Monday, February 08, 2016

The Orb: 25 years old progressively renewable sound energy into the future

25 YEARS OLD The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’ classic album gets a timely vinyl reissue

by Ed Biggs

Marking pretty much the precise point at which dance music became epic, Alex Paterson turned an on-off DJing gig into a fully-fledging project with The Orb’s first studio album after years of EPs and singles. Sprawling over nearly two hours, The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld certainly doesn’t short change on the promise of its title. A continuous, progressive composition of ten tracks over four sections (‘Earth Orbit’, ‘Lunar Orbit’, ‘Ultraworld Probe’ and ‘Ultraworld’), the album and its signature song ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ did an awful lot to change the concept of what dance music could sound like, particularly in terms of mainstream perceptions.

The concepts of extended dancefloor remixes and sampling had of course been around for a long time, but there was something playfully subversive, eccentric and quintessentially English about what Paterson introduced with his music. The Orb started life in the rave scene, catering to ecstasy casualties in the chillout room at Paul Oakenfold’s ‘Land of Oz’ nights at Heaven in the late ‘80s. Quickly becoming celebrated for playing ambient, percussion-free sets that lasted for several hours, Paterson worked with partner-in-crime Jimmy Cauty, whom he met through a mutual friend in Killing Joke’s bassist Youth and who found fleeting superstardom with pop terrorists The KLF. - See more at