Last year's stellar collaboration between The Orb and long-time inspiration Lee Scratch Perry unsurprisingly produced more music than one album could handle, so Scratch, Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann are returning in fine style with 'More Tales From The Orbservatory'.
Released June 3rd on Cooking Vinyl, the set features further excursions from last year's sessions at the Starhouse studio in Berlin, plus new instrumental versions.
2012's 'The ORBSERVER In The Starhouse' was rightfully acclaimed as a colossal meeting of like minds and souls, sparking with rare magic as Alex Paterson and long-time Orb member
Thomas Fehlmann provided the perfect backdrops for the Upsetter's inimitable pronouncements, righteous declarations and sweet vocals. If anything, the follow-up stretches further into the cosmos, the backings more heavily rooted in the basic but infinite principles of rhythm and dub.
The new tracks continue the full-blooded immersion in reggae's infinite studio universe which characterised the first set; shards of old songs loom like aural ghosts while rhythms resurface, morphing into something fresh and new. For decades, all three artists have shared a common quest to push out the sound barriers. Each one also knows that journey is never over, which makes the appearance of this fresh batch of tunes and dubs all the more exciting.
The Orb have long been known for their assimilation of deepest dub into their stratospheric sonic innovations, while Thomas has been at the forefront of Germany's electronic music scene since his avant foraging with Palais Schaumburg in the early 1980s, becoming part of Berlin's seminal techno underground, working with Sun Electric and many of the city's major artists and operations, including the Kompakt label. Starting in the late 60s with the Upsetters, Perry wrote the book on Jamaican mixing desk trickery, then constantly ripped it up to create new aural blueprints for the music via his Black Ark productions. Since then he has charted his own waywardly idiosyncratic path including instigating the punky reggae crossover, working with The Clash and the Slits. With Alex's punk roots and Thomas' position as one of Germany's foremost electronic pioneers, this was a union which worked on the street just as well as in the stars.
Thomas' electronic knowledge and intuition had two disparate lightning rods to bounce between, recalling, "I met Lee for the first time during this session and it was pretty touching to see how an unexpected connection and inspirational exchange could so awaken our creative juices. Alex and I had never made so much new music on the spot before. It was soon pretty clear that we wouldn't get far with the four backing tracks we pre-produced for the session. Lee was so overwhelmingly creative that it took an afternoon for those to be finished. From then on we were forced to come up with new beats on the spot, to keep Lee in the flow."
"He was constantly active, referring to the tunes we were working on and hitting on bits of wood or stone to create percussion patterns and sounds, so we ended up using field recordings of him banging on bits and pieces", adds Thomas.
This is immediately evident on opening track 'Africa', where woodblock pulses and earth's core bass establish a lustrous primeval dubscape over which Scratch intones and expounds in his inimitable style. 'Don't Rush I' is a fine example of the intricate aural trailblazing raging at these sessions, riding a classic Upsetter bassline with elements of the original track's keyboards and even drum splatters subtly weaved into the easy old school groove, again underpinned with the subliminal Rasta heartbeat pulse. 'Fussball' sets up booting house primitivism in the beat, splashed with Basic Channel-style synth smoke and gnarly bass, letting Scratch loose on the beautiful game. 'Making Love In Dub' strips down to bassatronic turbo-jockeys and sparse skank, as Scratch ruminates on matters of the heart, plus the instrumental is a mini-masterpiece of cool dub-funk dynamics. 'No Ice Age' plants Scratch's inimitable world-view over the set's deepest bass vehicle, topped in ghostly electronic shimmer and distant space melodies. 'Tight Interlude' is a brief sonic clash between Orb's sonic mischief and Scratch philosophy.
The Orb TOUR DATES
May 26th in Brighton and June 29th at Glastonbury Festival: The Orb perform live with the the Kakatsitsi Master Drummers from Ghana
June 7th: La Petit Orb (Alex and Thomas) at Rough Trade East , 6.30pm
June 8th : The Orb headline The Playground Festival alongside Squarepusher, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, Nathan Fake, OM Unit and Lapalux
Summer festival and national gig dates - details below
June 3rd: The Orb featuring Lee Scratch Perry's new album 'More Tales From The Orbservatory' released on Cooking Vinyl
May 26th The Orb live featuring Kakatsitsi Blind Tiger, Brighton
June 7th The Orb live in store & album signing Rough Trade East, London
June 8t The Orb live @ Playground Festival Carling Academy, Brixton
June 15th The Orb with Kris Needs St Ives Guildhall, St Ives
June 20th The Orb live Bratislava, Slovakia
June 21st Orb Sound System Willowman Festival
June 24th Alex Paterson DJ set W/Bomb The Bass live, Hoxton Square Bar
June 27th The Orb live The Globe, Cardiff
June 28th The Orb live The Fleece, Bristol
June 29th The Orb live ft. Kakatsiti Glastonbury Festival
June 30th Alex Paterson DJ set Glastonbury Festival
July 12th Orb Sound System Tundra Festival, Lithuania
July 26th The Orb LIVE Thirteen Festival, Finland