärengedudel, das damals sicher nicht weh tat, anschließend aber auch nicht gut gealtert ist. Und dann hört man auch schon raus, was er 6 Jahre später auf z.B. Madonnas Ray of Light perfektioniert hat. Naja. So wegweisend finde ich dieses Album jedenfalls nicht. 2,7 reichen völlig aus.

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Thu Mar 18 2021
5

Great work music, love it

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Fri Apr 23 2021
5

Study music

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Fri Feb 26 2021
5

Cool electronic sound. Actually listened to it twice.

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Fri Mar 26 2021
5

chingón!!!

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Wed Jun 02 2021
5

I love 90s electronica

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Wed Dec 15 2021
5

Excelente disco! El primer 5!! Aca esta la base del lo que fue ese tremendo disco de Madonna, Ray of Ligth.

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Sun Jan 02 2022
5

I am here for William and his Strange melodies. Brian Eno-esque in all the right ways, with a little bit of world music vocals and groovy Thievery Corporation beats.

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Thu Feb 03 2022
5

I was not prepared for how much I would love this album. Like, I thought "oh hahah college raves and video games soundtracks." Then it played and I can't describe how immediately I loved it. Track after track, too. Listened to it twice because I didn't want it to end. So, I guess I should listen to William Orbit more and just let go of the electronica stigma.

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Fri Feb 25 2022
5

skemmtilegt að studera þennan gaur

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Wed Mar 09 2022
5

Wow! Great stuff!

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Thu May 05 2022
5

Really good but he absolutely blue balled me with those first two songs, my expectations were set at Groove Armada style bang fest but it was more of a freaky experimental electronic exploration - not saying I didn't enjoy the journey but I think the first couple of songs would've been better placed dispersed throughout rather than as false expectation setters at the start. GIVE ME MORE BANGERS, WILLIAM

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Fri Jul 15 2022
5

COOL

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Thu Sep 01 2022
5

This is what I came here for.

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Fri Sep 23 2022
5

I love some of the tribalbeat sounds in this, and found it to be a pleasant surprise on what I expected to be a bland work.

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Fri Oct 21 2022
5

Trippy af

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Thu Jan 19 2023
5

Amazingly beautiful

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Thu Feb 25 2021
4

Another pleasant surprise, some enjoyable Electronica dance music.

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Sun Jan 24 2021
4

Super triply, great music to sample, intense ass vibes 4.5/5

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Thu Mar 18 2021
4

This was very chill as I drove in the wet in the city. Like

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Fri Mar 19 2021
4

Ah shit

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Thu Mar 18 2021
4

Pretty good electronic music

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Wed Jan 27 2021
4

What a pleasant surprise!

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Wed Jun 02 2021
4

Good background music, not much more

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Wed Jul 21 2021
4

Perfectly decent, spacey 90s electronica with dance, dub, trip-hop, world and new-age influences. Its sound and mood is such that it still holds up quite well almost 30 years after it was released. This one really grew on me.

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Mon May 24 2021
4

I love weird trip hop

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Fri May 28 2021
4

awesome psychedelic record with liquid rhythms, expressive synths, and groovy bass lines. love hearing the predecessors to some of my favorite modern psychedelic artists.

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Thu Jul 29 2021
4

Surprised to enjoy this. Quite relaxed sound nice and easy listen

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Wed Aug 04 2021
4

Nice vibes

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Thu Sep 02 2021
4

Not my usual kind of music, but I really enjoyed it. Also very good for concentrating at work.

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Fri Oct 29 2021
4

Great electronic stuff here. Bonus points for the vocals. Favorites: Water From A Vine Leaf, Harry Flowers, The Story Of Light

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Thu Oct 14 2021
4

Enjoyed this immensely remembered some of the tunes on here from amvient mixes back in the day. Took me back and to far of chilledness.

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Fri Nov 12 2021
4

Pretty good listening, some of the tracks definitely would've been better without vocals tho. Favorite track is probably A Touch of the Night.

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Thu Nov 18 2021
4

Ugh, this album isn’t on Apple Music. Damn them for not having obscure, non-charted electronic music. They have a bunch of his other albums…wtf? So I have to listen on YouTube, which is painful. First world problems. I like the bass heavy beats throughout the album. This is the first album that got my house rattling with the surround sound system I got a couple months back. The accompanying videos on YouTube are a trip. There are a lot of nature scenes. Also quite a bit of shaky camera work. I can’t tell if the videos add or detract from the music. I’m not a fan of the Nine-Inch-Nails-esque electronic drum on Into the Paradise and A Hazy Shade of Random, but that’s not going to bring this album down. There’s a lot of good shit here. An interesting find for sure. I’m starting to conclude that I’m into ambient music. Not all of it, no way (looking at you Brian Eno). But there is a subset that gets me going.

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Mon Dec 06 2021
4

Feels quite long but great for programming.

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Thu Dec 09 2021
4

fun! very techno. Solid 4.

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Fri Dec 24 2021
4

Okay, I like this. It's chill and electronic and perfect music to use as background noise while writing.

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Tue Jan 18 2022
4

Sounds like 90's techno trip hop rave

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Thu Feb 03 2022
4

Inventive, original and very interesting. I was pretty familiar with this already but it's - despite its listenability and general awesomeness - not an album that finds its way onto the regular playlists round these parts. I am thinking I should probably endeavour to rectify that.

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Thu Feb 10 2022
4

Chill

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Thu Feb 10 2022
4

I liked this, textural and cool

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Thu Feb 17 2022
4

De hoes van dit album gaf me het idee dat we klassieke muziek voorgeschoteld gingen krijgen. Heel interessant, maar deze "ambient" muziek vind ik vele malen leuker. Heerlijk album! ****

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Fri Feb 18 2022
4

In the early 90s I was a DJ at this local, publicly-funded, alternative radio station. Certain songs were in rotation and we had to play those at certain times so that they got played a specific number of times per day. If there was time left before the next required song we could pick out a song of our choice that wasn't in rotation as long as it fit in with the format. Because of this I hated having to play long songs, I wanted the world (or at least the part of Western New York State that was in our small listening area) to hear what amazing taste I had. "Water From a Vine Leaf" the seven minute leadoff track from this album was my bete noire. Now when I listen to it and the rest of "Strange Cargo III," especially on some good headphones I really appreciate it.

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Sun Feb 27 2022
4

4.5/5. Very 90s’ laser tag, but low key a banger

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Thu Mar 03 2022
4

I quite liked this one. The ambient stuff has a good groove and when they kick it up a notch it really moves. Good to see Beth Orton singing on this album. She has had special guest appearances on a number of the albums on the 1001.

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Mon Mar 07 2022
4

like this alot v ambient

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Thu Apr 07 2022
4

Kind of weird and ambient, but in a way I kinda liked. It reminded me of video game music for some reason.

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Fri May 27 2022
4

3.5

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Wed Jun 01 2022
4

8/10. I liked this. Not the most exciting to get for my 500th album, but a solid inclusion.

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Thu Aug 11 2022
4

Funky

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Thu Aug 25 2022
4

25/08/2022 William Orbit – Strange Cargo III 4/5 Electronica has become one of my favourite genres together with folk, indie and pop, and it’s great to listen to the seed of what that style is today. Strange Cargo III is a very early 90’s electronica album, with all that that implies. It is enjoyable, at least for me, but knowing how the genre have evolved with time and technological progress, it sounds a bit simple and not fully developed sometimes. However, it is very chill and well built on its context, and it doesn’t have a low point across the whole album. Water From A Vine Leaf – 4.5/5 Surprisingly good for its length: 7 minutes that doesn’t become a tedious listen. Its first half develops a good beat, and the second evolves a bit with variation and the inclusion of a singer. Very enjoyable. Into The Paradise – 4.5/5 This album is quite interesting. Some songs are built similar to modern electronic music, like they are intended to sound in a club (mostly because their structure and duration). But they aren’t that danceable and are rather slow, at least to current standards (It is probably my age thinking). This is one of the cases, and I quite like it. It becomes a fairly “sexy” song thanks to the voice and the beat. Time To Get Wize – 3/5 more of a “generic song”, still good. Harry Flowers – 4/5 This is a song that breaks the consistency of the album so far, sounding more like the soundtrack of a movie or a videogame, and leaning more into the ambient/relaxing music. A Touch Of The Night – 4/5 Very intriguing melody, and great bass/drums combination. It almost sounds like club music from outer space. The Story Of Light – 4 /5 Good build-up, to become a great hit to dance to (slowly?). Interesting sounds, and the included singer gives it a good touch. Gringatcho Demento – 4/5 Another song that builds-up to a good beat and instrumentation. This one has a surprising guitar solo in the middle. A Hazy Shade Of Random – 4.5/5 Mostly slow songs that evolves into a impressive beat. My favourite song of the album. Best Friend, Paranoia – 2.5/5 It follows a similar structure and composition, but it gets stuck in the middle between a high energy and low energy song. The Monkey King – 2/5 Probably the weakest song of the album. Another one that breaks the general pattern, becoming an ambient track. It doesn’t generates a good enough atmosphere for me. Deus Ex Machina – 2/5 Similar to the previous one, it doesn’t make it for me. Water Babies – 3.5/5 This one follow similarly to the 2 before, but it builds up a cute melody that becomes more and more complex until it fades our. A good way to close the album.

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Thu Sep 15 2022
4

Never would have connected with this at the time but I've really come to enjoy this sort of ambient electronic trippy music. The only critique - and it's not much of one - is that it's much more of a mood/feel than a collection of what we traditionally think of as "songs" - so I don't necessarily have a favourite but this has been great to loop and work all day to. I'll listen to this again in the right atmosphere for sure. So it's tough to "rank" this and though I'd never make this anything close to a favourite album or genre, I'm giving this 4 stars for hitting the exact buttons it means to. 7/10 4 stars.

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Thu Sep 15 2022
4

I listened to this while working, and I have to say, it's great for that purpose. Honestly a really enjoyable album for me, but I love the atmospheric instrumental stuff. Solid 4/5.

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Wed Sep 28 2022
4

Muy bien, no me lo esperaba, toque así tipo Oldfield

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Wed Oct 12 2022
4

Weird. Spacey. Fun to listen to. Electronic without being intrusive and annoying. I like a the juice.

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Thu Oct 20 2022
4

This is really cool.

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Thu Oct 27 2022
4

Really nice flow. Relaxing, made me sleepy but in a good way. Then it sort of falls apart at the end.

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Fri Nov 04 2022
4

Not a fan of electronic, but I'd listen to this again for sure.

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Thu Dec 01 2022
4

Hell yeah, there's not enough of this type of music on this list (at least not that I've seen yet!)

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Tue Dec 13 2022
4

Great music to work too. Bass lines are killer. Would listen again

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Fri Dec 30 2022
4

electronic weirdness, love it

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Fri Jan 20 2023
4

I immediately dug this record. Its mashing of dub, 1990s house, and ambient holds strange powers over me, and William Orbit knows it. A fitting album title and accompanying album art. Very strange to hear Beth Orton’s voice hear too (read she was Orbit’s gf at the time). The ambient stuff is especially cryptic. I feel like I’m on drugs. I just want to lie down in the wet mud with my eyes closed and listen to this all day. There are a lot of ideas on this record. But somehow it retains its consistency and form. Never sounds scattered. Just, yeah, lots of ideas. This is music for a brainstorm. I’m going to give it a 4 but it honestly could be a 5. I just need more time with it. This album comes to me completely context-less. I have no references. Well, one: maybe the KLF. Otherwise, I can’t place it and it’s marvelous.

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Fri Jan 20 2023
4

I have never heard of Billy Orbs. Had no expectations going in. There’s some pretty insane sound design on this album. LOVE all the synth stuff. This dub track is sexy. It’s time to get wiZe, baby. There are so many cool little one-off moments on this record that made me go “cool!”. Just little moments here and there where he pulls out some random synth for 5 notes, plays some slick riff on the guitar, plays some strange ethereal pad, hits some groovy thick ass bass lick. A Touch of the Night is perfectly named. It’s got just a little bit of the sinister in there. So very percussive and clicky. My favorite! And who could forget those laserbeams!? I totally just feel like I am in space. Definitely getting a Screamadelica adjacent vibe from this listen. The checkout scanner bleep in the background of A Hazy Shade of Random is wonderful. The bleeping life support that drives the buzzy synth along competing with the beautiful pads and piano riffage that comes in like I’m standing in a Great Fairy Fountain about to get my magic upgrade. You know what? I get this feeling Koji Kondo heard The Monkey King, the intro sounds so much like the music for the Forest Temple. I really enjoyed the production on this album. Lots of immersive panning, tangible percussive instruments that come in with a crispness, samples from this or that movie, sound design that really puts you in whatever scene Orbit was trying to craft which I assume is somewhere between deep space, a murky cave, and the middle of the desert (all while somehow being inside of a cop car patrolling the rainy streets of some dystopian society). Will definitely revisit this album and likely more of Orbit’s discography!

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Fri Jan 20 2023
4

Preface: I took a 25mg edible and then spoke to my parents for an hour to let it kick in. Started really hitting when I put this on. I had no idea. Water From A Vines Leaf - I am so fucking hyped right now. Instantly. I just want to crank the bass up for this. I will but only for a little. “Four young girls getting water from a vine leaf. Dropping it on my tongue.” Into The Paradise - This is just good fucking vibes. Time To Get Size - Switch up. Still so sick. This piano is hitting right now. FUCK. “Rico Conning contributed flexible bleeps and roadhouse piano on "Time to get Wize” . The fact that there’s something called flexible bleeps is wild to me. Harry Flowers - Dub bass line. Crank it again. A Touch Of The Night - What an end. The Story Of Light - “Let your love shine down on me.” Damn. Gringatcho Demento - During this song, I learned my friend might move to New York. The stoke levels are high. Another groove. A Hazy Shade Of Random - The song title is accurate. Dead accurate. Best Friend, Paranoia - I’m trying to think of what Linkin Park song this sounds like? Or vice versa. The Monkey King - Honestly kind of spaced out for this one. Was eating a snack. Will go back and listen later. Deus Ex Machina - Someone was strumming some strings and now I’m lost in space. Water Babies - The Journey is coming to an end. What a pleasant send off. Epilogue - Currently the morning after the above. I listened to The Monkey King again and recognize why I may have spaced out during this song. Very mellow and soft in sound. I’d put this somewhere between a 3 and a 4, but give it the 4 for the experience.

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Fri Jan 20 2023
4

I generally like the mood and atmosphere of this. The dialogue samples on "Deus Ex Machina" kinda break the vibe a bit, but other than that, a pretty smooth ride. Nice headphone music.

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Fri Jan 20 2023
4

Mais uma grata descoberta de opção para audição de música ambient e eletrônica. A sequência desenvolve uma atmosfera envolvida numa série de camadas sonoras constituindo a energia melódica supreendente.

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Tue Oct 13 2020
3

1993. Key Songs: Water From a Vine Leaf, The Story of Light

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Thu Oct 22 2020
3

Not bad. Held my attention. Can only give it 3.5 because it's not something I really see myself going back to.

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Thu Sep 24 2020
3

Nice ambient album with some relaxing moments. Pretty enjoyable.

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Wed Jun 16 2021
3

Vähän ku Massive Attackia ja Nightmares on Waxia sekasin, I like!

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Sun May 30 2021
3

Interesting, liked it, good background for work etc.

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Sun Jan 31 2021
3

It's okay. Kind of atmospheric Enya-esque pop. It's good background noise.

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Thu Jun 10 2021
3

Nothing too memorable, nothing too bad/good.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
3

Good album. Reminds me of lemon jelly in arts

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Fri Mar 12 2021
3

cool instrumental electronic music. some songs are vibey and some have techno or grungey sounds. i like Water From a Vine Leaf

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Thu Jul 01 2021
3

Electrónica. Ambiente. Se puede escuchar.

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Wed Apr 21 2021
3

Bon au debût mais derape en fin d’album. 3*

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Thu Mar 18 2021
3

Seems like there would’ve been no stranger cog turning in the early 90s music machine. Pretty cool background music

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Sun Feb 07 2021
3

Electronic, world, house, ambient, trance, hip hop, dub. Bien.

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Mon Jul 12 2021
3

Die Sounds kommen zwar leicht datiert durch die Geräte, aber der Kern eines dubbigen Rave/Waves bleibt dennoch klar transportiert. Bisweilen etwas kitschig in seiner Anmutung von Arzt-Serien Score. Macht aber mehr richtig als falsch und bleibt doch etwas schwach auf der Brust. Irgendwie gute 2.8

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Wed Jun 02 2021
3

enjoyed this - it gets a bit samey but really *nice*

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Mon Apr 12 2021
3

OK

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Fri May 07 2021
3

I think is not my type of beat but is quiet relaxing the first 4 tracks. Would be a good album after smoking a joint.

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Sun Aug 08 2021
3

Electronic music is definitely not my wheelhouse, but I like this album. William Orbit constructs his songs as experiences and tones that portray the context of the titles, and it feels like you are creating scenes in your head as you listen. It's not generic bass drops or fuzzy dubbings that overwhelm you in static sounds. That said, I don't really find myself intensely listening to every song and just leave it on as background music. But it's good. Favorite Song: The Story of the Light Least Favorite: Harry Flowers

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Fri Aug 20 2021
3

Interesante.

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Thu Sep 16 2021
3

Zweverig album, met wat samples die wel overeenkomen met de albumhoes. Was goed voor op de achtergrond maar weinig speciaal

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Wed Sep 29 2021
3

its an ambient album, which barely any vocals but somehow it manages to keep your attention

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Thu Sep 30 2021
3

Cannot lie - really got into it - great instrumentalist, but by the end was desperate for it to finish

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Wed Oct 06 2021
3

Pretty enjoyable album. I'm not super into electronic music but I liked the melodies here. Reminded me of Spyro the Dragon.

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Sun Oct 10 2021
3

I don't know how this counts as one of the 1001 albums I need to hear before I die. It's pleasant enough but entirely unmemorable. I don't even know if it's one of the best 1001 ambient albums ever produced. Inoffensive and worthy of playing in the background when you have work to do but it'll never feel groundbreaking.

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Fri Oct 15 2021
3

It's alright, good for passive listening (background music).

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Mon Oct 25 2021
3

Strong start weak mid

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Mon Nov 08 2021
3

Why was it so quiet in my car

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Thu Nov 11 2021
3

Lo-fi electronic album, this was some solid background music to listen to while I worked. The album playlists on Youtube were all either incomplete or way out of order, so I had to search each song individually to listen to it which was frustrating but that has nothing to do with the music itself. Enjoyed it for what it was, not my usual thing but wouldn't complain if someone put this on.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
3

so-so. Very much of its time. (cf. Fascinating Rhythm, which is much more adventurous.)

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Thu Nov 18 2021
3

Cargo cults may seem strange to us modern first-worlders, but in understanding their culture we can understand much of our obsession with advancement and progression. A cargo cult is "an indigenist millenarian belief system in which adherents perform rituals which they believe will cause a more technologically advanced society to deliver goods." Such groups have been found in Pacific island nations that had fleeting contact with Allied soldiers and air drops of supplies during WWII. After the war ended, the cults arose to try to mimic the behavior and culture they encountered and lure back these peoples and their advanced technology. The indigenous people encountered strange cargo from a civilization they didn't understand, and then longed to replicate it or bring it back. Maybe William Orbit brought us strange cargo of his own, at the leading edge of the electronic music revolution in the 80s and 90s. He never left, but we've been trying to copy and mimic his seemingly futuristic and advanced aural aesthetic ever since. Unlike the cargo cults, who's benefactors and inspirations seemingly disappeared for a time, Orbit continued to be an active part of the cultural exchange, evolving with those he influenced. And at some point during that journey, he air dropped a third load of "Strange Cargo." However, I found myself not mythologizing, venerating, or deifying Orbit, but rather being thankful that his influence fueled a continuous evolution through artists whose work I find better.

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Thu Nov 18 2021
3

If you google 'Strange Cargo' it takes you pages of results for a movie staring Clark Gable from 1940. This alone may give you some insight into how awesome this album is. Despite that, this was far better than I thought it would be, and much better than the album art is. It's important to note that there are at least three Strange Cargo albums, the second I started listening to by mistake and it was a mistake. I should've eaten a sprig of Parsley after listening to SC2, or at least dusted my ears with it. I honestly didn't mind spending time with this. Though since 1993, the robots have taken over the world and today, this music is ubiquitous. It's absolutely something my daughter would splice into her YouTube videos. I blame the machines. At one point SC3 was avant garde and exciting, but time moves on...

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