The Tale Behind Orbital and Their Track ‘Belfast’

Words: Dray Morgan

Belfast is one of the most iconic ambient club tunes that has ever existed. Those chilling vocals paired with the repetitive high-pitched notes, bore into your brain and create a strange sense of zen. Ahead of the pair headlining Beyond The Pale on 21 June, we wanted to delve into how such a pioneering track came to be named ‘Belfast’

22 March 1990

Orbital Chime Top Of The Pops

22 May 1990

Orbital Touch Down in Belfast

Renowned Belfast-born DJ David Holmes sees the duo’s performance and invites them to Belfast to play their ‘Space Base 4’ night at the art college. The ongoing troubles made Belfast a risky area for artists, with many refusing to play in the city. Orbital couldn’t refuse.

The Effect of Orbital on Belfast
Mid 1980s

Photos taken at Sugar Sweet in Belfast

1980s Belfast

How Belfast Youth Escaped The Troubles Through Raving

12 May 1990

Chime is Played in Belfast

Orbital played their track ‘Chime’ in Belfast and received such a shockingly positive reply, garnering their first encore ever and leaving a lasting impact on the artists and crowd.

13 May 1990

The David Holmes Tape

David Holmes asked if the group had any demo tapes. Paul and Phil gave him the demo to the then-unnamed ‘Belfast’ and he spent an entire day driving around the city listening to the song on repeat. They called up the brothers and told them how obsessed they were with the song.

The Effect of Belfast on Orbital