LIVE: The Orb – Oslo Hackney, London 13.03.05

On Friday night, crammed into a darkened upstairs room in the intimate venue of London’s Oslo, both older Gen X’s and fresher faced millennials combined to loose themselves in appreciation for the original underground sound. Prior to the release of their already-acclaimed ‘History of The Future Part 2’ box set, The Orb were back, and due to the dedicated legion of fans that made it down to the one off special show, they’re better than ever.

Kicking off the all encompassing visual and audio experience were DEEDS, a two piece project made up of ex I Ching member and producer Rollo Smallcombe, accompanied by Kiri Inglis. Between the pair they manage to create a layered sonic mass of contemporary beats and nostalgic synth waves. Woozy intros, looping reverberating guitars are played out to psychedelic visuals off industrial landscapes and floating sharks. Sounding trippy? It was, and DEEDS managed to create an understated but polished collaboration of sonic/visual experimentation to haze up an already up for it crowd.

Giant pink flamingos were present, as both Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty, known better as The Orb began their all-encompassing set. High resolution sonic tapestries, planet sized basslines and the overwhelming visual wonderland began, reminding the dedicated crowd why the ambient house DJ’s The Orb still held sted fast on to their bass crown. Flittering between tracks from their often overlooked, but wildly creative 21st Century catalogue The Orb chartered new stratus whilst still returning to the underground that spawned it. As expected the delicious combination of unwavering bass that didn’t falter, unlimited infectious sampling and looping smothered with lyrical distortion, had the crowd pulling move that would not have been out of place at an illegal rave in ’95.

‘History Of The Future Part 2’ began after Paterson left his major label experience with Island Records, and struck a new chord into the millennium, experimenting with different labels, collaborators and a volley of sonic experiments, whilst still retaining the essential Orb ethos. Released earlier this year via Malicious Damage, this collection serves as a comprehensive, second closing compendium on The Orb’s illustrious history, before focus inevitably moves to their new album; planned for release on Kompakt this summer. The intimate, yet eardrum faltering set seemed to highlight The Orb’s recent, contemporary collaborative journey, far from the popularised ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ and ‘Blue Room’. ‘I am the Red Worm’ encapsulates Paterson’s short-lived industry independent venture, whereas other tracks can be drawn from The Orb’s collaborative efforts with German electronic label Kompakt, with deeper electronic samples and a more minimalistic manifesto. The 17 minute ‘Battersea Bunches’, the soundtrack to a short movie by Paterson and Malicious Damage’s Mike Coles, shown at Battersea Power Station in June 2010, continues to underline a richly textured electronic exploration and soundscape, that has seemingly been overlooked the past 5 years.

Its arguable that The Orb’s spaced odyssey since the 90’s hits period was, in many ways, a little more innovative, exciting and fresh for the people hearing it for the first time, however it is apparent that the pressure is off and the real experimentation, excitement and polishing can begin. The last 15 years have seen The orb creating some magnificently groundbreaking music, and this recent one off special live show only managed to beautifully display that.

We left with a possible based out eardrum, an ongoing inner vibration and the excitement to see exactly what was to come this summer from the duo.

Katie Muxworthy


Katie Muxworthy

Katie Muxworthy

Mainly write and talk shite.
Katie Muxworthy

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