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Remixes: Orb Style

The Orb
Auntie Aubrey's Excursions Beyond The Call Of Duty

There are some groups that I'll always have a weakness for, and the Orb will probably always be one of them. They were one of the first electronic groups that I found myself listening to, and to this day I can put on "Little Fluffy Clouds" and it will make me want to shake my booty all over again. In addition to releasing a boatload of material under their own name, though, they've also been highly proficient in remixing the work of others. It was just a couple years ago that the first volume of this 2CD series was released, and now comes the follow up (for those counting along, it all adds up to almost 5 hours of remixed music by the group).

It was just earlier this year that the Orbs latest album Cydonia came out, and although it had some high points, it also left me wondering what had gone wrong at others. Although I still find myself listening to that release on occassion, I find myself going back to classic discs like their Orbus Terrarum much more often. While it somewhat pains me to say it, this second batch of remixes feels kind of like sloppy seconds for the group, and although it's a good way to keep yourself from dropping the money for a bunch of 12" records or CD singles, it's not nearly as listenable as the first go-around.

Things start out on the right foot with the remix of Pato Banton's "Beams Of Light," a track that goes from ethno-techno to tripped-out, to almost baroque electronic in the course of only 7 minutes. It's bizarre and fun and just what you would expect from The Orb. The middle part of the first disc also hums along nicely with a great three-track combo. Can's track "Halleluwah" gets a super spaced-out reworking while "Crystal Clear" by The Grid gets turned into an amazingly seductive, shimmering dance track. Closing out the mid-section is the epic reworking of Meat Beat Manifesto's "Radio Babylon" in which the original is completely stipped down and blipped-out. Two of those three tracks can be found on other releases, though (Can's Sacrelige remixes and Meat Beat Manifesto's Original Sounds respectively), and although the mix of Tangerine Dream's "Towards The Evening Star" is also a pretty nice cut, the rest of the first disc just doesn't hold as much weight.

One other problem that bears mentioning is that during a couple different point on a couple tracks (most noticibly the Meat Beat Manifesto and Tangerine Dream mixes on the first disc), the sound gets a bit muddy when the huge low-end bass comes in. It's not horribly bad, but it's definitely noticible and could be bother some people. Overall, the collection is sort of hit-or-miss and although this is the Orb (and one of those groups I have a weak spot for), it's not as amazing as it could have been (I'm sure there are still enough remixes by the group that weren't included here). Still, there are some really great tracks to be heard, and even though I've never tried the reefer, the mere inclusion of the kooky remix of "The Reefer Song" by Mindless Drug Hoover makes me giggle and want to shake my hips every time I hear it. If you need one collection of Orb remixes, go with the first volume, but if you're a completist, by all means pick this up as well.

Rating: 6.25