The Orb Returns with Moonbuilding 2703 AD!

Ten years since their last album on the Kompakt label, The Orb returns to Kompakt this month with their 13th album, Moonbuilding 2703 AD.

The Orb

The Orb – Thomas Fehlmann and Alex Paterson

Moonbuilding is hypnotic, engaging, and endlessly fascinating.  There is an ever-shifting spatial environment as an assortment of deep beats, dub rhythms, and indescribable microtonal sounds traverse the space between your ears.  There are no hooks or identifiable refrains on which a more passive listener could settle comfortably.  Instead the record is a cerebral adventure, whether you choose to explore it consciously and critically or just lose yourself in the entrancing future-tribal magic.

Moonbuilding_2703_AD

The pending Moonbuilding 2703 AD 

Like all of The Orb’s albums, it is thoughtful and reflective, but there are no peaceful, ambient epics to be found on Moonbuilding.  Still, the record does retain Paterson’s trademark natural, analog warmth.  Even his most cosmic and interstellar tracks have always maintained an organic quality sorely missing from much of the bleep-bloop techno of the last few decades.  Similar percussion is present on their newest album, though the wide-eyed energy of the LP is measurably greater than on any of their previous recordings.

But make no mistake about it – at no point does this approach hi-nrg 4-on-the-floor frat techno.  This is an immensely atmospheric record, rich with subtleties and nuances which make repeated listenings most rewarding.  This is, at its heart, proper German electronic music.  Thomas Fehlmann’s contributions are clearly evident as are all the influences of his present home city of Berlin.  If a listener is curious how The Berlin School of the late 1970s has evolved to the present day, the track “Lunar Caves” answers the question perfectly.

“Caves” is where Paterson’s work is most evident.  The song is guided more by classic, dub-inspired ambient rhythms than by heavy percussion and there is a brief but definite nod to Aphex Twin which fans will instantly detect.  If you’ve any doubt that The Orb is ideal for heady headphone listening, you’d do well to remember that this is the band who played chess live(!) on Top of the Pops for “The Blue Room” in 1992.

The Orb live Blue Room Top of the Pops

“Live” performance of “The Blue Room” on Top of the Pops, 1992

 In all, Moonbuilding 2703 AD marks a triumphant return for The Orb to the Kompakt label and demonstrates that these old boys still have what it takes to make outstanding and fresh new music.

The album is set for release June 23rd and available for preorder at kompakt.fm, as well as a 3LP+CD expanded edition which features a tribute to J Dilla.

Published in: on June 20, 2015 at 1:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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