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Electronic - Released June 3, 2013 | Cooking Vinyl

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Electronic - Released March 27, 2020 | Cooking Vinyl Limited

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Electronic - Released June 22, 2018 | Cooking Vinyl

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Electronic - Released March 27, 2020 | Cooking Vinyl Limited

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Ambient - Released October 14, 2016 | Kompakt

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Pop - Released January 1, 1992 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

The commercial and artistic peak of the ambient-house movement, U.F.Orb strides past the debut with more periods of free-form ambience and less reliance on a standard 4/4 beat. From the opening "O.O.B.E." through the bass-heavy gait of "Blue Room" and "Towers of Dub," the flow is more natural and ranges farther than most would have expected. The bevy of contributors (including Steve Hillage, Jah Wobble, Youth, Thomas Fehlmann, and Slam) never threatens to overload the proceedings, though the minimalist sampling of Ultraworld is replaced by a production focus much more dense and busy, especially on the "rain forest on Saturn" ethno-ambience of "Close Encounters." Elsewhere, Paterson maintains his fascination with the earthy dub basslines of Mad Professor and Lee Perry, even while he's indulging in flights of fancy indebted to Sun Ra. © John Bush /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 1, 1991 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Much like the early Orb-related project recorded as Space, Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld simulates a journey through the outer realms -- progressing from the soaring ambient-pop of "Little Fluffy Clouds" and the stoned "Back Side of the Moon" (a veiled Pink Floyd reference) to "Into the Fourth Dimension" and ending (after more than two hours) with the glorious live mix of "A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain." A varied cast of samples (Flash Gordon, space broadcasts, foreign-language whispers) and warm synthesizer tones provide a convincing bed for the midtempo house beats and occasionally dub-inflected ambience. With a clever balance of BBC Radiophonics Workshop soundtracks, '70s ambient meister-works by Eno, Hillage, and Floyd, plus the steady influence of Larry Heard's sublime Chicago house, Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld is the album that defined the ambient house movement. © John Bush /TiVo
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Electronic - Released January 1, 2013 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

The standard two-disc edition of History of the Future, an anthology covering the Orb's years on the Island label, is basically an update of and slight variation on 1998's U.F. Off. Released the year of the Orb's silver jubilee (1988-2013), this factors in one more studio album (2001's Cydonia) with a similar format. There's one somewhat skimpy singles-oriented disc -- a 53-minute program that includes the U.K. Top Ten hits "Little Fluffy Clouds," "Blue Room," and "Toxygene." Disc two, consisting of remixes, features Coldcut's dub of "Little Fluffy Clouds" and Andrew Weatherall's "Ultrabass 1" version of "Perpetual Dawn," as well as a pair of previously unreleased tracks: "Close Encounters [Smile, You're on Camera Mix]," executed by the Orb and Slam, and "Majestic [Heavy Mix]." The 3CD/1DVD edition adds a fanatics-only live audio disc and an incomplete compilation of videos, Top of the Pops appearances, and a live clip. Most of the contents of the live audio disc are taken from a 1993 Copenhagen gig performed at sunset, and there's also a version of "Assassin" from Woodstock '94. The deluxe edition booklet offers not just extensive notes but loads of photos and scans of press releases and articles as well. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Dance - Released January 1, 2008 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

If the Orb's 1995 release Orbus Terrarum was an extended meditation on the earthbound, the band's follow-up in Orblivion rises from the muck of primordial ectoplasm for a guided tour of late 20th century Western culture's more paranoid face. From the Cold War (the album kicks off with Joseph McCarthy's intoning of the immortal invective "Are you now, or have you ever been...") to the pre-millennial ranting of David Thewlis' warped, apocalyptic monologue from Mike Leigh's Naked ("The bar code! The ubiquitous bar code!"), Orblivion does for post-industrial, turn of the century mania what earlier albums such as The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld and U.F.Orb did for aliens and flying saucers. Like the previous record -- an effusive mix of sprawling environmental textures, clanging, treated percussion, and humorous, trainspottery samples -- Orblivion brings with it another adjustment in mood, combining elements of downbeat, electro, and drum'n'bass with dense, soupy amalgams of treated electronics and shimmering rhythms. Orblivion also evidences a renewed interest in the more immediately engaging, upbeat pop of "Perpetual Dawn"- and "Little Fluffy Clouds"-era Orb, with a deeper, more embellished sound marked, in all likelihood, by the first full-time contributions from former engineer Andy Hughes (who replaced Kris Weston after the latter's departure in 1994). Dub is still the organizing principle of the Orb's music, however, and whatever one's opinion of the actual album (reactions are likely to range from "genius" to "aimless") the production is undeniably amazing. © Sean Cooper /TiVo
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Electronic - Released January 1, 2013 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

The standard two-disc edition of History of the Future, an anthology covering the Orb's years on the Island label, is basically an update of and slight variation on 1998's U.F. Off. Released the year of the Orb's silver jubilee (1988-2013), this factors in one more studio album (2001's Cydonia) with a similar format. There's one somewhat skimpy singles-oriented disc -- a 53-minute program that includes the U.K. Top Ten hits "Little Fluffy Clouds," "Blue Room," and "Toxygene." Disc two, consisting of remixes, features Coldcut's dub of "Little Fluffy Clouds" and Andrew Weatherall's "Ultrabass 1" version of "Perpetual Dawn," as well as a pair of previously unreleased tracks: "Close Encounters [Smile, You're on Camera Mix]," executed by the Orb and Slam, and "Majestic [Heavy Mix]." The 3CD/1DVD edition adds a fanatics-only live audio disc and an incomplete compilation of videos, Top of the Pops appearances, and a live clip. Most of the contents of the live audio disc are taken from a 1993 Copenhagen gig performed at sunset, and there's also a version of "Assassin" from Woodstock '94. The deluxe edition booklet offers not just extensive notes but loads of photos and scans of press releases and articles as well. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Dance - Released January 1, 2008 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Electronic - Released February 16, 2015 | Malicious Damage - Studio C

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Electronic - Released May 13, 2013 | Cooking Vinyl

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Electronic - Released March 13, 2006 | theorb.com

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Electronic - Released October 12, 2010 | Columbia

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Electronic - Released October 8, 2010 | Columbia

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Pop - Released January 1, 2001 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Comprised of recordings made just after 1997's Orblivion (and subsequently trapped in major-label-restructuring limbo for nigh on three years), Cydonia is a hodgepodge of Orb styles and sounds, a quality production that nevertheless meanders too far and duplicates too many ideas first heard on Orb records ten years in the past. Much of Cydonia (the title is a reference to a region of Mars where astronauts reportedly found evidence of ancient civilization) aligns to the slightly spacey, slightly noisy dub heard on Orblivion and 1995's Orbus Terrarum. Thankfully, the album also has the exquisite pacing and smooth transitions of the classic Orblivion -- a spritely Indian dub piece ("Promis") leads naturally into the lazy-day ambience of "Ghostdancing" and on into "Turn It Down," a paranoid production with the conspiracy-theory airs of earlier Orb work. Also, the trademarked Orb sense of humor is in full effect on "Egnable," wherein an English-as-a-second-language instructor grows more and more confused (and incoherent) over carnival-music backing. As expected from the title, "A Mile Long Lump of Lard" is another classic Orb production, with plenty of thick, shuddering industrial percussion. The biggest shock for longtime listeners is Dr. Alex Paterson's recruitment of two female vocalists (Aki Omori, Nina Walsh) for a pair of songs apiece. The opener, "Once More" (led by Omori), is a hazy electro-pop number that brings the Orb back to the sunny pastures of 1990s "Little Fluffy Clouds." Despite a few interesting tracks though, Cydonia suffers from a pronounced lack of imagination and focus: Paterson is the only track-to-track constant in the production credits, and longtime co-producers Thomas Fehlmann and Andy Hughes make a few scattered appearances next to a parade of newer names. Despite a few tracks staking out some promising new territory merging pop, trance, and ambient-dub, Cydonia has few pleasures for the fans and not much to grab onto for those new to the band. © John Bush /TiVo
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Electronic - Released November 19, 2020 | Cooking Vinyl Limited

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Electronic - Released November 13, 2015 | Malicious Damage

"[The album goes] to some lengths to remind us why we fell in love with The Orb in the first place." © TiVo
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Electronic - Released August 28, 2012 | The End Records

Legendary reggae producer Lee "Scratch" Perry has exerted an almost mystical pull on artists from across the musical spectrum ever since the halcyon days of his Black Ark studio, when he created some of the strangest and most compelling music ever to come from Jamaica; his work with foundational reggae artists like the Heptones, Max Romeo, and the Congos remains both sonically unique and deeply, weirdly compelling, and artists from the Clash to the Beastie Boys have sought him out ever since then. Some of the resulting collaborations have turned out to be deeply misbegotten; a few have been brilliant. This is one of the latter. The Orb are almost as legendary in electronic music circles as Perry is in the reggae world, but their signature style -- a soft and dreamy fusion of house and ambient music -- is obviously not a good fit with Perry's sonic adventurousness or his infamously manic (not to say crazy) verbosity. As it turns out, though, this is one of those situations in which a surface incompatibility masks deep harmony. The Orb do not try to provide faux-Black-Ark reggae grooves for Perry, nor do they make the mistake of treating his (apparently improvised) lyrics as sacred pronouncements. Instead, they create a rich tapestry of soft but dense rhythmic backing, some of it more house-derived, some of it more reggae-flavored, over which Perry raps, and then they treat his voice like one instrument among many to be woven in and out of that tapestry. The approach is dubwise, but the result is unique -- it simultaneously pushes familiar musical buttons and sounds like nothing else that has come before. Listening to this album is a bit like eating comfort food from an alien planet. Highlights include the stately and decorous skank of "Man in the Moon," the tectonically bassy "Go Down Evil," and the richly funky "Thirsty," which is built on a piece of vintage Perry wisdom: "If you're thirsty, drink some water." © Rick Anderson /TiVo