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.
Adventures....is still the best orb album by miles and one of the best dance albums ever. The opening track Little Fluffy Clouds is garentteed to put a smile on your face before the music drifts off into ambient dub with discreet beats and brilliant use of samples such as Ming from Flash Gordon. It really does sound as if the music is taking you into another dimension of wierd trippiness. The second disc kicks off with the brilliant reggae track Perpetual Dawn and is even better than the first disc. The closing track, Huge Evergrowing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld is also a classic, very infectious and like Little Fluffy Clouds, great to chill out to. If you think you don't like dance music, buy this and you soon will
Over a decade on, this still remains the album that was most ahead of its time. In the so called progressive world of the dance genre, this still sounds fresher and of higher quality than most released today. It is divided up into two parts, "Orbit", and "Ultraworld", both of which contain a total of 102 minutes running time of the most beautiful inventive ambient music of all time. Orbit starts with the legendary "little fluffy clouds" and continues in an equally fresh vein. Each second of the music is made with such clarity, that the soothing tones are ever so more effective. Ultraworld has a slightly more uptempo feel, with "Perpetual Dawn"- their mercurial hit, in album form. The next two tracks are low-key experimental dub tracks but still of great worth. The end may simply be the best ending to any album. "Star 6 & 789" is a fantastic ambient track with a brilliant pre-"A Man Called Adam" spanish guitar riff. The end is a mammoth seventeen minute pulse of early synth. The rhythm and tempo are perfectly balanced and the effect is astounding. In summary then, put the CD on and then immerse yourself in a whole new world of sound.
This album is the benchmark for psychedelic electronica. How many evenings I spent warping my mind to this masterpeice is anyones guess. Dripping with nostalgia it almost brings a tear to my eye. I first got my hands on this album shortly after graduating from Dr Hoffmans academy ( with honours ) and its fair to say nothing would ever be quite the same again. Much immitated never equaled this album has stood the test of time. Solid 5* rating and a must have. I put this next to KLF Chill Out and a select few others. HAVE IT!!!
Every now and then an album is released that is just so fantastic it takes you ten years to realise how great it is. The Orb's adventures in the Ultraworld is one of those albums. This album is so fantastic I could talk endlessly for hours about it, but I have 1,000 words only so I will be as concise as I can. This is a journey literally into previously uncharted waters. Forget anything you have ever heard before i.e Pink Floyd, Radiohead and other extraterrestrial artists - the Orb are the first group who pioneered a sound called 'Ambient Dub'. Alex Paterson was and still is a genius. Listening to this album, I often wonder especially as it was made 13 years ago, how the sounds on it were made and processed. It was as if The Orb invented their own equipment!!` I first really got to grips with this album one night in April 2003 after owning the album for 6 years and heard many tracks from The Orb over the last 13 years. Believe me it takes a long time to 'get' this album. When you do you will realise nothing in your life will be the same again. Here is a rough track-by track guide to help a person curious about this album to figure what The Orb are all about LITTLE FLUFFY CLOUDS - Track 1 One of the very first dance tunes that wasnt cheesy and VERY futuristic sounding at the time. A mixture of swirling synths, dub and vocal samples put together with breathtaking ease. Although this track is amazing I think it should have been on the 2nd CD of the album as it is very upbeat and the 1st CD is very 'stoner' sounding. (If you like this track check out the music of Higher Intelligence Agency - their track 'Spectral is almost a carbon copy without the vocal samples) A sample of a rocket taking off propels us into track two - a track until recently I would never listen to as it was too much for me. Now I realise it is one of the best tracks on the album EARTH (GAIA) The first REAL Ambient dub track here, awash with ingenuity. Vocal samples used to stunning effect '...and I shall plant these upon my land...and the hills shall melt'constrast with the FX trickery that only listening can describe. Keyboard blips, sound effects that make you feel as if you have taken off from EARTH and are looking at it from a distance. A very special track that is quite short compared with the rest of the album! A whiney effect is used to end the track almost as if you are moving on from earth to anothe planet. SUPERNOVA AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE One of the best tracks of all time, extremely good music for getting 'stoned' too. Heavenly keyboard effects are just that, make you feel you could be in heaven, with a low-level dub-bass dragging you down. Although the pace picks up a little it is never to fast - it is not dance music, very relaxing as if you are floating in space. Full of astronaut vocal samples 'we have a beautiful view of the earth here which is absolutely fantastic'. This track is also full of stunning special effects - reverb, time delayed samples, again difficult to describe without listening. The track again morphs into BACK SIDE OF THE MOON... This track is a real 'stoner-dub' track awash with similar samples from the last track. But it is slower and even more relaxing. A watery effect gradually comes into the mix and the spacey sounds gradually disappear almost as if you have jumped into a water shoot and are disappearing into the unknown before splashing down in a new terrain. The last track on CD 1 SPANISH CASTLES IN SPACE is less spacey than all of the others, but filled with a blues guitar and low-level bass. More obscure samples are thrown in, and this track lasts over 15 minutes ending with a ride down a train track and finishing with watery dripping textures (a signature of ever Orb album practically). The Orb have this ability to make samples morph into the music so they FEEL part of it - even though they are alien to the body (SEE the track EARTH) of the music. The secret is they have the ability to use their own music as support to the samples (although in later years they used a lot less samples - probablly because they didnt want to get loaded with the charge of being a sample-based group) The first CD will take a while to absorb, but our journey is only half-completed so stick the 2nd CD in the player to continue our journey into the cosmos. The second CD is 'slightly' less brilliant as the first CD but there is not much in it whatsever. This CD showcases the upbeat Orb we first were introduced to in the 'Little Fluffy Clouds' tune. The first track or track 6 PERPETUAL DAWN has its roots in Jamaican Raggae music. The influence is most strong on this track. It is also very catchy and was released as a single (Made the Top 20 in 1991) although in a slightly different format. This tune is very uplifting and more danceable than anything else - another reviewer called this track 'mercurial'. I'd have to agree with it. The next track INTO THE FOURTH DIMENSION starts with more of that watery texture and 'dripping' noised discussed previously with samples of cars screeching. It soon drifts off and becomes a lot darker in mood. Samples of monks chanting and classical influences can be heard in this track. It is the most 'world music' of all of the tracks. (See Enigma for similar music)This is a track im not a big fan of and tend to skip. OUTLANDS starts with very filmic type music - almost a soundtrack to films like Dracula or early horror films. The actual 'meat' of the track is very different to this. This has its feet in more 'electronic' music, defintely the influence of collaborator Thomas Fehlmann - The master Swiss Producer. Like many of the Orb tracks on this album it has many samples 'are you the best boyfriend a girl could possible have' and a robotic sample '55555.4444.333.444'. This track ends rather than morphs into STAR 6 & 7,8,9. I could spend forever talking about this track, as deposited earlier in the review. It is so beautiful. It almost has a spanish flavor, but starts off with the sample 'one upon time, a little rough at the edges but with stars in her eyes'. Then an electronic synth starts and bceomes the backbone of the track. After a few moments a spanish guitar kicks in and is extremely well played and very catchy. The backdrop of the tune starts with noised from the countryside such as car noises, bees and trees whistling. About half way through it changes to a very spacey and heavenly background with a human simulated keyboard vocal noises 'ahhh...uhhhh'. Check out the Chemical Brothers tune 'One too many mornings' for this type of effect. This is one of my favourite tracks of all-time. The final explosive track 'A HUGE EVER GROWING BRAIN...' is actually a 'live'recording but is a dance-esque tune with a repeated sample 'da da da de - da da da de' all the way through, with a barrage or rising and falling vocal noises and other effects. This is a lot of people's favourite Orb tracks, it isnt mine I have to say although it is a fantastic example of special effects trickery. This album was the start of The Orb's career, and although they eventually bettered it 6 years later with 'Orblivion' it still is today one of the few pioneering alums of Ambient. Alex Paterson would prefer the term 'Ambient dub'. Th album contains elements of raggae, dub, techno, dance, electronica as well as 'soundtrack' music. There are so many albums i would reccomend if you enjoy this album. Perhaps Brian Eno's Apollo is a worthy predecessor of the Ambient description and Global Communication for a similar masterpiece. The Starseeds 'Parallel Life' if you enjoy Ambient Dub, HIA if you like 'downbeat techno/dance. Bob Marley et al for Raggae and David Holmes for Soundtrack influences. His album 'Lets get Killed' has some Orb influences on there. If you want to continue your interest in The Orb, I would defintely purchase Orblivion and then UF Orb for the more space elements. Orbus Terrarum is very dub-like and Pomme Fritz is very strange and deranged. Cydonia is another good album and the new album Bicycles and Tricycles is a great album to get if you enjoyed 'Outlands' on this album. Hope you enjoy the album and this review has helped you.
I love music of all kinds and have a very eclectic taste. However, this is one album that shines through and I return to again and again. In my opinion it is nothing short of genius. It is a truly genre defying album and for me that is one of its many joys. You just cant classify it. It stands alone, towering over pretty much everything else. This, UForb and Orb Live in 93 are all superb but Adventures rules supreme. Do yourself a huge favour and buy it :0)