The Visitor

Dr Alex Paterson of The Orb has been doing a short dj tour recently, playing small venues, promising a smattering of Orb tunes in his set. I went to Night And Day last Thursday night to see him. There can’t have been more than 40 or 50 people there, several of them middle aged men on their own (like me). It was good fun, Alex playing Perpetual Dawn (Ultrabass II),  Little Fluffy Clouds and A Huge Evergrowing Brain…., dropping in all sorts of stuff and mixing parts of the songs in and out. Little Fluffy Clouds breaking down briefly into God Only Knows, that sort of thing. The dancefloor got busy fairly quickly and stayed that way until the end (an early curfew of 10.45). Good fun.

The Orb are blessed/cursed with an array of bootlegs, demos and alternative versions and mixes. This track, dreamy ambient dub starting out at NASA mission control, came on The Best Of Volume- Wasted and is also on a bootleg album called The Visitor.

Reefer Spin In The Galaxy

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A Trip In A Flying Saucer

Just after Christmas I posted a half hour mix by Martin ‘Youth’ Glover, Joy Division versus Basement 5 combined in a mix for the longest night,  intense and full of dread. This one, A Trip In A Flying Saucer (Maya Jane Coles v Killing Joke In Dub) is a 30 minute mix more suited to Sunday mornings. A hypnotic, rolling groove, plenty of dub production and the vocals of Maya Jane Coles woven in and out. Given the laid back nature of this and some of the sounds within it, it is no surprise to find out that Alex Paterson was involved in the record selection in the studio.

Janis Joplin’s Mum

Above, left to right- Seth, Janis and Dorothy Joplin.

An obscure oddity for Wednesday from the combined talents of Alex Paterson and Nina Walsh, united as Rootmasters. It came out as part of an Orb compilation called The Orb Presents Tundra And Snowflakes (for a Russian label and bar, Ketama),  a double album containing all sorts of oddities, rarities, cast offs and wastrels. The track came out originally on a Rootmasters e.p. from 2007 called Push Once.

What’s it like? It’s a beguiling piece of spooky, downtempo music, full of echo, crackle and hiss, built around a descending chord pattern. A sampled voice instructing us to open our eyes. Doors creak open and shut, accompanied by eastern instruments. Occasionally Nina’s voice surfaces singing ‘only the good die young’. Then it fades out again. More crackle.

Janis Joplin’s Mum

Higher

Last weekend BBC4 showed the Screamadelica classic album programme, an hour long celebration of 1991’s best album with contributions from many of those involved. One of the discussion points was whether Higher Than The Sun should be on the album in its edited or 12″ form, shorter or longer. Andrew Innes went for the shorter one for the sake of the flow of the record and everyone agreed this was right, with the proviso that the 12″ was the one for full tripped out enjoyment. Alex Paterson, who produced it as The Orb, reckons along with Little Fluffy Clouds it is the best thing he’s done. But there’s also another version of Higher Than The Sun, which goes further, a little bit longer, a little but higher, a little bit further out…

Higher Than The Sun (Higher Than The Kite)

O Je Suis Seul

Here’s another ‘I was looking for that but then I found this’ post. I was looking for an mp3 of West Bam’s Alarm Clock and couldn’t find it so did a search for ‘West’ and this came up- West India Company’s O Je Suis Seul (remixed in 1989 by Andrew Weatherall and on the flipside by Weatherall with Alex Paterson). I wasn’t intending to do another Weatherall related post so soon after the previous one but it’s a go-with-the-flow time of year right now.

West India Company were an interesting mix of people, including Vince Clarke (from Depeche Mode, Yazoo and Erasure, above left), Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe (from Blancmange, above centre and right respectively) and the legendary Indian singer Asha Bhosle, and they set about making synth pop with Indian rhythms and instruments in the mid 80s. By ’89 they were heading housewards. Weatherall and Paterson lived in neighbouring flats in Battersea and presumably they crossed paths somewhere. The Bhagwan Boogie Mix is a chuggy ambient house tune, peppered with Indian percussion and has an appearance of that ‘Yep, I know that feeling’ sample which Weatherall would re-use on Screamadelica. The Orient Express Mix is a bit more abstract and disembodied, more Orb-like in fact.

O Je Suis Seul (Bhagwan Boogie Mix)

O Je Suis Seul (Orient Express Mix)