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The Orb

The Orb are an English electronic music group known for spawning the genre of ambient house. Founded in 1988 by Alex Paterson and KLF member Jimmy Cauty, The Orb began as ambient and dub DJs in London. Its early performances were inspired by ambient and electronic artists of the 1970s and 1980s, most notably Brian Eno and Kraftwerk. Because of its trippy sound, the Orb developed a cult following among clubbers "coming down" from drug-induced highs. The Orb has maintained its drug-related and science fiction themes despite personnel changes, including the departure of Cauty and other Orb members Kris Weston, Andy Falconer, Simon Phillips, Nick Burton and Andy Hughes. Paterson has been the only permanent member, continuing to work as the Orb with the Swiss-German producer Thomas Fehlmann and, later, with Killing Joke's Martin "Youth" Glover and Tim Bran of Dreadzone ..... (read more).

Links To Peel

It appears John first picked up on the band in the summer of 1989, as the first listed play is of a white label of The Roof Is On Fire, on the Mr. Modo label (later to issue records by similar acts such as Blue Pearl and KLF, since it was Paterson's own label). The first session appeared in December 1989 and its only track was the 22-minute largely improvised Loving You, which went to number 10 in the 1990 Festive Fifty (tracks from December would routinely be eligible for the following year's chart as a nod to fairness on JP's part). Cauty and Paterson, when interviewed for Ken Garner's The Peel Sessions (p. 134), both agreed that the atmosphere was extremely tense due to the band wanting to guide the session away from the standard BBC formula (for example, using samples and doing their own mixing). In fact, Paterson claims that Dale Griffin tried to throw them out of the studio when they attempted to set up early. Nevertheless, Paterson claims that it was one of the most requested Peel Sessions of all time. [1]

A difference of opinion concerning releases meant that Paterson and Cauty split in 1990, leaving the project solely in Alex's hands. This meant that the new single Little Fluffy Clouds gained considerable airplay from John and subsequently made the end of year FF in addition to Loving You. The latter song became involved in controversy when the LP Adventures Beyond The Underworld was released in 1991, since the Minnie Riperton sample on the session version had been used without permission and had to be re-recorded with a soundalike: it had by now become known as A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Underworld. The second session had appeared in October 1990 and predictably contained only two long tracks.

It would be another two years before the band recorded for Peel again, laying down two widely contrasting songs: one a typical piece of ambient house and the other a straight version of the Stooges' No Fun (possibly harking back to the beginning of Paterson's musical career, as a roadie for Killing Joke). In the 1992 Festive Fifty, their epochal Blue Room, the full version of which is a staggering 40 minutes long (Peel elected to play only the first part, side A of the 12 inch), made number 20. The band recorded two further sessions for JP, including one down the line from Maida Vale, but their shift in direction (including vocals in the mix) gave it a softer and some might say blander edge which lost its appeal for Kat's Karavan: the band's work featured only sporadically in the late 90s - 2000s, and none of their tracks featured in either the Peelenium or the all-time part of the 2000 Festive Fifty. Nonetheless, Paterson paid a fulsome tribute to Peel on the World Service and contributed a mix to the Keeping It Peel night on 16 December 2004.

Festive Fifty Entries

Sessions

Five sessions. ‘The Peel Sessions’ also notes Alex Patterson DJ mix on Keep It Peel Night, 2004-12-16. Sessions #1 and #2 released on Peel Sessions (Strange Fruit, LP / CD, 1991). Sessions #3 and #4 released The Peel Sessions (Strange Fruit, 12” / CD, 1996).

1. Recorded: 1989-12-03. First broadcast 19 December 1989. Repeated 18 January 1990, 05 April 1990

  • A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Loving You)

2. Recorded 1990-10-02. First broadcast 13 October 1990. Repeated 20 January 1991

  • Backside Of The Moon (Tranquility Lunar Orbit) / Into The Fourth Dimension (Essence Of Starlight)
THE ORB John Peel 12th May 1992

THE ORB John Peel 12th May 1992

3. Recorded: 1992-05-12. First broadcast 05 June 1992. Repeated 14 August 1992.

  • Oobe / No Fun

4. Recorded: 1995-02-14. First broadcast 24 February 1995. Repeated

  • Montagne D'Or (Der Gute Berg) / Valley

5. Live from Maida Vale 25 January 1997.

  • Secrets / Toxygene / Delta Mk 2

Other Shows Played

(The following list was compiled only from the database of this site and Lorcan's Tracklistings Archive. Please add more information if known.)

1989
  • 12 June 1989: The Roof Is On Fire (12" promo - Kiss EP) Wau! Mr. Modo
  • 14 June 1989: Kiss Your Love (Suck My Kiss Mix) (12" promo - Kiss EP) Wau! Mr. Modo
  • Peel June July 1989 Lee Tape 39 : The Roof Is On Fire (12" promo - Kiss EP) Wau! Mr. Modo Recordings MWS 010T separate play
  • 13 July 1989: The Roof Is On Fire (12"-Kiss EP)' (WAU / Mr. Modo)
  • 16 November 1989: A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Bucket And Spade Mix) (12") WAU! Mr. Modo Recordings MWS 017T
  • 21 November 1989: A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Bucket And Spade Mix) (12") WAU! Mr. Modo Recordings MWS 017T
  • 18 December 1989: A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Bucket And Spade Mix) (12") WAU! Mr. Modo
1990
  • 28 March 1990: A Hugh Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Orbital Mix) (12") WAU! Mr. Modo
  • 04 April 1990: A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Orbital Radio Mix) (12") Wau! Mr. Modo
  • 28 April 1990 (BFBS): A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Orbital 9am Radio Mix) (12") Wau! Mr. Modo MWS 017R
  • 12 May 1990 (BFBS): A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Orbital 9am Radio Mix) (12") Wau! Mr. Modo MWS 017R
  • 13 June 1990: A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Orbital 9am Radio Mix) (12") Wau! Mr. Modo MWS 017R
  • 12 July 1990: A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Aubrey Mix MK 2) (12") WAU! Mr. Modo Recordings MWS 017R
  • 20 October 1990: Little Fluffy Clouds: Dance Mk 2 (12") Big Life
  • 27 October 1990: Into The Fourth Dimension: Essenes Beyond Control (single - Little Fluffy Clouds) WAU! Mr. Modo Recordings
  • 03 November 1990: Little Fluffy Clouds (12") Big Life
  • 11 November 1990: Little Fluffy Clouds (7") Big Life
  • 23 November 1990 (BFBS): Unknown
  • 13 December 1990 (Radio Mafia): Little Fluffy Clouds (7")
  • 22 December 1990: Little Fluffy Clouds (12 inch-Dance Mk2) Big Life FF#42
  • 30 December 1990: (JP: 'Before I play you the number 10 track, I've got a little yellow cut-out elephant, you know the type of thing, that people write notes on and so on, which I've been carrying around with me for quite some time. It says, "Hi, my name's Clara, I'm 14, from Moseley in Birmingham. This is a dumb letter, in fact I don't even know why I'm writing it, because it's not like I have contacts with a band and can get special stuff for you: I don't even know anyone else who listens to your programme. I can't even phone up on the fluff line because my mum and stepdad would kill me. You'll probably chuck this letter in the bin, or ignore it completely. Oh well, it's tough being 14." I know it is, Clara: this is for you.')
  • Loving You (Peel Session) FF#10
(JP: 'You can see now why I had to reorganise all the timings of things, with a twenty minute and ten second track in the Festive Fifty. All of my original calculations had to go out of the window.')
1991
  • 24 February 1991: Perpetual Dawn (Adventure Beyond The Ultraworld) WAU Mr Modo
  • 17 February 1991: Outland (album - Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld) WAU Mr Modo
  • 17 March 1991: 'Perpetual Dawn (2xCD-The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld)' (Island/Mr. Modo)
  • 31 March 1991: Earth (Gaia) (Album: Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld) Big Life (JP announces the winners of the recent Orb competition, the winners include one Stuart Murdoch of Ayr)
  • 21 April 1991: Back Side Of The Moon (album - Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld) WAU Mr Modo
  • 19 May 1991: (JP: ‘I was on round table earlier this week, on Friday, along with Peter Hooton, and Carol out of T'Pau, and also my son Tom made one or two contributions to the programme. The rest of us rather liked this next record, Tom wasn't too terrifically keen.’) Perpetual Dawn (12") Big Life
     
  • 02 June 1991: Perpetual Dawn (12") Big Life
  • 01 December 1991: 'Little Fluffy Clouds' (LP 'Orb Remixes: The Ultraworld Excursions') Big World (deleted on the day of release "today")
  • 06 December 1991 (BFBS): 'Little Fluffy Clouds' (LP 'Orb Remixes: The Ultraworld Excursions') Big World
1992
  • 16 May 1992: Blue Room (Part 1) (12 inch) Big Life
  • 06 June 1992: (JP announces competition to win tickets to see the Orb)
  • HO John Peel 44 1992: Blue Room (not the plays already noted)
  • 12 June 1992: Blue Room (Radio 7) (single) Big Life
  • 03 July 1992: U.F.Orb (LP-U.F.Orb)' (Big Life) (JP: 'I missed them at Glastonbury because I was still in transit.')
  • 04 July 1992: Close Encounters (album - U.F.Orb) Big Life / WAU! Mr. Modo Recordings BLRCD 18
  • 19 July 1992 (BFBS): U.F.Orb (LP - U.F.Orb) Big Life
  • 01 August 1992: A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (v/a album - In A Field Of Their Own - Highlights Of Glastonbury 1992) New Musical Express
  • 17 August 1992 (BFBS): A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (CD - In a Field of Their Own) NME
  • 28 August 1992: A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (v/a album - In A Field Of Their Own - Highlights Of Glastonbury 1992) New Musical Express
  • 11 September 1992: Assassin (12" promo) Big Life ORB PROMO 5
  • 31 October 1992: U.F.Orb (Bandulu remix) (12"/maxi single - Assassin) Logic / WAU! Mr. Mojo Recordings / Big LIfe
  • 25 December 1992: Blue Room (CD single) Big Life FF#20 (JP: 'I know I should probably have played you the entire 40 minute version, or 38 minutes and 58 seconds, whatever it was supposed to be, but frankly it just simply wouldn't fit into the programme.')

1993

1994
  • 06 May 1994: More Gills Less Fishcakes (12 inch - Pomme Fritz [The Orbs' Little Album]) Island
  • 06 May 1994: We're Pastie To Be Grill You (12 inch - Pomme Fritz [The Orbs' Little Album]) Island
  • 07 May 1994: Pomme Fritz (Meat 'N Veg) (12 inch - Pomme Fritz [The Orbs' Little Album]) Island
  • 14 May 1994: Alles Ist Schoen (LP – Pomme Fritz) Island
  • 21 May 1994 (BFBS): We're Pastie To Be Grill You (promo for album - Pomme Fritz (The Orbs' Little Album)
  • 28 May 1994 (BFBS): Alles Ist Schoen (album - Pomme Fritz (The Orbs' Little Album) Island Red Label
1996
1997
2000s
Other

See Also

External Links