on 23 June 2003
The harsh dressing-down this received from reviewers at the time was horribly undeserved. This is perhaps the greatest example of ambient dub in the world today.
This album is more consistent and memorable than Orbilivion, and carries more ballast than all of its predeccessors, yet it still remains too ice-cool to be commercial.
After lots of trouble, The Orb released this 2 years late, and hence failed to capitalise on the success of Orblivion.
However, aside this- they released "Once More" in 2001, with mechanical melodies and some really odd vocals. Fortunately the track is a real grower and is well worth relistening to, just to discover the intricate nature of its production. This is also the lead track on this album, wonferully titled "Cydonia".
It's follower, "Promis" is an utterly superb drum n'bass track, with lashings of the odd but effective sounds you come to know and love.
"Ghostdancing" is a slightly less effective track, which meanders rather than thrusts but is still a stock album track with nice moments.
Tracks like Egnable also highlights the consistent failure to take temselves seriously, and is a humorous romp with an excellent sample.
Album highlights among the many are "A Mile Long Lump Of Lard", which is a mutating industrial epic, the blissfully relaxed "Centuries", proving that vocals and a beat do not mean a lack of ambience, "Hamlet Of Kings", a classic orb ambient dub track, and the finale- "Terminus", which is quite honestly so fantastic it would fit on "The Orbs adventures beyond the ultraworld"
on 29 August 2008
If you liked it the first time around then this reissue is a must. The second disc includes some wildly different interpretations, plus the Scourge of The Earth (Caulty) remix of Once More, which I think only appeared on vinyl originally. Disc 2 almost works as an album in its own right, but Disc 1 is still the real business (apart from the silly Egnable, but you can program that out if you wish).
Not always classic Orb, and includes first real foray into vocal tracks (guest vocalists), but more varied than Orblivion and far more accessible than Pomme Fritz. They followed with the dreamy Bicycles and then the dub-tastic Dream, so the Orb are still very much around. However this is a solid album and the reissue is well mastered. One slight gripe, the original photographic artwork (and front cover type) is slightly soft-focus now, almost like a case of bad copying (?!), which detracts very slightly from an otherwise strong package and extended liner notes.
on 19 March 2001
Having finally got hold of a copy of "Cydonia" from London (as it hasn't been released out here yet), my expectations were, naturally, riding high, to say the least. So it was with eager anticipation that I finally put it into my CD player, and as the first sounds hit my ears, I knew that all the fuss and bother had been well worth it.
While it's true that The Orb have moved away from their previous sounds, that is nothing new for them, and I just loved this album. I really enjoyed "Centuries" and "Once More" - and happily settled down to listen to the other tracks that were reminicent of the Orb we all know and love.
The addition of Aki Omori and Nina Walsh's voices, now in the forefront of the mix, gives The Orb a new angle and the chance to bring in new listeners, which, for any artist who has been going as long as Alex has, is a smart move.
Knowing of Aki during her "Freaky Realistic" days (being a bit of a fan of her's too - and yes, I own the "Leonard Nimoy" single), and also knowing of the Bjork comparisons - if anything, Bjork sounds like her ... (as Aki was on the British music scene long before Bjork made her appearance) and its great to hear her back in action. To hear The Orb with Aki on the one album is just heaven - and I hope we get to hear more like it in the future!
on 27 March 2001
There's a real duality in this CD. In my opinion the tracks are either very good or very bad, with nothing in between. In fact some of the dropped tracks like Ralf are better then many included on the release version. Why drop Ralf then? Well I guess this happens all the time with bands and lables agreeing on a final track list.
Don't let me put you off though. As I've said there are some stunning examples of Orb at their best, Terminus for example is a beautiful piece of music and I'd buy the CD just for that as it'll never in a million years be released as a single. Now true orb fans just have to put up with people saying, "Oh I like lead singers voice".
A year ago I was a strictly jazz and classics guy. When my wife started out on the clubbing scene and started bringing home this thumping techno music my immediate reaction was that it wasn't music at all. Nonetheless I could see how these very interesting sounds, in the hands of the right sensibilities could be used to make something entirely new, but where was it? I mentioned this to a friend and she said that she had once drifted off to sleep to this amazing band called the Orb. I duly picked up Cydonia, their latest release, from my local music shop. When I first put the disc on my first reaction was disappointment. Just more pop music I thought. That was 6 months ago. Since then, at various times each track has opened up, one by one, to become the new favourite, and now I realise that it is without doubt, one of my favourite albums of the last few years. I've played it dozens of times and I'm still finding whole new worlds being revealed in layer after dazzling layer. The intricacy of textures and depths of structure are for me entirely parallel with the best in classical music, and yet are entirely unrelated to it in method and compositional approach. I hear this as an exemplar of a whole new form of music that is an entire departure from the western musical tradition of the last few hundred years, and which seems to have matured somewhere in the nineties, amidst a lot of noise and craziness. The mission for me now is to find out who else is doing this stuff and to track it all down. As I think another reviewer has pointed out, the most extraordinary track of all, which passed me by pretty well for the first few dozen hearings, is the final track, Terminus, which in five minutes manages to express the depths of profundity, the heights of absurdity and everything between. Utterly splendiferous.
Addendum: To the kind commentator who suggested I check out Ultraworld: Yep, I followed up with all the classics - Ultraworld, Orblivion (my other favourite), Terrarum, UFOrb. But this album still has a special subtle magic that for me makes it not quite like anything else. It's not as spacey as the classic series, nor as densely textured, and can even seem to be superficially poppy? But the incredible attention to tiny, tiny details, perhaps more apparent for being more sparsely textured, and the consummate craftsmanship of the sound design never fails to blow me away. I have played this album well over a hundred times yet still hear new details in the sidebands every time.
on 24 March 2007
As with most Orb stuff, I don't take to all the tracks very easily, as some are obviously filler, or good willed experiments gone wrong. However the experimental nature of the Orb sometimes produces tracks as 'Once More' 'Promis' and 'A Mile Long Lump Of Lard'. They are all typically Orb, each quirky and imaginative in their own way. However in my opinion, this album is worth buying soley for the finale 'Terminus', which is an eleven minute magical wonder! I can listen all way through this intense ambience with my full attention countless times and still find it amazing! Some of the other tracks such as 'Ghostdancing' almost meet this magical ambience, but not quite. A good album overall, but you should buy it just for 'Terminus'!
on 11 March 2001
I was surprised when I first put in the Cydonia disc and heard what sounded like the recent Madonna/William Orbit outings. Track One, "Once More" is a shocking departure for the orb which can only be described as a pop sell-out. The song is quite nice as pop songs go, but has none of the signatures we have all come to know and love from the orb. Things get back on track in outstanding fashion with the next 3 cuts, however, starting with track 2 "Promis"----an atmospheric world beat acid romp reminiscent of a 21st century Middle Eastern Martin Denny. This blends seemlessly into the only track with the new added female vocals that can qualify as a true orb composition, " Ghostdancing"------a long, mysteriously dark and lovely ambient outing, with very Bjork sounding breathy vocals. Next in track 4, "Turn It Down", we get a high energy disco-beat tune that would sound right at home on their previous album, "Orblivion." Unfortunately, Cydonia takes a wrong turn with a couple of short humourous ditties combining outtakes from the FFWD>> cd with circus music----somewhat entertaining the first time you hear it, but tires upon repeat listenings. Track 7 is a monster of a bass thumping low end nightmare called "Mile Long Lump of Lard"--- a very different but infectous sounding orb creation. Uh-oh, its stinker time as the next 2 tracks return to the new direction of added female vocals. But this time, unlike the earlier vocal tracks, "Centuries" and " Plum Island" are plum bad, weak and really have no business having survived the final cut of Cydonia. Even though I haven't heard them, there are other cuts which were shelved which should have stayed in place of these throw-a-ways. Fortunately, Track 10 saves the album with an extraordinary piece (" Hamlet of Kings") , classic, exceptional pure orb! ( My son swears this has a harp sample from one of those little push button audio sounds books for kids!) Another very short number is next (Track 11 called "1.1.1.) before the last two tracks bring us more classic orb. " Thursdays Keeper" is like a roller coaster ride through a jungle of signature orb samples---everything from dub horn sections to the calvary's CHARGE! A nice grab bag of orb charm. Cydonia terminates with the ultra ambient "Terminus" which features legendary guitarist Robert Fripp. Henceforth this composition would fit nicely on the wonderful and out of print cd FFWD>> from 1994, which showcased members of the orb collaborating with Fripp. An uneven album, Cydonia is still a must have for any orbhead. Let's hope it is NOT their last!!!!
on 3 July 2014
people seem to only like one track on this album - terminus.
the first 7 minutes of terminus are lifted from FFWD, an album which i own the rights for.
this was done illegally without my permission as you can see here https://krisweston.com/index.php/rant/
ive only just found out
they offered me 3000 quid for ripping me off for 13 years then asked me to pay fripp half of it because they had forgot to pay him for 13 years. wow. everyone who digs the orb must know what they do.
on 27 November 2000
Ok, Ok, I know this album isn't available to buy here on Amazon.co.uk or out there on the highstreet, but there are a lucky few of us out there who have been lucky enough to hear this album already. The album features 9 tracks spread over the one cd; Once More (the first single to be released from the album early next year), Promis, Ghostdancing, Turn It Down, Mile Long Lump Of Lard, Ralf, Freely Wheely, Yungle, and Terminus. In a bizarre new twist, two of the tracks feature vocals (Once More, Ghostdancing) from Aki and Nina Walsh, but other than that it's the Orb we know and love. It's all ambient textures and pulsating basslines and beats and there seems to be less of the trademark weird samples overlaid on the tracks. It's a typical trippy Orb listening experience and it's sad to think that this is (according to rumour) going to be the last ever orb release. It's hitting the stores Jan 2001. Buy it.
on 12 March 2001
Ok, I'm exaggerating, this isn't cutting edge, and they probably won't ever be again, thats how these things work, they've made their mark, fine. This album see's a more mature Orb, not necassarily treading totally new ground (although the inclusion of vocals can be considered such)but exploring a favourite old haunt, venturing slightly further than before. Like most of the reviewers here, I wasnt the biggest fan of Orblivion and Orbus Terramus, but this album see's a return to form. Dont expect UFOrb all over again, thats past, this is something new. Give it a chance, dont dismiss it too quickly (as I almost foolishly did)this is an excellent album.