Having already defined and refined the notion of ambient electronic music with their 1991 masterpiece Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, The Orb have little to prove beyond their own ongoing eccentricity, but Alex Paterson’s mischievous crew have been in fine form of late. Last year’s Moonbuilding 2703 AD was their finest album in more than a decade, and COW/Chill Out, World! suggests that the momentum gained has pushed Paterson and long-time cohort Thomas Fehlmann to new heights of creativity.
The most tangibly ambient thing The Orb have recorded in a long time, this is a 43-minute lysergic voyage through shimmering vistas of sonic liberation, laced with obscure field recordings and disembodied snippets of speech. The sub-bass throb that has informed so much of The Orb’s work isn’t entirely absent, but this drifts rather than pounds, allowing the duo’s inexhaustible stash of imaginative ideas to run amok. The rippling synths on Just Because I Really Really Luv Ya are the only real nod to the “techno Pink Floyd” tag that once followed The Orb around: the rest is every bit as idiosyncratic, hypnotic and alien as devoted acolytes will be hoping.