17 March 2013

The Orb and Lee Perry new album + THE ORB 25th anniversary gig

The Orb and Lee Perry

The Orb and Lee Perry new album + THE ORB 25th anniversary gig

Last year’s stellar collaboration between The Orb and long-time inspiration Lee Scratch Perry unsurprisingly produced more music than one album could handle, so Scratch, Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann are returning in fine style with ‘More Tales From The Orbservatory’.

Released June 3rd on Cooking Vinyl, the set features further excursions from last year’s sessions at the Starhouse studio in Berlin, plus new instrumental versions.

If that wasn’t reason enough to get excited, as a warm up to their forthcoming 25th anniversary celebrations, The Orb return to the location of their first ever gig to perform their seminal first two albums; ‘The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’ and ‘UFOrb’ in their entirety. Expect Electric Brixton to be transformed into a mind- expanding, other-worldly visual realm, coupled with thunderous levels of low-end sonic science.
2012’s ‘The ORBSERVER In The Starhouse’ was rightfully acclaimed as a colossal meeting of like minds and souls, sparking with rare magic as Alex Paterson and long-time Orb member Thomas Fehlmann provided the perfect backdrops for the Upsetter’s inimitable pronouncements, righteous declarations and sweet vocals. If anything, the follow-up stretches further into the cosmos, the backings more heavily rooted in the basic but infinite principles of rhythm and dub.

The new tracks continue the full-blooded immersion in reggae‘s infinite studio universe which characterised the first set; shards of old songs loom like aural ghosts while rhythms resurface, morphing into something fresh and new. For decades, all three artists have shared a common quest to push out the sound barriers. Each one also knows that journey is never over, which makes the appearance of this fresh batch of tunes and dubs all the more exciting.

The Orb have long been known for their assimilation of deepest dub into their stratospheric sonic innovations, while Thomas has been at the forefront of Germany’s electronic music scene since his avant foraging with Palais Schaumburg in the early 1980s, becoming part of Berlin’s seminal techno underground, working with Sun Electric and many of the city’s major artists and operations, including the Kompakt label. Starting in the late 60s with the Upsetters, Perry wrote the book on Jamaican mixing desk trickery, then constantly ripped it up to create new aural blueprints for the music via his Black Ark productions. Since then he has charted his own waywardly idiosyncratic path including instigating the punky reggae crossover, working with The Clash and the Slits. With Alex’s punk roots and Thomas‘ position as one of Germany’s foremost electronic pioneers, this was a union which worked on the street just as well as in the stars.

Thomas’ electronic knowledge and intuition had two disparate lightning rods to bounce between, recalling, “I met Lee for the first time during this session and it was pretty touching to see how an unexpected connection and inspirational exchange could so awaken our creative juices. Alex and I had never made so much new music on the spot before. It was soon pretty clear that we wouldn't get far with the four backing tracks we pre-produced for the session. Lee was so overwhelmingly creative that it took an afternoon for those to be finished. From then on we were forced to come up with new beats on the spot, to keep Lee in the flow.”

He was constantly active, referring to the tunes we were working on and hitting on bits of wood or stone to create percussion patterns and sounds, so we ended up using field recordings of him banging on bits and pieces”, adds Thomas.

This is immediately evident on opening track  ‘Africa’, where woodblock pulses and earth’s core bass establish a lustrous primeval dubscape over which Scratch intones and expounds in his inimitable style. ’Don’t Rush I’ is a fine example of the intricate aural trailblazing raging at these sessions, riding a classic Upsetter bassline with elements of the original track’s keyboards and even drum splatters subtly weaved into the easy old school groove, again underpinned with the subliminal Rasta heartbeat pulse. ‘Fussball‘ sets up booting house primitivism in the beat, splashed with Basic Channel-style synth smoke and gnarly bass, letting Scratch loose on the beautiful game. ’Making Love In Dub’ strips down to bassatronic turbo-jockeys and sparse skank, as Scratch ruminates on matters of the heart, plus the instrumental is a mini-masterpiece of cool dub-funk dynamics. ‘No Ice Age’ plants Scratch’s inimitable world-view over the set’s deepest bass vehicle, topped in ghostly electronic shimmer and distant space melodies. ‘Tight Interlude’ is a brief sonic clash between Orb’s sonic mischief and Scratch philosophy.

I had an amazing time being that close to the great man,” enthuses Alex. “The mighty Lee Scratch Perry is a pioneer who expresses the future within the present times of anguish, hope and unity. Looking back now those spontaneous jams we did became the most successful tunes, in that they were created under the influence of the situation. They all had a powerful, magic drive we felt was owed to a truly inspiring collision of our three planets.”

The mouth-watering potential of a legendary master working with long-time acolytes who tuned into his unique wavelength long ago continues to blossom and explodes again on More Tales From The Orbservatory.

Live: The Orb Present  Adventures Beyond The UFOrb at Electric Brixton on April 5th  Tickets and info:  / Facebook:

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