HE MAY have entered his sixth decade on this particular rock spinning in space – and don’t even get me started on the passage of time, I mean how can this have happened? – but the good Doctor, Alex Paterson, ambient dub techno genius behind The Orb, is ready to roll with a whole clutch of things to keep him busy through 2021.
There’s his autobiography, Babble On An’ Ting: Alex Paterson’s Incredible Journey Beyond The Ultraworld With The Orb, written with Kris Needs, featuring interview with the great Andy Weatherall, Primal Scream, Jimmy Cauty, Youth, more. (Pick up your copy here if you wish, among other reputable vendors of the printed word).
“I decided to do a book now as I have reached one full human cycle 60. Also, to tell my side of stories and to set the record straight on planet Orb,” says Alex.
He’s also launched a new imprint, Orbscure Recordings, ministered over by The Orb’s home of the past few years, Cooking Vinyl.
“The name is a play on the Obscure label Eno set up on Editions EG in the 1970s. Orbs Cure. Clever parrot-Orbscure! Orbscure! Orbs Cure for all ills. Orbs Cure made 2 chill,” free-associates Alex.
The first record in the catalogue is by Sedibus, a new name on us, until you look at the staff involved on this particular deep-space, deep-head mission.
It sees Alex reunite with Andy Falconer, who both co-wrote and engineered the ambient material on that seminal, career-launching The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld.
Their paths crossed after so much time between in 2019 at Youth’s Space Mountain festival in southern Spain, where both were playing separately. They decided to work together again and sound files began to crackle back and forth across the fibre optics.
“Organic in feel and clearly referencing our shared roots, The Heavens is an immersive journey of ambient electronica which not only references a source, but the distance travelled from that point of origin to something new,” says Andy. It is spacily, blissfully cracking in the way that particular wave of British ambience so is. Lush.
The album’s out now; we loved it. And they’ve released a video for a six-minute edit of the track “Unknowable”, for you to immerse in. We’ve got that here for you, just below.
On the album “Unknowable” is the molten, 19-minute core. But as you can hear even in the video edit, we’re spinning way out there, and your shields will be full-on leaking. It’s garlanded with the cross-chatter of Mission Control, twinned with an immersive piano that’s more than a little Harold Budd.
And again, that glimmer of sound, sustaining, thrilling, the Milky Way through which bodies of other sonic texture shoot. Percussion pitter-patters in, just the most hushed metronome, hand in hand with a arpeggiating and cyclical riff, getting more cinematic, sequencers rising and burbling.
At your all-back-to-mine at 3am, this’ll persuade the faithful to one more easy shuffle around the kitchen, arranging the cups for the next round of brews with the shuffling rhythm as the more blissed nod eyes shut with knowing grins. And you welcome Apollo 10 back to Earth to end.
And the album? We’re on record as saying: “The Heavens rewrites the current ambient discourse back away from the admittedly hugely seductive dub-textural and post-classical nuclei of Berlin and Tokyo, and reintroduces a good old trippy-as-fuckness to the world. Luxurious. Buy.” You can read our full review, here.