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. If these album tracks, curios and rarities are anything to go by, is more than a match for their 90s heyday. The familiarly uplifting sound of tracks like ‘Vuja De’ is present and correct. However, 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. Sinister synth swathes drag the listener along strange, unnerving tangents.
Elsewhere, ‘Battersea Bunches’ unfolds at a more leisurely pace. Here The Orb show their trademark dexterity as minimalist ebbs and flows co-exist alongside towering walls of bass.
And in a nod to their reggae influences, the group bring dub pioneer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry along for the ride. ‘Golden Clouds’, the updated interpretation of their best-known hit ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’, bookends a stellar career that traversed the cosmos and returned to its point of origin before blasting once more into the stratosphere.
While The Orb may be looking back, this collection shows how their future continues to offer many intriguing possibilities.
(Music Editor: Read our Orb live review, originally published in the Dorset Echo.)