Record label: Shanachie
Format: 2xCD
Release date: 9 July 2002

I think it was about a year ago that The Orb quietly released an album called Cydonia, which had received some positive reviews. Never got around to that one. My excursions with Dr. Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann left off somewhere around five years ago with their Orblivion LP. seems to take things in new and interesting directions while letting their fans know that they’re still a couple of pranksters at heart. From what I understand, is their record label, releasing a wide array of catchy and quirky electronic music, much of which is featured on this compilation. The Orb contribute two tracks, “Cool Harbor” and “I Am The Red Worm.” The former is led by a watery, shuffling groove while the latter sounds like their classic stuff, as if it could’ve been a U.F. Orb outtake. They also supply remix work for some of their other artists, all of whom prove themselves on their own merits. Creature’s “‘Ow Much” is a surefire winner, funky and funny with a clever cut-up of a tobacco auctioneer’s voice over a tight beat (why haven’t we heard more of their vocals in drum and bass?!?). Fusionic takes a quieter route with “Base” and “Intron,” two beautiful tracks that stretch out and envelop whatever’s in their path. This double disc serving captures the whole listening experience, from the lazy dub of Multiverse to the full-on techno of Autolump. And The Orb aren’t satisfied with you just listening: Disc Two features an interactive CD-ROM section. From there, you can listen to samples from the entire discography, read up on the history of the label, and link to the website. And get a load of that crazy story in the accompanying libretto – it won’t make sense unless you’re incredibly high or Dr. Seuss was your favorite author. Better yet, read it while listening to the CD – the music’s just as trippy as the story is. Either way, you’re gonna get gone.

{steve crognale}

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