Listening to Orbital is like going to a wine tasting. It's fun, each offering has subtilely different effects, and if you don't take notes it's hard to remember which ones you liked or disliked, much less why.
The Blue Album has a minimalist approach to liner notes. Other than a track list and the required credits, it's got a pretty picture on the cover and that's about it--A hydrogen atom's electron orbit but no notes. In some ways that's too bad, because I would have liked to know more about how they chose the songs for this album.
The CD has been marketed as the last one they would release prior to the band's breakup. If the CD were broken into sides, the first side would be almost a different record from the second. It's not clear to me if there was a planned divergence at track 5 or if they just used the material available to them to get the record out. It would also be interesting to know which tracks they worked on prior to their decision to split.
The first half of the disc really is where I think it's weakest. While "Pants" and "Tunnel Vision" and "Lost" are marginally different from each other, they seem repetitive. The tracks start with that nice Orbital layering sound effect, where sounds build upon each other in an scheduled regimen of construction and deconstruction that really shows off the musical underpinnings of the work. If it had more variety or stretched in different directions, it would be great. As it is, I don't really care or notice which of the songs I'm listening to. I don't imagine listeners choosing one of these songs over any of the others.
The second half is a departure from the first and (if you're still with the brothers Hartnoll at this point) where you'll find yourself rewarded with the best and worst tracks on the album. It's too bad it takes so long to get started, but the meat is there.