Some of the more prominent motifs in The Orb's work are outer space and science fiction, including alien visitations, space flight, and mind control. These have included their use of samples from serious sources such as NASA transmissions to comedic clips from films like Woody Allen's Sleeper. U.F.Orb especially expressed a fascination with alien life with its bizarre sound samples and in the album's title itself. Here today, the set the Peel set that ignited their career, as well as two trippy remix albums... N'Joy
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Alex Paterson began his music career in the early 1980s as a roadie for the post-punk rock band Killing Joke, for whom his childhood friend Martin "Youth" Glover played bass. After leaving Killing Joke in 1986, Paterson met future KLF member Jimmy Cauty and the duo began DJ-ing and producing music together under the name The Orb. Paterson and Cauty's first release was a 1988 acid house anthem track, "Tripping on Sunshine". Paterson and Cauty began DJ-ing in London and landed a deal for The Orb to play the chill out room at London nightclub Heaven. Resident DJ Paul Oakenfold brought in the duo specifically as ambient DJs for his "The Land of Oz" event at Heaven. Their "Chill Out Room" act grew popular over the course of their six month stay to the point that the small room was often packed with around 100 people(weary DJs and clubbers seeking solace from the loud, rhythmic music of the dancefloor).
Throughout 1989, The Orb, along with Martin Glover, developed the musical genre of ambient house through the use of a diverse array of samples and recordings. The culmination of their musical work came towards the end of the year when The Orb recorded a session for John Peel on BBC Radio 1. The track, then known as "Loving You", was largely improvisational and featured a wealth of sound effects and samples from science fiction radio plays, nature sounds, and Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You". For its release as a single on record label Big Life, The Orb changed the title to "A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld".
In 1990, Paterson and Cauty held several recording sessions at Cauty's studio, Trancentral. When offered an album deal by Big Life, The Orb found themselves at a crossroads: Cauty preferred that The Orb release their music through his KLF Communications label, whereas Paterson wanted to ensure that The Orb did not become a side-project of The KLF.[Due to these issues, Cauty and Paterson split in April 1990, with Paterson keeping the name The Orb. As a result of the break-up, Cauty removed Paterson's contributions from the in-progress recordings and released the album as Space on KLF Communications. Also out of these sessions came The KLF album Chill Out, on which Paterson appeared in an uncredited role. Following the split, Paterson began working with Youth on the track "Little Fluffy Clouds". They incorporated samples from Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint and vocal clips from an interview with Rickie Lee Jones in which she recalls picturesque images from her childhood.While Reich was flattered by The Orb's use of his work, Jones pursued the issue in the legal system.
In 1991, Paterson invited energetic studio engineer Kris "Thrash" Weston to join The Orb. Steve Hillage, whom Patterson had met while DJ-ing in London, also joined as a contributing guitarist. Along with producer Thomas Fehlmann and audio engineer Andy Falconer, The Orb completed several additional tracks for their first album. The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld sold well in the UK and received praise for its balance of ambient music, house music, and sampling. In late 1991 and early 1992, Paterson and Weston wrote their next single, "Blue Room". Assisting with the recording was bassist Jah Wobble, keyboardist Miquette Giraudy, and guitarist Hillage. Despite its playing time of almost 40 minutes, "Blue Room" entered the UK charts at #12 and peaked at #8, making it the longest track to reach the UK singles chart. In July 1992, U.F.Orb was released featuring "Blue Room", it reached #1 on the UK Albums Chart to the shock of critics, who were surprised that fans had embraced what journalists, noticing Steve Hillage, considered to be progressive rock.
Disagreements with their label , Big Life, led to signing to Island where they released a life album, Live 93, which gathered highlights from The Orb's recent performances in Europe and Asia. The Orb's first studio production on Island Records was Pomme Fritz, a chaotic EP noted for its heavy use of strange samples and its lack of conventional harmonies, the critics panned it as "doodling". Soon after, Paterson, Weston, and Thomas Fehlmann joined with Robert Fripp to form the group FFWD as a side project. FFWD released a single self-titled album on Paterson's Inter-Modo label, which Fehlmann later described as "an Orb track which became so long that it became a whole album!". Following Weston's departure from The Orb, Thomas Fehlmann joined as a full-time studio member, though he would not always participate in live performances. Paterson, Hughes, and Fehlmann then finished producing the album Orbus Terrarum, on which Paterson and Weston had been working. Orbus Terrarum, released in 1995, featured more "earthbound" and "organic" sounds than their previous trippy science fiction themed music.
After a long world tour, The Orb, with Andy Hughes and Steve Hillage, settled down to produce their next album, Orblivion—the process of which saw a return to their spacy sounds. Though Orblivion was recorded in May 1996, it was not released until almost a year later, the first single, "Toxygene", was the highest charting single by The Orb, reaching #4 in the UK. Paterson and Fehlmann, wrote and produced Cydonia for a planned 1999 release. Paterson felt that this new direction of songwriting for The Orb was more similar to the experimental work of Orbus Terrarum than to the techno-pop of Orblivion. As Island Records was in a period of restructuring due to its recent purchase by Universal Music Group, Cydonia was not released until 2001. It was not well recieved, the UK press regarded them as past their prime and an "ambient dinosaur" out of place in the current dance music environment.
Paterson and Fehlmann chose to make their next releases a series of several low-key EPs for German label Kompakt in 2002.these were were well recieved and released later, slightly remixed on the 2005 Okie Dokie album . The Orb continued to use their odd synthetic sounds on 2004's Bicycles & Tricycles, to mixed reviews. Like Cydonia, Bicycles & Tricycles featured vocals, including female rapper MC Soom-T who added a hip hop twist to the album.The Orb left Island Records and released the album on Cooking Vinyl . After two more EPs on Kompakt, The Orb (now composed of only Paterson and Fehlmann) released Okie Dokie It's The Orb on Kompakt, which featured new material in addition to tweaked versions of their previous Kompakt output. In August 2006, the founders of The Orb - Paterson and Cauty - released Living in a Giant Candle Winking at God, their debut album as the Transit Kings with Guy Pratt and Pratt's associate, Dom Beken. Living had been in production since 2001, but due to members' other obligations, it was delayed for several years. The album received mix critical reactions, soon after the album's release, Cauty left the Transit Kings on "extended leave", leaving the project in indefinite limbo.
The Orb's next studio album, The Dream was released in Japan in 2007 and the following year in the United States and United Kingdom. Fehlmann is absent on The Dream and Paterson was instead reunited with Martin Glover and joined by Tim Bran of Dreadzone. The album features more of a return to The Orb's sounds of the early 1990s, with peculiar vocals and playful samples. In May 2009, the British Malicious Damage Records (run by the members of Killing Joke) announced the release of The Orb's ninth regular studio album Baghdad Batteries (Orbsessions Volume III) on 11 September 2009. A reunification of Paterson and his long-term collaborator Thomas Fehlmann. In the summer of 2010 Alex Paterson teamed up with Youth aka Martin Glover to compile a retrospective compilation album of tracks from the WAU! Mr Modo label. Released on CD and double Vinyl on 25 October 2010 via Year Zero records, the same month The Orb released the Metallic Spheres album, featuring David Gilmour (Pink Floyd). In 2012, The Orb teamed with award-winning dub musician, Lee "Scratch" Perry to produce a reggae-infused album titled "The Observer In The Star House", which was recorded in Berlin over a period of several months and features the single "Golden Clouds", it was followed one year later with another Lee Perry co production More Tales From The Orbservatory.
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It's fair to say that the Orb never would have reached the British pop Top 40 without the influence and promotion of John Peel, who sponsored three sessions between 1989 and 1995. (There have also been two additional dates for other presenters.) Peel, a veteran of the late-'60s British music scene, appreciated the Orb's blend of futurism and folky traditionalism, seeing them not just as dance saviors but another dot in the line that connected pixilated popsters like T. Rex and the Incredible String Band (both of which Peel had been closely associated with). the Orb's first session was recorded in 1989, well before they had released an album, and it boosted the popularity of both the group and the ambient house phenomenon immeasurably. Although Peel's attention helped, a lot of excitement surrounded the music itself, a gorgeous tableau of music laced with samples taken from Dr. Alex Paterson's immense kit bag of records, including sound effects and obscure instructional records. The only "track" recorded at the first session was the 20-minute "A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Underworld" (mixed live on the fly in the studio by then-Orbster Jimmy Cauty), and it became one of the most requested Peel Sessions of the time as well as reaching the Top Ten of Peel's annual Festive 50 countdown. the Orb were back several times, including one year later with versions of debut LP material like "Back Side of the Moon" and "Into the 4th Dimension."
The Orb - Peel Sessions (259mb)
01 A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Loving You) (Mixed By – Jimi Cauty) 20:15
02 Back Side Of The Moon (Tranquility Lunar Orbit) 11:25
03 Into The Fourth Dimension (Essenes In Starlight) 10:59
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Pomme Fritz is a 1994 EP by The Orb. It was The Orb's first studio production released on Island Records. Pomme Fritz is a chaotic EP which Rolling Stone described as an "aural feast" despite its "lack of cohesion" and direction. Though Pomme Fritz reached as high as #6 on the UK charts, UK critics panned it as "doodling" and noted its absence of focus.
The commercial and artistic peak of the ambient-house movement, U.F.Orb strides past the debut with more periods of free-form ambience and less reliance on a standard 4/4 beat. From the opening "O.O.B.E." through the bass-heavy gait of "Blue Room" and "Towers of Dub," the flow is more natural and ranges farther than most would have expected. The bevy of contributors (including Steve Hillage, Jah Wobble, Youth, Thomas Fehlmann, and Slam) never threatens to overload the proceedings, though the minimalist sampling of Ultraworld is replaced by a production focus much more dense and busy, especially on the "rain forest on Saturn" ethno-ambience of "Close Encounters." Elsewhere, Paterson maintains his fascination with the earthy dub basslines of Mad Professor and Lee Perry, even while he's indulging in flights of fancy indebted to Sun Ra.
The Orb - U.F.Orbit Two: Remixes (429mb)
01 O.O.B.E. (Andy Hughes Mix) 11:58
02 Towers Of Dub (Ambient Mix) 10:14
03 Blue Room (Ambient At Mark Angelo's Mix) 8:57
04 Close Encounters (Ambient Mix 1) 12:49
05 Majestic (Mix 1) 11:52
06 Assassin (Chocolate Hills Of Bohol Mix) 14:37
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Pomme Fritz The Remixes are absolutely fantastic. It really makes you understand and appreciate what the Orb were trying to do when they first released Pomme Fritz. Instead of throwing out a bunch of the same noises you had heard in their previous two albums, they mixed it up and challenged the listener with a more aggressive sound. This remixes disc proves that they still had the same tricks up their sleeve as when they recorded the first two lp's as disc 2 could easily be a different album all by itself. Disc 2 is the album that most Orb fans at the time were expecting, and to hear it after all this time is really cool. That early 90's Orb sound is all here in the second disc, complete with dubtastic grooves and downtempo beats, accompanied with spacey samples and atmospheric noises.
The Orb - Pomme Fritz The Remixes (326mb)
01 Sausage Tats Mit Gravy (Dom Mix #1) 11:33
02 Star Twister (Pomme Fritz & Apple Sauce Mix) 6:34
03 Potato Fields Of Electric Gliding Blue (Ambient Mix) 10:58
04 Eastern Hot Dogs In Gardens Of Dub (LX Mix) 11:22
05 Wrapped With Salt & Vinegar (Thomas Fehlmann Mix) 10:15
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