The Orb

~ Group


The Orb are a British electronic music group known for spawning the genre of ambient house. Founded in 1988 by Alex Paterson and KLF member Jimmy Cauty, The Orb began as ambient and dub DJs in London. Its early performances were inspired by ambient and electronic artists of the 1970s and 1980s, most notably Brian Eno and Kraftwerk. Because of its trippy sound, the Orb developed a cult following among clubbers "coming down" from drug-induced highs. The Orb has maintained its drug-related and science fiction themes despite personnel changes, including the departure of Cauty and other Orb members Kris Weston, Andy Falconer, Simon Phillips, Nick Burton and Andy Hughes. Paterson has been the only permanent member, continuing to work as the Orb with the Swiss-German producer Thomas Fehlmann and, later, with Killing Joke's Martin "Youth" Glover and Tim Bran of Dreadzone.

Alex Paterson prides the Orb on manipulating obscure samples beyond recognition on its albums and during its concerts; his unauthorised use of other artists' works has led to disputes with musicians, most notably with Rickie Lee Jones. During its live shows of the 1990s, the Orb performed using digital audio tape machines optimised for live mixing and sampling before switching to laptops and digital media. Despite changes in performance method, the Orb maintained its colourful light shows and psychedelic imagery in concert. These visually intense performances prompted critics to compare the group to Pink Floyd.

The Orb's critical and commercial success in the United Kingdom peaked in the early 1990s with the albums The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld and U.F.Orb, the latter of which reached #1 on the British album charts in 1992. This success led to its infamous appearance on Top of the Pops, where the group showcased its quirky style by playing chess (an interest of Paterson's since his early youth) while the group's single "Blue Room" ran in the background. The Orb's mid-1990s albums were met with mixed reactions from British critics; however, its work received praise from American publications such as Rolling Stone. The group experimented with vocalists on its next two albums, which critics generally described as bland and uninspired. The Orb then shifted gears to a minimal techno style spearheaded by member Thomas Fehlmann, releasing its new material on the record label Kompakt.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1991 The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld The Orb 4.75 7
1991 Peel Sessions The Orb 2
1992 U.F.Orb The Orb 3 7
1992 The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld: Patterns & Textures Version The Orb 1
1995 Orbus Terrarum The Orb 3.5 4
1996 The Peel Sessions The Orb 2
1997 Orblivion The Orb 4 4
1999 Cydonia The Orb 3 6
2002 Transfer at Dub The Orb 1
2003 Bicycles & Tricycles The Orb 3
2005 Orbsessions, Volume One The Orb 2
2005 Okie Dokie It's The Orb on Kompakt The Orb 3
2007 Orbsessions, Volume Two The Orb 2
2007 The Dream The Orb 4
2009 Orbsessions, Volume 3: Baghdad Batteries The Orb 3
2010 Metallic Spheres The Orb feat. David Gilmour 5
2011 C Batter C The Orb 1
2012 The Orbserver in the Star House The Orb feat. Lee "Scratch" Perry 3
2013 Orbserving the Star House in Dub The Orb & Lee “Scratch” Perry 1
2013 More Tales From the Orbservatory The Orb feat. Lee "Scratch" Perry 2
2014 The Orb's Further Adventures Beyond Dark Matter The Orb 1
2015 Moonbuilding 2703 AD The Orb 2
Mirror Image 2 The Orb 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1998 U.F.Off: The Best of the Orb The Orb 6
2003 Back to Mine: The Orb The Orb 1
2010 Impossible Oddities: The Story of WAU! Mr. Modo The Orb vs. Youth 1
2013 History of the Future The Orb 1
2015 History of the Future, Part 2 The Orb 2

Album + Compilation + DJ-mix

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2007 The Art of Chill 4 The Orb 1
2012 FACT Mix 341: The Orb & Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry The Orb & Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1993 Live 93 The Orb 3
2008 The BBC Sessions 1989-2001 The Orb 1

Album + Remix

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1991 Aubrey Mixes: The Ultraworld Excursions The Orb 2
1996 Auntie Aubrey's Excursions Beyond the Call of Duty The Orb 4 2
2001 Auntie Aubrey's Excursions Beyond the Call of Duty, Part 2 The Orb 2


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1989 A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From the Centre of the Ultraworld The Orb 2
1991 Perpetual Dawn The Orb 4
1991 In Dub The Orb 1
1992 Blue Room The Orb 5
1992 Assassin The Orb 1
1992 Assassin³ The Orb 1
1993 The Tong Poo Remixes YMO vs The Orb 1
1995 Oxbow Lakes The Orb 2
1997 Toxygene The Orb 5
1997 Asylum The Orb 3
2001 Once More The Orb 4
2004 Aftermath The Orb 1
2009 DDD (Dirty Disco Dub) (Remixes) The Orb 1

Single + Remix

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1990 Little Fluffy Clouds The Orb 7
2012 Golden Clouds The Orb feat. Lee Scratch Perry 1

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