Doughnuts Forever

The Orb have a new single out ahead of an album in June, titled Doughnuts Forever- which makes it seem a bit throwaway- and the track seemed a bit lightweight at first but repeated listens have revealed its charms. It works its magic slowly, bringing the bass in over piano chords, then heading into Avalanches territory.

The Orb are celebrating their 30th birthday this year, Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlman and whoever else they can get into the studio with them. For this album, No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds, Alex has brought together a stellar cast including Youth, Roger Eno, Hollie Cook and Jah Wobble all of which makes it look like it might be worth looking out for.

Personally I think doughnuts are overrated. Even Randy’s.

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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

January Mix

Early January. Well done if you actually know what day it is. My calendar tells me it’s Tuesday but you could tell me it was any day of the week and I’d probably believe you. Reality has a habit of snapping back in in early January- my commiserations if you’re back at work today.

This is a completely remixed version of Perpetual Dawn, done by The Orb themselves, for their 1991 remix album The Aubrey Mixes: The Ultraworld Excursion (the album was released and deleted on the same day). Starting out with a burst of noise and radio voices and turning down the reggae influences from the original mix, January Mix 3 transforms slowly, adding Gregorian chanting and finally gathering pace in the sixth minute, and ending with the screech of tyres. Good work Alex and Thrash, job done.

Perpetual Dawn (January Mix 3)

Toxygene

The Orb’s 1997 single Toxygene is a blast of uptempo brilliance, almost a pop song, and their biggest hit (number 4). It began life as a remix of a Jean Michel Jarre track, Oxygene-8. Jarre didn’t like it and dumped it. Further pissing Jarre off, The Orb released it themselves as a single, adding insult to injury by claiming that ‘the French are always 5 years behind anyway’.

This version starts with ambient noise, voices and found sounds before passing traffic and the sample ‘now wait a minute’ bring it to life.

Toxygene

Across 2 cd singles and a 12″ there were a myriad of remixes, including ones from Thomas Fehlmann, Steve Hillage, Fila Brazillia, Way Out West and Kris Needs. This is the longer of the two Kris Needs versions. Unapologetic, pumping techno- it may not get replayed too many times.

Toxygene (Kris Needs Up For A Fortnight Remix)

The Top Of The Pops appearance is a another occasion where, like the famous Blue Room 3D chess game, The Orb took a different approach, this time spinning around on the waltzers in silver spacesuits while fiddling with keyboards and computers…

Tripping

We are driving to London today to watch a friend run the London marathon on Sunday. He lost his wife Sarah to cancer four years ago aged just forty-two, leaving his three daughters without a Mum. He couldn’t run to the bottom of the road a few months ago so doing twenty-six miles is a big deal. If you’ve got any spare change down the back of the sofa or in that jar on the side and fancy making a donation his Just Giving page is here.

We won’t be driving back until Sunday evening so I doubt there will be any new posts here until Tuesday.  See you then. This is an early track from Battersea’s finest, The Orb.

Tripping On Sunshine (Live Mix)

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)