Live review: The Orb, Bridport Electric Palace

Originally published in the Dorset Echo.

Ravers young and old had much to celebrate this evening as The Orb brought their 25th Anniversary tour to Bridport. The ambient house pioneers have been exploring the stratosphere since 1988, and tonight they again hit the heights with a joyous blend of timeless tunes, irreverent samples and surreal visuals.

From the off they’re in complete control, allowing opener Spanish Castles In Space’s celestial synth washes to ebb and flow for nearly 15 minutes before a beat finally kicks in.

For the next two hours, they produce an immersive set that sees huge peaks being tempered with mellower, reggae-infused grooves.

Read more: Elemental Force: Seeing Mount Lokon Up Close and Personal.

Never content to stand still, they take their back catalogue and remould it, shooting slabs of dub bass and electro throb through classics like The Blue Room, Towers of Dub and UF Orb.

These hard edges give their material a directness that keeps the music exciting and offers the dance floor plenty to work with.

And in a final flurry, Little Fluffy Clouds is reborn with a techno bounce that takes the song into a euphoric new orbit, showing they’ve learnt a thing or two about subtlety and dynamics over the decades.

Come the end of a triumphant show, it’s clear The Orb still have a lot to offer.

Here’s to the next quarter century.

(Image courtesy of Steve Belasco.)


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