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The Orb

From Academic Kids

The Orb is a British electronic music band known for pioneering the genre of ambient house.

Contents

History

The group was formed in 1988 by Dr. Alex Paterson (full name Duncan Robert Alex Paterson) and Jimmy Cauty (who had played in Brilliant with Youth and June Montana, and later gained fame as one half of The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu and The KLF with Echo & the Bunnymen's ex-manager Bill Drummond). The Orb's first release, the acid house anthem Tripping on Sunshine.

In May, 1989, the Orb released the Kiss EP, which was heavily influenced by New York's KISS FM. Paterson began DJing around London, England at this time when he met Paul Oakenfold. At Oakenfold's behest, Paterson began DJing at Land of Oz, the chill-out room at Heaven.

Paterson's mixed samples of BBC nature recordings, NASA space broadcasts and everything in between into the music of ambient pioneers such as Brian Eno. Around this time, Paterson met Steve Hillage and Hillage later contributed guitar to the Orb's Blue Room single. In return Paterson worked on Hillage's System 7 project.

In October, 1989 the Orb released the 22-minute single A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From the Centre of the Ultraworld, which contains large chunks of Minnie Riperton's Loving You. The single managed to reach the lower end of the UK chart. Although, Paterson and Cauty had been working on a debut album, the two split in April, 1990. Cauty removed Paterson's contributions to the album and released the remainder as Space.

Killing Joke's Youth, who'd recently found dancefloor success with Blue Pearl assisted with the single Little Fluffy Clouds, but existing commitments made it impossible for him to be anything more than a part-time member. In his place, Paterson recruited Kris Weston (aka Thrash), a young studio engineer who had worked on Little Fluffy Clouds and recently left Fortran 5.

In April, 1991, the Orb's debut album, Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld was released in England to critical acclaim. The double-album obtained a top 30 placing in the UK. U.F.Orb was released in July, 1992. It featured the 39-minute "Blue Room" which was their third single to reach the UK charts.

During 1993 and 1994 the Orb were dismayed by Big Life's intention to re-issue some of the Orb's earlier material. As a result, Paterson and Thrash opted out of their contract and Paterson signed an international deal with Chris Blackwell's Island Records. The double-album Live '93 soon followed. It was a mix of recordings made in Glastonbury, Copenhagen and Tokyo. The album's credits included, Simon Phillips, Nick Burton, Kris Weston, Fluff and of course Paterson.

In June, 1994, they released their first studio album for Island, Pomme Fritz (The Orb's Little Album). The album reached number six on the UK charts, but critics hated it, even comparing Paterson to Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett.

August, 1994 saw the release of a collaboration between Robert Fripp, Paterson, Weston, and Thomas Fehlmann, hence the name FFWD or Fripp, Fehlmann, Weston and Duncan. Weston's input was already diminishing by this time and following the release of FFWD, he finally parted company with Paterson. He was replaced by Thomas Fehlmann.

Orbus Terrarum was released in March, 1995. In February, 1997, following an ambitious world tour, they released Orblivion, which features Toxygene, a remix of a Jean-Michel Jarre single from Oxygene 7-13. Apparently, Jarre rejected it as being nothing like the original.

The retrospective double-album U.F.Off came in October, 1998. Cydonia, although recorded in 1999, was delayed by Island until its release in February, 2001. The album was leaked on the Net some time before the official release in a version that was slightly different.

In 2004, they released their seventh studio album, Bicycles & Tricycles, which strongly departs from their earlier ambient sound, incorporating strong hip-hop influenced rhythms, including rap on one of the tracks.

The Orb is not to be confused with Orbital, a similarly named band that has also been very influential in the realm of electronic music. To make matters more confusing, The Orb often did remixes of other artists' songs and called the result an "Orbital Mix". But these remixes have nothing to do with the band Orbital.

Contributors

Discography

Singles

  • Trippin' On Sunshine (1988)
  • Kiss EP (1989)
  • A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From the Centre of the Ultraworld (1990)
  • Little Fluffy Clouds (1990), UK #10 in 1993
  • Perpetual Dawn (1991), UK #61, In 1994 it reached #19
  • Blue Room (1992), UK #8
  • Assassin (1992), UK #12
  • Oxbow Lakes (1995), UK #38
  • Toxygene (1997), UK #4
  • Asylum (1997), UK #20
  • Once More (2001), UK #38
  • Kompassion EP (2003)
  • Komplott EP (2004)

Albums

Artists whose work has been remixed by The Orb

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