Though I am indeed big into The Orb – I’ll be at the Friday show in July at the Music Hall of Williamsburg – the genre “chill out” is generally just fucking terrible. The name is an awful anachronism – though it was once a utilitarian description, a serene contrast for weary riders as the serotonin train pulled into backwash station.
Somewhere along the way it became shitty hip-hop with no bite. The music is even worse than the name, if you count the offenders against the few worth picking from the wreckage. Thievery Corporation? Filla Brazilla?
Jesus Tittyfucking Christ, MD. Continue reading
When it comes to The Orb, the first bit of advice is this: skip their first offering, Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld. All the songs worth listening to are to be found on the double album Live 93, and in far better shape to boot. Live 93 is a flawless document of what the live electronic album can be and should be. Hell, it’s what any record should be – that’s how good it is.
Live 93 is loose and self-absorbed in the best sense possible. It’s good enough to make even “Little Fluffy Clouds” an enjoyable extended riff on the original, without any of the constraints of the album version. Even the stuff from U.F.Orb finds spacious life here; “Tower of Dub,” a tight wall of bass in the original version, becomes a flexi-jam that tears straight off from the goofy opening* and just plain tosses space and bass at the audience. (*A prank caller asks a reception clerk if Haile Selassie is there, and leaves a message for Mr. Selassie to meet Marcus Garvey at Babylon & Ting) Continue reading
Recent Orb albums have been kinda rough, starting with the label-delayed dry heave, Cydonia. Things recovered with Bicycles & Tricycles and it’s spine-crushing dub highlight, “Tower Twenty Three” – the unfortunate MC British Shouty Boringpants track “Aftermath” aside.
SIDETRACK: If American thesaurus rappers are difficult to deal with (and they are), then having the UK version of guidos try their hand at it is fifty times more irritating. Enough of that sort of thing has you wishing they’d hurry up with their experiment to become 1984: The Musical and just go fully totalitarian already. To be fair to the poor souls whose mp3 player is stocked with The Streets and other abominations, take heart – at least you’re not nerdcore fans! Oh hey Star Wars! Oh hey video games! Wow, the 80s! He’s rapping about things I care about! Isn’t this great?
Sure is, art school. Sure is.
And so we turn our hungry eyes back to The Orb. Continue reading