The Orb

In the early Nineties, The Orb's "Little Fluffy Clouds" took cheeky vocal samples and mushroomed them into something stranger and spacier. While rhythmically rooted in house music, Alex Paterson and crew dosed it with stoned dub and UK prog, even goofing on Pink Floyd album covers. This dizzying mixture of LSD consciousness and Ecstasy swing served as a gateway drug into the world of electronic music. And with the introduction of Thomas Fehlmann into the fold, The Orb became weirder and higher. But morning after was brutal for The Orb; in the ever-mutating electronic field, the group wound up being irrelevant by the turn of the century. Okie Dokie, its first album for Germany's Kompakt imprint after a few shimmering singles, shows The Orb tastefully de-emphasizing the goofiness and adapting to the label's schaffel and pop ambient styling. Piano and strings swirl around "Captain Korma," while "Kompania" has its ambiance made from globs (okay, gl-orbs) of harp and guitar stretched out like taffy. Who knew The Orb could age gracefully?

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