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Electronic Pranksters

The Orb

With electronic music on the verge of becoming mainstream, its interesting to hear an new album from a group who's been around for awhile. Since 1991, this prolific group has put out a minimum of one release per year, as well as finding the time for remixing other groups and other side projects. The group isn't exactly known for their brevity, either. Only one of their albums clocks in at under 70 minutes, and they hold the record for the longest single ever to crack the UK top 40 ("Blue Room" at 39 minutes 58 seconds). On Orblivion, they don't vary from their style much, but have once again found a way to create quite an interesting album.

While other groups have strayed into drum and bass and other categories, the Orb remain practical jokers of sorts. With their cut and paste music style and obscure samples, they manage a sort of strange tripped-out humour on their albums. On their Live 93 album, they poke fun at Pink Floyd with both a spoof of the group's Animals cover and samples of a girl speaking lyrics from The Wall. On Orbus Terrarum, they created an 18-minute song (with a message) out of samples off an old childrens record. Dr. Alex Patterson is back to his old tricks on the new album. The fourth track entitled, "Bedouin" lopes along with an odd beat and a sample of a pygmy singer. The song "S.A.L.T." is centered around a sample of a man talking about the apocalypse as another step in man's evolution. The eight minute song manages to sound ominous and fun at the same time. The groups first single entitled, "Toxygene" is reminiscent of one of the group's other fun dance singles "Little Fluffy Clouds." Patterson uses the sample of a car skidding into a crash to lead into the main beat of the song.

Overall, the album is a good step for the group. Orblivion as a whole is less tripped-out than Pomme Fritz and several songs actually hold a steady beat throughout. The group has managed to keep their experimental edge, as well as create some very catchy tunes.

Rating: 7.5