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The Orb – Doughnuts Forever

Stream ‘Doughnuts Forever’ via YouTube above, Spotify and more here

On June 22nd Alex Paterson’s longstanding electronic titans The Orb present new album ‘No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds’, which as the title suggests finds them embracing an anything-goes new approach to creative freedom.

Refreshing and reinventing the predominantly two-man set up with Thomas Fehlmann on the prior two albums (‘Moonbuilding 2703 AD’ and ‘COW / Chill Out World!’), ‘No Sounds…’ is intentionally an ensemble piece, featuring a large cast of big names, cult heroes, rising talent and fresh newcomers.

Alex Paterson, Thomas Fehlmann, Youth, Roger Eno, Hollie Cook and Guy Pratt take star turns, as does heroic bassist Jah Wobble, who returns to the fold following the bassbin-bullying anthem ‘Blue Room’.

Additional supporting roles come from Gaudi, Roney FM and Michael Rendall, plus vocalists Brother Culture, Mary Pearce, Emma Gillespie, Rianna, and Andy Cain – who’s best known for voicing Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald’s deep house gems ‘I’m Your Brother’ and ‘A New Day’.

“I wanted to try something with more musicians and more voices. More contributors essentially – similar to the conditions our first album ‘Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’ were recorded in”, explains Alex.

“Thomas and I made two streamlined, techno-style albums for Kompakt which I love, but this time I wanted a change to expand the palate, and to bring in other elements that will keep people guessing and keep them confused.

This is a more English and less German sounding LP and it’s on an English label, although obviously the music comes from all over the globe and beyond, as do the musicians.”

Despite featuring a cheeky nod to their remix of Primal Scream’s ‘Higher Than The Sun’, vocal led opener ‘The End Of The Road’ makes it clear this is virgin territory. But despite new paths being forged, Paterson’s omnipresent humour remains on ‘I Wish I Had A Pretty Dog’’s animalistic rhythm – joined by tablas, strings, half speed beats and bass, which collide like planets in the cosmos.

Hollie Cook returns a favour following Alex’s production work on her ‘Vessel Of Love’ album, lending her vocals to the Battersea-referencing, classic dub house throbber ‘Rush Hill Road’, alongside Brother Culture.

The first of several tracks to feature Roney FM’s plummy, faux vintage BBC voice, ‘Pillow Fight At Shag Mountain’ is airy and bright like stratus on a clear day, bubbling in pleasing fashion through various styles and samples tethered by Wobble’s bass and Eno’s piano, somehow coalescing, making illogical logic in a way only The Orb can.

‘Isle Of Horns’ pares things down to a loping, dusty and organically-minimal piece that’s closer to the last two albums, yet works well as a subtler break from other more maximal moments herein.

Driven by Youth’s double bass, ‘Wolfbane’ is a lysergic romp through hip hop across the ages, from Run DMC to Dre to Dilla. It also withholds the anti-war stance expressed on ‘COW’, putting vintage nuclear threat back on the menu, thanks to Trump, Jong-un and Putin.

Paying homage to another or Alex’s faves is the boom bap of ‘Doughnuts Forever’, which swings from chilling, pensive atmosphere into reassuringly lush, 50s Hollywood strings and back again.

Featuring the singing and poetry of Rianna, the “small dittie” ‘Drift’ offers another pleasant moment of calm reflection, before“Wobble’s phenomenal bassline and Roger’s supreme piano” on ‘Easy On The Onions’ elevates the listener blissfully skywards above Bermondsey and “West Snorewood”.

‘Ununited States’ takes a darker but breathtaking turn, with Eno’s playing taking centre stage on what Alex claims is “how the new ‘Blade Runner’ score should’ve sounded” – and it’s hard to disagree.

Ending the album on majestic form (and also mirroring ‘Ultraworld’’s lengthy closer ‘A Huge Evergrowing Pulsating Brain…’)  is the 15 minute classic opus ‘Soul Planet’, which finds the vocal axis between divas of house music and Pink Floyd’s ‘Great Gig In The Sky’. Disembodied voices float in a black hole, before an undulating throb cuts through the darkness, with layers of detail gradually building to a gentle euphoria, before drifting back into the darkness of space, with a lonely piano refrain.

Really The Orb should need no introduction by now, but in essence they’re a rotating cast of members helmed by Paterson that began in 1988 and still thrives to this day. They were there since UK acid house day one, providing a unique ambient take on the musical milieu and soon rising to chart-topping, huge-venue-headlining prominence. They’ve released 17 albums plus EPs, singles, compilations and live recordings, influencing countless other musicians along the way.

1. ‘The End of the End’
2. ‘Wish I Had a Pretty Dog’
3. ‘Rush Hill Road’
4. ‘Pillow Fight @ Shag Mountain’
5. ‘Isle of Horns’
6. ‘Wolfbane’
7. ‘Other Blue Worlds’
8. ‘Doughnuts Forever’
9. ‘Drift’
10. ‘Easy On the Onions’
11. ‘Ununited States’
12. ‘Soul Planet’

The Orb present ‘ORBFEST’ at the Roundhouse, London on Saturday 23rd June.

THE EGG & Greg Hunter (The Orb) – Horizons EP


The Egg are dance technicians – they play live rocktronic, funk and house inspired big textural dance music, using electronic and live instruments with video triggers, samples and live and vocodered vocals. Their music is influenced by everything around them and inspired by artists such as Pink Floyd, Funkadelic, DFA Records, New Order, Underworld, and the shoegazing/nu-gaze scene. – Think flirting with Air, ‘a nod to George Clinton and a wink at Primal Scream’

The band are well known on the UK festival circuit, but fit just as comfortably into the club scene and recently enjoyed a worldwide hit with the massive Tocadisco electro-house remix of their Air-like ‘Walking Away’ and the David Guetta bootleg of the same track that followed. They reached no.3 in the Uk charts, no.1 in Spain for 6 weeks, and enjoyed the biggest dance tune in the world overall in sales.

They have played throughout Europe, Australia and Brazil, and have recently been focusing on the USA where they completed their 6th US tour and 14th visit there in 2015. They were welcomed into the US Jam Band Scene populated by bands such as Phish, Lotus, Disco Biscuits, playing comfortably alongside the scene’s largest acts.

The band’s albums are all released in USA and their 4th studio album ‘Something to Do’ was released June 2012. produced by Robin Twelftree (Tosca, Reverso 68), Benji Vaughan (producer of Forwards(3rd album)) & Bruno Ellingham (producer of New Order, Goldfrapp, Mertz.). mixed by James Reynolds (Tinie Tempah).

The 1st single ‘Catch’ and featured remixes from Psychemagik, The C-90’s and Tom Laroye (Paris). They have worked with or been remixed by: Tocadisco, Mylo, David Guetta, Rollo (Faithless), Camille Jones, The Next Men, Fila Brazillia, Grand National, Dusty Kid, Ulrich Schnauss, Oliver Koletski, Atomic Hooligan, Greg Hunter (The Orb) & Currently working with producer Youth, John Monkman and recently recorded new music with Jah Wobble (P.I.L), Youth, Roger Eno, Klaxxons, Matt Black (coldcut)

Upcoming 5th album ‘Galactic Love Machine’ produced/ co written with Greg Hunter (The Orb, Dubsahara, Crowded House,) Due for release on loop de loop records will be out and promoted over the next 2/3 months. (CD and Vinyl)

A summer of fantastic gigs has brought the underground to anticipate new tunes Deep electronic House, and Floyd vibes, perfect for club scene and DJ ready, Horizons EP by the Egg and Greg Hunter, is out soon, with ‘The Sun is flat’, ‘The Earth is round’ , ‘Psyfunk’(bonus from psyfunk ep), remixes and ‘The sun is flat’ live.

The Orb – COW / Chill Out, World! LP


The duo known for their genre-bending curiosity and surprising sonic detours, that explore experimental soundscapes as well as club-friendly beats, legendary and celebrated ambient kingpins, The Orb, premiere their 16th album, “COW / Chill Out, World!” this week via The Vinyl Factory, offering the LP as a free stream before it’s release on Kompakt this Friday, October 14.

In support of the LP release, The Orb kick off the first leg of their North American tour on October 19, which sees them bringing their critically aclaimed live shows to both the east and west coasts. A performance The Times gives a four star review saying, “Less a ‘gig’, more of a happening with a sense of vast sonic irreverence.”

The duo comprised of accomplished soundsmiths Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann are also celebrating the 25th Anniversary of their seiminal debut album ‘Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld.” US audiences are in for a rare treat as they’ll perform their greatest hits and select songs from the forthcoming “Chill Out, World!’

Dates include NYC’s Webster Hall, Atlanta’s Variety Playhouse, and San Francisco’s Pier 70, where the duo close out their tour aboard the Ghost Ship Halloween event on 10/29 alongside co-headliners DJ Dan and Mutaytor.

Featuring only the occasional presence of buoyant, gently rhythmic pulses and loops, Alex Paterson describes COW as “Our most ambient album yet”. Sounds bubble, flutter and float through various atmospheres and moods, from bucolic and picturesque, childlike wonderment, the texture of bygone memories, to the universe’s infinite depth.

Pre-order here.

The Orb – COW / Chill Out, World! LP

the orb.jpg

On October 14th Kompakt present The Orb’s 16th album, COW / Chill Out, World!, which marks a creative renewal for the duo. It also features contributions from Youth and Roger Eno, and is encased in minimal ‘ambient cover art’ courtesy of The Designers Republic.

Despite apparently clear connotations to their history, influences and peers (like Alex Paterson’s uncredited role in the KLF’s ‘Chill Out’ album, or the cover cows of Pink Floyds ‘Atom Heart Mother’), the album’s title is actually an instruction, or at least a friendly suggestion. Whilst Alex calls it “a protest album in reverse”, Thomas Fehlmann further explains, “We didn’t intend to rehash old chill out vibes. On the contrary. It’s the 21st century and it seems like a good idea for people to sit back and chill the fuck out, before continuing to act destructively. To chill out is to act consciously, guided from a calm centre.”

Featuring only the occasional presence of buoyant, gently rhythmic pulses and loops, Alex Paterson describes COW as “Our most ambient album yet”. Sounds bubble, flutter and float through various atmospheres and moods, from bucolic and picturesque, childlike wonderment, the texture of bygone memories, to the universe’s infinite depth.

COW’s creation came together in different circumstances with a different working method to their last album. As ‘Moonbuilding 2703 AD’ was originally commissioned by the English National Opera, the duo immersed themselves in that new world and maintained a close, continuous dialogue with the opera’s orchestrator and technicians. The production fell through due to budget cuts and the recordings were then adapted for album format, hence its 6 year gestation period.

COW on the other hand, took just 6 months to make. One of main reasons for its speedy completion was Alex’s recording of sounds whilst touring the world, straight to Ableton, using his iPhone. Field recordings were easily captured, whilst the countless hours of ‘downtime’ travelling, or at sound-checks became valuable moments for spontaneous creative laptop productivity.

Fehlmann also sees the duo’s relentless live schedule as a formative influence. “The countless gigs we’ve played in recent years – probably up to 300 – have brought us closer as a musical unit. Our concerts consist mostly of non-verbal communication and improvisation – a fertile process that we’ve brought to the studio, where we operate with very simple rules of engagement (in this case ‘ambient’) and go wherever the flow takes us.” It’s an approach that one might expect from traditional acoustic instrumentation, not necessarily an electronic set-up, but for The Orb it works wonders. “We’re quite happy and a little bit proud that we’ve reached this level of unscripted levity with purely electronic means. We’re finessing ourselves, sort of, always looking for the next sonic surprise that leaves us rubbing our eyes about how the heck we got there.”

“COW / Chill Out, World! is an off the cuff, immediate album”, adds Thomas. “We produced it in the span of half a year, trusted our first instincts and allowed the ideas flow freely. We’ve gained self confidence in our continuous search for surprises, and in many ways it’s a naivety we’ve found again, that lets us treat each tune as if it were the first.”

To highlight Fehlmann’s point, the modern ambience of ‘4AM Exhale’ (Chill Out, World!) has an innocently optimistic mood, with distant fragmented soul samples also creating a warmly reassuring sense of nostalgia. A weightless J Dilla orbits from afar too, his influence like the flickering light from a distant star, on both this track and the subsequent ‘5th Dimensions’.

“Making the album became so natural for us that a track like ‘9 Elms Over River Eno (Channel 9)’ consisted only of material collected at North Carolina’s Moogfest in May – second-hand records from local stores, found sounds, live samples from gigs that we liked, and of course an excursion to the Eno river, which actually exists”, recalls Alex. “I discovered it on Google maps, whilst looking for somewhere to chill out. The name stood out, for orbvious reasons! This geographic intimacy and spontaneity are among the top reasons why we love this album.”

Paterson and Thomas’ ability to work in a simple, efficient and simpatico way was then used as a strong creative base upon which they added additional colouration by bringing occasional Orb member Youth on board, who then hooked the pair up with acclaimed composer Roger ‘Reverend’ Eno.

Laden with samples played backwards, a planet sized bass tone and piano, Eno’s first appearance is on The Satie-esque ‘Wireless MK2’ which is, Alex explains “a nod to my dad, who worked for Cable and Wireless and helped build the Telstar satellite”, whilst the track’s “jazzy trumpet” Paterson adds, “is a reference to the jazz bar in Fulham where my Mum and Dad met.”

Eno appears again on ‘The 10 Sultans Of Rudyard’ (Moo Moo Mix), which plays with familiar, ambient staples and new ‘post classical’ elements. Sounding refreshed but classic, innocent but deep and extemporaneous, but beautifully crafted, COW finds The Orb at their most stunning and transcendent peak to date.

The Orb – History Of The Future Part 2 LP

the orb

The Orb’s often criminally overlooked but wildly creative 21st century catalogue is highlighted on ‘History Of The Future Part 2’, released by Malicious Damage on February 16th 2015.

This collection serves as a comprehensive, second closing compendium on the Orb’s illustrious history, before focus moves to their new album, planned for release on Kompakt during summer 2015.

‘History Of The Future Part 2’ starts after Alex Paterson left his major label experience with Island Records behind him and struck into the new millennium with different record labels, new and old collaborators and a volley of sonic experiments which, while retaining the essential Orb ethos, charted new stratas while returning to the underground which spawned it.

While casual attention often seems to fall on early Orb hits such as ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ and ‘Blue Room’, the 21st century saw the fullest realisations of Alex Paterson’s original Orb mission. Having said that, the set kicks off with ‘Suck My Kiss’ from 1989’s ‘The Kiss EP’ – the Orb’s formative first steps, homaging the New York radio station which so influenced their early days.

After this primitive birth holler, the set catapults into the new century and 2002’s bold label venture, which saw Alex presaging internet fever with a Battersea cottage industry independent, releasing limited 12-inch EPs by The Orb and his mates, along with tasty t-shirts and coffee mugs. The Orb’s ‘I Am The Red Worm’ represents this idealistic but short-lived little venture here.

Several tracks are drawn from The Orb’s time with respected German electronic label Kompakt, when Alex and long-time collaborator Thomas Fehlmann released several low-key EPs and 2004’s acclaimed ‘Okie Dokey It’s The Orb On Kompakt’ album, which saw the pair mining deeper new electronic terrain with a more minimal manifesto.

That year also saw The Orb start a relationship with Cooking Vinyl, resulting in 2004‘s ‘Bicycles & Tricycles’ (with additional co-writing by Simon Philips and John Roome) plus 2008’s towering bass-fest ‘The Dream’, which saw Alex reunited with original partner-in-aural-mischief Youth plus Dreadzone’s Tim Bran. These two albums are represented by tracks including ‘Aftermath’, ‘Prime Evil’, ‘Gee Strings’, ‘The Truth Is…’, ‘Let The Music Set You Free’, ‘From A Distance’ (co-written with Jimmy Cauty) and ‘Vuja De’.

Throughout this century Alex’s sessions with Thomas Fehlmann at his Berlin studio have continued to throw up richly-textured electronic explorations and soundscapes which take the original Orb blueprint far into the future. Such a work (also represented here) was 2009’s criminally overlooked ‘Baghdad Batteries (Orbsessions Volume III)’, released on the long-running UK imprint Malicious Damage (which first released Killing Joke in the late 70s).

2012 saw the duo’s monumental sessions in Berlin with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, resulting in ‘The Observer In The Star House’ (including a the reggae legend’s own take on an early version of ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ to make ‘Golden Clouds’) and the following year’s sequel ‘More Tales From The Orbservatory’, whose ‘Fussball’ appears in its Deadbeat remix incarnation.

The set also includes the 17 minute ‘Battersea Bunches’ created by Alex and Thomas as the soundtrack to a short movie by Paterson and Malicious Damage’s Mike Coles, shown at Battersea Power Station in June 2010 (and released the following year as ‘C Batter C CD/DVD’).

The Orb’s spaced odyssey since the 90s hits period was, in many ways, more exciting, innovative and even fun now the pressure was off and the real mischief could start. But the last 15 years have also seen some magnificently ground-breaking music, as beautifully displayed in this sparkling new collection. Bass is the place.

Stream Thomas Fehlman’s edit of Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer remix of ‘Soulman’ below.


DISC 1: north side/fire
01 Suck My Kiss (4:27)
02 I Am The Red Worm (5:24)
03 The Truth Is… (6:46)
04 Aftermath (4:42)
05 Prime Evil (5:16)
06 Eurofen (4:45)
07 Let The Music Set You Free (7:04)
08 From A Distance [Blast Master vs The Corpral] (3:57)
09 D.D.D [Dirty Disco Dub] Unite 1 (Mad Orb) (4:58)
10 Vuja De (5:47)
11 Sail (6:01)
12 Codes (8:15)
13 Apple Tree [Abacus Remix] (8:50)
14 The Orbots Surround The Trojan Horse (0:59)

DISC 2: west side/earth
01 Gee Strings (6:44)
02 Cool Harbour (5:14)
03 Ripples (5:53)
04 Super Soakers (8:44)
05 Pebbles (1:10)
06 Captain Korma (4:15)
07 Baghdad Batteries (5:11)
08 Dolly Unit FLOWING Remix (8:53) previously only available on vinyl
09 Battersea Bunches Original Soundtrack (17:30)
10 OOPA (6:14)
11 Shem (4:28)
12 Shem Version (4:37)

DISC 3: south side/water
01 Chuck’s Peaks (9:25) previously only available on vinyl
02 Dilmun (4:01)
03 Tower Twenty Three [Spud vs. Kreature Mix] (6:36)
04 D.A.D.O.E.S. (9:09)
05 Angel 4 Matrix (3:38)
06 Falkenbrueck (3:34)
07 Edelgrun (5:56)
08 Glen Coe (4:56)
09 Traumvogel (6:27)
10 Golden Clouds OICHO Remix (4:42)
11 Soulman VILLOD Remix tf edit (6:30) previously unavailable
12 Ball Of Fire DABRYE Remix (4:15)
13 Fussball [DEADBEAT’s Champions League Dub] (8:02) previously only available on vinyl

DISC 4: east side/wind (DVD)
01 Golden Clouds Promo (4:00)
02 Brixton To Harrow Promo [David Harrow remix] (4:37)
03 Baghdad Batteries Launch Night (1:44) previously unseen
04 Fussball Promo (3:30)
05 Cool Harbour Promo (3:22)
06 From A Distance The Orb vs Gøg [Featuring The Elements] Promo (3:55)
07 Dolly Unit Promo (5:08)
08 Nocturnal Bunch Promo [Nocturnal Sunshine remix] (4:02)
09 Soulman Promo (4:10)
10 Jam On Your Honey [Moshino VJ Clips] (6:32) previously unseen
11 Sinner’s Day Live Gig, Hasselt, Belgium (29.53) previously unseen