THE ORB WEEK (7)

Last one on The Orb week. And it’s 2001’s “Once More”. I wasn’t going to have anything after the millennium but this release included a remix of “Little Fluffy Clouds” included in the first post of the week, so it rather rounds things off.

Though the Orb had released several hours of recordings and many remixes during its first three years of existence, the beginning of 1993 prompted a dry spell of over a year and a half. The problem wasn’t a lack of material; Paterson and Thrash continued to record, but Big Life Records had begun a controversial campaign to reissue several early singles. The Orb threatened to release no new material until the label promised to cease and desist, and negotiations stalled while the duo looked to opt out of their contract. In the meantime, Big Life spent 1993-1994 reissuing five CD singles and two other 12″ releases, including “Little Fluffy Clouds” (which hit the British Top Ten), “Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain,” and “Perpetual Dawn” (the second single from Ultraworld). Paterson finally signed an international deal with Island in 1993 and released the stopgap Live 93 later that year. The double-disc set — which hit number 23 in the album charts — included highlights from Orb appearances in Europe and Japan, and featured another clever dig at Pink Floyd: the cover has a large stuffed sheep suspended over a power station, à la Floyd’s Animals cover.

The Orb’s first studio release for Island appeared in June 1994. Pomme Fritz (a “little album”) was quite a departure from ambient house, the field that had since caught up with Paterson’s revolution of the late ’80s. The album has a schizophrenic quality that portrays the group caught between two worlds: the pastoral ambience of the first two albums and the harsher, almost industrial rhythms that the Orb were pushing forward. Pomme Fritz made number six on the British charts, but critics hated it, charging that Paterson had finally disappeared up his own arse. They even compared him to Pink Floyd’s own Syd Barrett, who masterminded the psychedelic classic Piper at the Gates of Dawn, but later slipped out of the band as the world’s first — and most popular — acid casualty.
Pomme Fritz was also a watershed in that the role of Kris Weston had diminished highly. Credited on Pomme Fritz only as an engineer, Weston did appear with Paterson on the August 1994 side project FFWD, the collaboration between Robert Fripp, Orb members Paterson and Weston, and Orb contributor Thomas Fehlmann (hence the name: Fripp, Fehlmann, Weston, and Doctor). By early 1995, Weston finally left the Orb to devote time to his own projects. Before the duo separated, however, they teamed for the Orb’s most famous live appearance: on a rave bill at Woodstock 2 with Orbital, Aphex Twin, and Deee-Lite.
Taking up the slack from Weston’s departure was Thomas Fehlmann. The Orb had previously remixed a single from his Sun Electric project, and most of Pomme Fritz was recorded at his Berlin studios. Finally, almost three years after U.F.Orb, the new and improved group released the Orb’s third studio LP, Orbus Terrarum. With a concept and a sound rooted firmly on terra firma, the album’s dense rhythms and return to natural samples heralded a turn away from the cosmic fascination within ambient house — which had been nurtured in large part by Ultraworld and U.F.Orb. During 1995, Paterson and Fehlmann mounted an ambitious world tour. After the release of a double-disc remix compilation, the Orb returned to the great beyond with the spacy sounds of 1997’s Orblivion. The retrospective U.F.Off followed in 1998, and though Paterson and company finished their fifth studio effort, Cydonia, soon after, Island delayed its release until the new millennium.
A shift in labels was in order, so 2004’s Bicycles & Tricycles found the Orb on Sanctuary. Working their next label change into the album title, Okie Dokie It’s the Orb on Kompakt appeared at the end of 2005, as did the rarities compilation Orb Sessions, Vol. 1, which was released by the Killing Joke-associated label Malicious Damage. The Dream, released in 2007 in England, featured a change of lineup; joining the Orb were Youth — last heard on the hit single “Little Fluffy Clouds” — and Dreadzone’s Tim Bran. The record appeared in 2008 on the American label Six Degrees. ~ John Bush, All Music Guide
And they’ve got a new album coming out soon.

The Orb – Once More (Bedrock Edit2)

The Orb – Once More (Mark Pritchard Mix)

The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds (Danny Tenaglia’s Detour Mix)  an extended mix never given a commercial release, I think

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~ by acidted on October 22, 2009.

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