By: Ron Hart
Back when rave culture hit its mid-90s crescendo, Beth Orton was known as the ethereal voice who added a calm nuance to kinetic dance tracks by the Chemical Brothers and William Orbit. That is, however, until she released her second solo album, Trailer Park (1996), which is commonly mistaken as her debut due to the fact that her largely overlooked first album, Superpinkymandy (1993), was only released in Japan and since disregarded by Orton herself. By fusing her roots in British folk with her love for the London rave scene, her '96 breakthrough album is often cited as a cornerstone of the 'folktronica' movement, though it's certain that neither Orton nor most anyone with any kind of decent taste in music would ever use that deplorable term in passing. Her fusion of elements works to perfection on tracks like "Don't Need A Reason" and the epic 10-minute space jam "Galaxy of Emptiness."
In celebration of its 13th anniversary, the release of this Legacy Edition (released March 10 on Heavenly/Arista-Legacy) casts the spotlight on what many folks feel remains Orton's single greatest album, although she has since released a string of successful, challenging works in collaboration with the likes of Four Tet (2002's Daybreaker) and Jim O'Rourke (2006's underrated Comfort of Strangers) over the course of this past decade. The Legacy Edition of Trailer Park features a wealth of bonus material including exquisite live versions of "Galaxy Of Emptiness" and "Touch Me With Your Love," along with early recordings of key cuts like "Demons" and "Best Bits." Also featured on the second disc is Orton's celebrated 1997 Best Bit EP, which features her stunning collaborations with the legendary Terry Callier on their stirring takes on Fred Neil's "Dolphins" and Callier's own "Lean On Me," both of which sound even more revelatory on this most essential reissue.
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