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Even More Orb For Your Noodle

The Orb
U.F.OFF: The Best Of The Orb

If you're a big fan of the Orb and have most of their releases, the big question you may be asking yourself when you see this release is whether you even need it or not. Since I heard Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, back in late 1993, I've been a massive fan of the group and have managed to pick up all of their major releases and even a couple singles. Still, when I saw that this one had come out, I had to get my hands on it for the simple fact that the version I purchased had a bonus disc of unreleased material. After the initial run of 2CD sets, they went and cut it down to one CD, making it more of a release for those just getting into the group. I must say, if you're just getting into them, it's about damn time.

Not only has the Orb been around for a long time releasing great disc after great disc, but they've always kept that sort of goofy attitude about themselves that they never manage to come across as pretentious and neither has their music. They've released songs that run both 40 minutes and 1 (as well as about every length in-between) and if there's ever an electronic music hall-of-fame, they should probably be one of the first few to get inducted (after the obligitory forerunners like Eno and Stockhausen).

Anyway, the first disc is exactly what you'd expect to get in a best-of release, with a couple other tracks thrown in for good measure. Instead of starting out the disc with the bands almost trademark song of "Little Fluffy Clouds," they open with a rather unexpected Orbital (not by the group Orbital, though) Dance Mix of "A Huge Evergrowing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Center Of The Ultraworld." Quite a bit different than the album version, it's a nice way to start things off. From there, they go into 7" mixes (meaning radio edits) of the aforementioned "Little Fluffy Clouds," "Perpetual Dawn," "Blue Room," and "Assasin." The first disc also includes original versions of "Toxygene," "Towers of Dub," and "Asylum" among others. A very nice inclusion on the disc is of the unreleased track "Mickey Mars." It's a little bit of a different style for the group, but it's great. Things close out with a couple more classics and a hidden remix of their track "Oxbow Lakes" from Orbus Terrarum.

For more hardcore fans, the second disc offers a lot more in terms of excitement. Things start out with a live version of "Little Fluffy Clouds" that doesn't offer a whole lot new to the formula. From there, the group goes into the Ultrabass II mix of "Perpetual Dawn" and a super tricked-out take on "Pomme Fritz." Things get even more strange with the drum and bass spiked version of "Toxygene" by the Ganja Kru. It seems a bit weird at first hearing the track redone in such a different genre, but it manages to work a lot better than other drum and bass inflictions I've heard. After sort of a throwaway mix of "Assassin," the disc continues with excellent versions of "O.O.B.E.," "Blue Room," and a remix of the previously unreleased "Mickey Mars" that's even better than the original on the first disc. Things close out on the harsher side with the Vestax Mix of "Montagne D'Or (Der Gute Berg)."

Overall, it's another great release for the group. I may be a little biased in my support of the group (since they're one of my favorites), but the 2CD set provides a lot more Orb music for those who can't get enough of the group. If you have most of their releases, definitely go for the 2CD version, as the first one mainly just has the classics, but even those are all mixed together and it makes for a nice smooth flow through the course of their music. The second disc is mixed as well, and it's a little more across-the-board in terms of styles, but very interesting nonetheless. 140 more minutes of fun from the pranksters.

Rating: 8.25