Music review: The Orb, History of the Future Part 2

Hot on the heels of their 25th anniversary, electronic cosmonauts The Orb return to Earth and take another look at what makes them such an enduring act.

This time they focus on their 21st century output which, if these album tracks, curios and rarities are anything to go by, is more than a match for their 90s heyday.

The familiar uplifting sound of tracks like ‘Vuja De’ is present and correct but it’s when the group add an undercurrent of gleeful malice to their sound that they truly stand out.

‘From A Distance’ and ‘Prime Evil’ stomp along relentlessly, using sinister synth swathes to drag the listener along some strange and unnerving tangents.

Elsewhere, ‘Battersea Bunches’ unfolds at a more leisurely pace, showing how The Orb have always been as capable of creating a minimalist ebb and flow as they have a towering wall of bass.

And in a nod to their reggae influences the group bring dub pioneer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry along for the ride, creating, in ‘Golden Clouds’, an updated interpretation of their best known hit, ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’.

While The Orb may be looking back, this collection shows how their future continues to offer many intriguing possibilities.

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