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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld
Format: MP3 Download|Change

on 12 July 2001
It's hard to know where to start with this one. An ambitious double album, that can excite, chill and confuse (in the nicest way) Thick beats, tinkling ambient melodies make for the ultimate chilling album ever made. The album is laced with a variety of moods and atmospheres which I have only ever heard the Orb produce. There are moments of discreet humour against a rich tapestry of sound and imagination. There isn't a bad track on here, but the best moments have to be 'Outlands' & 'Star 6,7,8 & 9' It's hard to believe it was 1991 when this was released, it hasn't dated and although the Orb have produced some great music since, this has not been surpassed.
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on 18 August 2001
This is The Orb's finest hour which they would never match again, sadly. Though many consider the debut album, 'U.F. Orb' to be better, I would disagree.
This album is a double cd, and the fact that there is a consistent quality over the two discs puts it ahead of 'U.F. Orb' in my book.
Recognised as an ambient act, The Orb nevertheless use hard beats when it suits them, so don't expect the whole album to be a soft, beatless journey!
You will recognise 'Little Fluffy Clouds' but take a listen to 'Spanish Castles in the Sky' which has to be one of The Orb's finest efforts. No beats, just a soft, moving jazz bassline combined with shimmering atmospherics.
On the second disc the version of 'Perpetual Dawn' is the best one, ignore the version on the 'Best of' collection. 'Star 6&7,8,9' is a beautiful track full of invention.
Finishing off the adventure is 'A huge evergrowing....'. This is without a doubt the best song The Orb have ever recorded. Rising and falling vocal samples interspersed with the usual sonic trickery and beauty.
Get it now while you can. This album is a gem. It's a shame that Thrash, the driving force behind the band, left after this album.
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on 17 January 2001
The best Orb album in the world.....ever. Maybe it's just the one that brings back so many good memories for me. This album represents a turning point in the history of dance music. At the rear end of the acid house spectacle and born out of the embryonic chill out zones of those thunderous all nighters, this has to be one of the best debut albums ever recorded. Not afraid to stick dub together in the blender with ambient sounscapes, slack thick beats, and obscure samples, the Orb never slip up for a moment on this album. If you have not heard this then the 90's must have been a pretty meaningless decade for you. Where were you???
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on 20 February 2005
You start to worry about the state of dance music when you pick this album out nowadays. Where are the dance acts nowadays to pick up the baton from the dance supergroups of this era? The old greats splitting, disappearing or just not putting out the quality that they once used to. What do we have now? Can you really see someone like Stonebridge or 'random trance/funky house act X' crafting an album as superb as this that will still sound as fresh over ten years after its intial release?
Start pondering over thoughts such as that and you'll work yourself up into a frenzy, so highly strung that nothing could unwind you. Well thats until you reach for this and stick it on. All those worries fade away as you being on another journey to the Ultraworld. All your worries melt away as the familiar strains of Fluffy Little Clouds kick in ... they were red, yellow, purple and all the colours dontchya know?
If you've only ever heard Fluffy Little Clouds and have dismissed the Orb as a piece of early 90's dance history, well you just don't know what you're missing. The concept is a journey through space from Earth to the Ultraworld ... a journey that spans two 60 minutes CDs. Each CD progesses from chilled ambient house towards beatless ambience. It helps craft the mood of the vastness of space. I love the way that the tracks blend into each other, each track announced with a spinetingling synth, a choice vocal sample and scatterings of fx, all helping build anticipation for the track to come. The best example of this is when Into The Forth Dimention kicks in. The deep cosmic synth sounds, the ominous 'It was a cloud formation ... roughly the same size of the Earth' sample and the operatic singers. This all then gives way to some simple bongos and then morphs into what I suppose you could call the trance music of the day (remember we are talking 1990 here)! Great stuff.
Its not all po-faced seriousness, there is a unique sense of humour that comes with The Orb. Check the cheeky little 'blublublublubberbleeeerhg! he he he he he he he he!' that you get on the dubaliscious Perpetual Dawn.
The perkier, humourous tracks are balanced perfectly with some wonderful psychadelic ambience. Naturally you'd expect no less with Gong's Steve Hillage on board. Take Spanish Castles In Space, its gentle acoustic bass and piano floats over you. Simple but oh so effective. Then take the 19 minute monster which is A Huge Evergrowing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld. A fine climax to the album, it is a hypnotic blend of synths, wedding bells, aeroplanes flying past before, out of nowhere, 'LOOOOVING YOU IS EASY BECAUSE YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL' resonates across the track. The ambience keeps you on your feet though, near the end of the track you get some wicked driving drums that fade in and fade away with the swirl of 'real world' samples that flow over the track. Music to get lost in.
All these elements pull together in what is one of the finest albums of all time, something that will eternally be greater than the sum of its parts. It is also refreshing to see that it hasn't aged badly at all, I'm sure that it will attain that coveted 'timeless' status.
I could go on forever about the little things in this album that are so perfect and will forever find its CDs finding their way into my hifi but I don't think the internet has enough storage space for it. Great music for anytime, its summer chill out, its winter chill out, its for sad moments, its for happy moments ... for me, it was the accompaniment for the Lord Of The Rings triology on many a train journey around the country.
Its the finest place to start your Orb collection in a portfolio of works that just ooze quality throughout, I'll still recommend this in another 10 years time and it will still sound as fresh then. If this finds its way into your heart, you can also do no wrong with checking the Orb Live 93 album. A different and live take on familiar Orb tracks from venues such as Glastonbury.
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on 16 August 2000
I first listened to this on tape as a student with lazy days rolling by. Now years later it remains as just as evocative a soundscape.
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on 19 February 2014
These guys have been around a while now, but they still send me into Orbit, there are some great tracks here, spme I've heard some I haven't, Orb fans will fall for it, new comers must get it, listen smart guys.
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on 12 July 2006
Fasten your seatbelts and prepare to head to deep space!

It's all here "Little Fluffy Clouds" and "Perpetual Dawn" - the two best singles The Orb ever released. That second side of disc one - thirty continuous minutes of ambient music par excellence. "Into The Fourth Dimension" - the best single The Orb *never* released and the prototype for the entirety of the overserious catalogue by Enigma. "A huge ever-growing pulsating brain that rules from the centre of the ultraworld (loving u)" - the best title song ever and in three amazing versions! A good version of Outlands - finally!

OK, so this music may not now be the most inventive or forward thinking ever released because the influence and quality of this album has enabled the genre to be improved upon with subsequent efforts by both The Orb and by other artists. Nevertheless as top-notch ambient excursions into space, the mind, the fourth dimension and other such wibble, it remains pretty darn faultless. To hear it digitally remastered is a joy and the bonus tracks are wonderful to behold.

It is also nice to see Island/Universal finally atone for their previous shocking reissues of this album, which have seen "Little Fluffy Clouds" retitled "White Fluffy Clouds" and used black and white photocopies of original artwork!

In short, this is probably more for previous owners of the album wishing to relive the good old days and explore those long-deleted Aubrey mixes without spending a hundred quid on eBay!
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on 29 November 2013
For me this has to be a 5 star rating. Nostalgia for my student days aside, listening to it 20 years on it is still fresh, absorbing, vibrant and a complete listening experience either in the background while you work or study or to sit and fully concentrate on. TOABTU is a classic album and I don't think that I can add much to the descriptions and plaudits already eloquently expressed by other reviewers. The basic album has been remastered, not the the old one really needed it, but the sound for me is crisper and more vibrant. The extra disc is a great addition to the package with some .

If you want to explore electronica, ambient techno or chill out music this is highly recommended.
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on 7 January 2007
Like so many before me i got this cd on its original release. Chilling out after all night clubbing and returning to Earth to the sounds of Little Fluffy Clouds on sunday afternoons was a common occurence. Seeing them play live at all nighters at Brixton academy and having the visuals to go along with this stuff was also a part of my memories on hearing this again.

Then things changed, the club scene changed and everything associated with clubbing changed and so my Orb collection was more or less put to the back of my collection (and im sure a lot of folks did the same) Until now!. On seeing this re-release the idea of these seminal tracks being cleaned up and sounding new and fresh was something i couldnt resist, and im more than happy that i did give in. The Orb were and to a point still are , Magnificent, They changed the face of ambiant/house style music and really were the pioneers they professed to be. This release has been cleaned up to the point that it does bring out the limits to the original tape it was recorded on, ie clicks and hiss in some places, but that doesnt detract from the brilliance that is the whole of the Adventures album, im just amazed that it was so long ago and how fresh it still sounds. Shame on me for consigning these guys to my has-been section, because its far from the truth. They are as relevent now as they ever were, its just us that changed not them!.

Only one thing wouldve made this better and that would have been a 5.1 mix but maybe thats gonna be for the 20th anniversary release.
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on 3 February 2018
outstanding, I loved little fluffy clouds
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