on 26 October 2000
What can I say, not that this is the Orb's best album because its not technically an album...however it has all of the Orb's best tracks on. The one thing I regret about buying this album was that it didn't come with the bonus CD. Every track on this album deserves credit so here goes. The album starts with the Minnie Riperton sampling "A Huge Evergrowing Brain...", which puts you right in the mood, this is followed by the Orb's massive "Little Fluffy Clouds", then "Perpetual Dawn" (Solar Youth Mix) quality techno/reggae with vocals over the top, followed by the edit of "Blue Room" which is marvelous, then the lowpoint of the album "Assassin" tis still good however, then the experimental "Pomme Fritz", followed by the bouncey "Toxygene", going on to the quality drum loops and samples of "Outlands", then onto the dancey "DJ Asylum", then onto the previously unreleased "Mickey Mars" which is my favourite, I'm sure this samples Enigma but don't quote me on it, then "Towers of Dub" with its cheeky intro, then "PI (part 1)" an ambient ending...but wait there's more...a hidden track "Oxbow Lakes" is a few minutes after "PI", sweeeeeet music. Must Buy!!!
on 25 September 2011
I've long been a fan of The Orb, I could wax lyrical about favourite tracks here or muse on the absence of others, but just want to share a few thoughts about the way this release has been assembled.
Classic singles and selected album tracks from The Orb's days in the sun are represented here, though not necessarily quite how I expected to find them. My expectations for a "Best Of"-type compilation would be a run-through of key tracks, in their definitive form. Defining definitive here I'm thinking the album versions or a-side single versions, unadulterated. It is true that The Orb have many marvellous alternate mixes of their songs (and seeking them out is a pleasure in itself, perhaps one that deserves its own word in the lexicon), but a "Best Of" somehow seems an inappropriate place for the Orb to go merrily off on multifarious tangents (even though they excel at that kind of thing) and yet that is what they have done.
They have done this in two ways, firstly in several instances presenting us with remixes (the hidden remix of Oxbow Lakes, by the way, is gorgeous), most of which do not veer too far from the familiar versions, but nevertheless the result is like looking at the same object from a slightly different vantage point, when maybe on this one occasion the angle of familiarity is the portal we are looking for. The second level of interference is the more unfortunate, all the tracks being mixed into each other to create one unbroken musical experience. This approach works if the listener is simply pressing play and sitting back, but if for instance they want to hear the 7-inch mix of Blue Room by itself as an isolated track they're out of luck as it opens with the chorus of Perpetual Dawn slowly retreating and ends abruptly as things morph into Assassin.
I was fortunate to get a copy with the bonus disc, it includes some fine mixes - OOBE seemingly transported to a parallel dimension with a cosmic snooker tournament in swing - and a few mediocre ones - Montagne D'Or, which in its original form is amongst my favourite Orb tracks, here has all its charm stripped away and its shattering climax magnified and divorced from context. I can't say how many of these mixes have been edited down in length, but the two I was previously familiar with certainly have, with the 14 minute 20 second-long "Chocolate Hills Of Bohol Mix" of Assassin (easily the best version on the original single) served in a misers tease of a portion at 1 minute 15 seconds, which seems a bit pointless.
Overall I hesitate to say this would make a good starting point for the uninitiated, it's more like being helicoptered in to key locations when on overland journey through the length of an album, starting with their first, would be much more rewarding. I'm not entirely sure if U.F.Off is actually aimed at newcomers or not, it would certainly whet the appetite, but it'll never be "the only Orb album you'll ever need to own". A series of stills of The Orb's classic moments this is not, if you look closely the stills are actually moving...
on 22 July 2013
I give this album 5 out of 5 because I enjoyed it from beginning to end. I would love to collect more of the Orb, but Amazon do not do them except on mp3 download, which is no use to me. Come on Amazon, there is a lot of good music out there and some us want it on CD.