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The Orb

The Orb was born out of a good quantity of Sunday afternoon sessions when Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty (later to take on the world under the KLF banner) would mess around with old analogue equipment at Jimmy’s Trancentral studio. With Alex working in the A&R department of Brian Eno’s EG records, an already healthy interest in ambient atmospherics and off-kilter rhythms was being fuelled. At the same time some boffin invents Acid House.

The glaringly obvious thing to Alex and Jimmy is to put all these new ideas and sounds together by blagging as many samplers, turntables and tape decks as possible and trying it all out in the VIP room at Paul Oakenfold’s acid house parlour. On a Monday night.

The 360º aural stimulation went colour when The Orb started performing live, with audiences being treated to a sonic assault both aurally and visually. Playing all nighters in major UK cities, they succeeded in capturing clubland’s excitement in mainly rock venues. In full resplendour, The Orb are still one of the most visually compelling acts of our time and in all its years of live shows, no Orb concert has ever been the same. It never can be when it’s piloted by a DJ who sees buttons and sound effects as toys to be constantly tested. ‘Perpetual Dawn’ rose in the top 30 and marked a summer which saw them in constant remix demand, also completing their most acknowledged outside production – Primal Scream’s future classic ‘Higher Than The Sun’.

Having co-headlined the NME stage at Glastonbury with Primal Scream, The Orb undertook their biggest tour to date, taking the atypical step of touring the entire ‘U.F. Orb’ album the month preceding its release. Whilst teasing ears with what’s to come, the visual side is even more bedazzling, with two giant inflatable Orb’s doubling up as projection screens. When ‘U.F. Orb’ is finally released, it touches down in the number one spot. Packed to the hilt with heavyweight dub rhythms and techno electronics, the album pushes the band ever more into the public domain and they embark on another series of all-nighters and stage a miners benefit in Sheffield with the Scream.

There have also been various studio side projects in preparation for the launch of Alex’s own label Bad Orb; a vinyl only, web friendly label that will feature such artists as Sun Electric, Autolump, Lost Woods of Timber, Ayumi Hamasaki, Conduit, Prayer Box and Multiverse. A Bad Orb website is also being constructed which will include free downloads of new and exclusive material. Andy Hughes has since left The Orb and so Alex is currently working with old time spars Thomas Fehlmann and Simon Phillips (bass on ‘U.F. Orb’ tour). With this nucleus Le Petit Orb, which has already visited Finland and Japan this year as well as a slot at the Dance Valley festival in Holland. 2001 will see them visiting Argentina and Brazil and will also see the resurrection of the successful Bad Orb club nights in London.

There have also been various studio side projects in preparation for the launch of Alex’s own label Bad Orb later this year; a vinyl only, web friendly label that will feature such artists as Sun Electric, Autolump, Lost Woods of Timber, Ayumi Hamasaki, Conduit, Prayer Box and Multiverse. A Bad Orb website is also being constructed which will include free downloads of new and exclusive material. Andy Hughes has since left The Orb and so Alex is currently working with old time spars Thomas Fehlmann and Simon Phillips (bass on ‘U.F. Orb’ tour). With this nucleus Le Petit Orb, which has already visited Finland and Japan this year as well as a slot at the Dance Valley festival in Holland.

Le Petit Orb
  • “Alex Paterson and his band of merry pranksters pay tribute to the golden age of ambient house with subtlety, occasional silliness, and a slyly subversive edge.”

    Pitchfork
  • “The Orb have always been something special; they have changed as an entity over the years, but their music has always had a connection to their first album in some strange way.”

    Freq.org

Upcoming events

  • The Orb presents: Le Petit Orb Live

    Saturday November 6 2021
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Le Petit Orb