William Orbit

William Orbit (born on 15 December 1956 as William Mark Wainwright in Shoreditch, Hackney) is an English musician composer and record producer, perhaps best known to most for his work on Madonna's album Ray of Light, which received four Grammy Awards, sold 4 million copies in the US , and sold 20 million copies worldwide. He has also co-produced several unreleased Madonna songs originally recorded for other albums that were never used. In addition, he produced "13" by Blur, and remixed some of the songs on the album. More recently he has turned to orchestral compositions. He has three Grammy Awards.


In addition to being a producer, William is also a composer and multi-instrumentalist who has specialised in keyboard electronica and much of his work also features accomplished guitar and bass guitar playing. He has also recorded several largely instrumental solo albums under the name Strange Cargo which features vocals by Beth Orton, Laurie Mayer and Joe Frank, among others. "Water from a Vine Leaf" was a chart success from the album Strange Cargo 3. Prior to that he formed the group Torch Song, with Laurie Mayer, in the 1980s. At that time the band first developed Guerilla Studios in an abandoned school on the Harrow Road. They shared the premises with a group of Spanish anarchists and it became known as El Centro Iberico. They were later joined by a third member, Rico Conning.

Orbit was the musical force behind Bassomatic in the early 1990s. Their hit in 1990 was "Fascinating Rhythm".

He has also produced and remixed songs by numerous other artists, such as French pop star Étienne Daho. Along with producer Rico Conning they produced the Pop Satori album, Scottish act One Dove, and Seal. He also remixed Prince's #1 hit song movie tie-in, "Batdance", from Batman in 1989. Orbit's remixes carry his signature electronic sounds and techniques, making them sought after by fans of his solo work.

Orbit also produced a version of Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" (the original arrangement of which features as the main theme of the soundtrack to Platoon). Adagio was lifted from the successful album Pieces in a Modern Style which was a compilation of classical re-workings. Orbit's version of the track was itself remixed in 1999 by Ferry Corsten and became a big club music hit as well as reaching #4 in the UK Singles Chart.

He has worked with girl groups All Saints ("Pure Shores", "Black Coffee") and Sugababes and Pink ("Feel Good Time" from Charlie's Angels 2). He produced "Dice" for Finley Quaye in collaboration with Beth Orton; Quaye also played guitar and sang on Orbit's tracks including the unreleased 'Arioso' featuring Madonna.

Some of Orbit's remixes include the song "Electrical Storm" by U2 in the album The Best of 1990-2000. His remix is called "Electrical Storm (William Orbit Mix)." He has also worked with Swedish duo Roxette in the song "Entering Your Heart."

He founded Guerilla Records in 1989.

Orbit has also created several radio shows. In the late 1990s, he had a series on Los Angeles-based KCRW, called Stereo Odyssey.

Orbit's song, "Time To Get Wise" was used in the 2004 film What the Bleep Do We Know!?, and the song's title was used as a tag line for the film.

In 2005, Orbit's most recent album, Hello Waveforms was released on the Sanctuary label. Subsequently he produced two tracks — "Louise" and "Summertime" — for Robbie Williams' 2006 album, Rudebox. At this time, he also mixed several tracks on Laurie Mayer's most recent album, Black Lining.

In the fall of 2006, "Purdy," a track Orbit co-composed with Laurie Mayer and Rico Conning, was used as the soundtrack in a television ad campaign for H&M which starred Madonna and was directed by her and Dan Cadan.

In 2007, Orbit composed his first orchestral suite for a full orchestra. The composition was performed for the first time on July 8, 2007, by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in the Bridgewater Hall at the Manchester International Festival.

He sometimes deejays at Circus at the Soho Revue Bar in Central London. He lives in North London and LA and has his office and studio in Hoxton Square, London.


More complete discographies can be found when exploring external links.

Torch Song

  • Wish Thing
  • Ecstasy
  • Exhibit A
  • Toward the Unknown Region


  • Set the Controls for the Heart of the Bass
  • Science & Melody


Equipment Used

Used on Madonna's Ray of Light:

Uses/Has Used:

  • Trident 80B Mixing Desk
  • Roland Dimension D Chorus
  • Yamaha SY-99 (on Torch Song's Into The Unknown Region)
  • Roland SH-101
  • Roland D-50 or Roland D-10 (has either used or used samples from; various jam loops are heard in Strange Cargo 2 and 3)

Used with Torch Song/Guerilla Studio in the 1980s:

Used in Torch Song's live performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1995:

various Roland drum-pads

External links

Recent Interview Links


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