Perpetual Dawn: The Orb Has Arrived at Last!

It was Pledgemusic’s announcement which first alerted me to the monumental event which was pending in the summer of 2016. The Pledgemusic website reported that:

“On Friday 29th July 2016, electronic titans The Orb will perform their seminal debut album ‘Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’ in full for the first time ever, to mark its 25th anniversary.

For this very special sliver jubilee gig, Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann will be joined on stage by the original cast of collaborators who helped create the magic on this influential, era-defining milestone, plus a special punk icon whose music heavily influenced The Orb.

Paul Cook of Sex Pistols fame will guest on drums and fellow punk legend, original Orb member and ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ co-writer Youth will join on bass.

Psychedelic-electronic-prog heroes Steve Hillage and partner Miquette Giraudy co-wrote ‘Supernova’ and ‘Backside Of The Moon’, and will also bring their mythical shamanistic magic to this special show.

If all that wasn’t coup enough fellow ‘Ultraworld’ contributors Andy Falconer, Tom Green and Hugh Vickers will also guest, whilst original Orb lighting wizard David Herman will transform Electric Brixton into a vintage fractal technical wonderland.

Amidst the late 80s fervor of acid house The Orb explored their own meandering tangent, drawing on hip hop sample culture, krautrock, kosmische, ambience and a wealth of unusual and unlikely sound sources. In doing so they pioneered a more horizontally-inclined alternative to the jacking trax emanating from discerning nightclubs’ main rooms.


Following a limited number of prototype 12”s from early pre-Orb incarnations, ‘Ultraworld’ was The Orb’s first fully formed, double album realization of the sonic sculpture they’d been finessing, amidst a punk-schooled period of fertile, no-rules creativity.

The album was a critical and chart smash that soundtracked a generation. It still sounds amazing today and its influence on subsequent decades of dance music is immeasurable.”

It had already been a thrilling year – The Avalanches reissued their album, Since I Left You in the UK and Europe to the delight of fans the world over, the Ann Arbor label, Ghostly International reissued Telefon Tel Aviv’s ambient glitch epic Fahrenheit Fair Enough on sky blue wax, John Carpenter issued the second volume of his Lost Themes collection, electronic music veterans, Underworld released Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future to great critical acclaim, proving they still have every ounce of their musical prowess, Klaus Schulze and the late Pete Namlook released a box set of the first four volumes of their ambient Dark Side of the Moog series, and Brian Eno outdid himself for the hundredth time with the ethereal and meditative album, The Ship which had the astonishing ability to stop time with each play.

But it was the anticipation of this reunion of the icons of ambient house which captivated me for the remainder of the year. Sadly, there were delays with the production of the vinyl release. Many, many months passed with infrequent updates from the Live Here Now team. Eventually, the 3CD+DVD edition arrived in the States, but it was the triple blue vinyl edition I was really waiting to get my hand on. Thankfully, today – May 12, 2017 the long-awaited package arrived from the UK.


The Orb’s Further Adventures Live 2016 was available exclusively from PledgeMusic or at The Orb show at the Royal Festival Hall in London on the 21st of April 2017. The CD edition also features interviews with Alex, Thomas, Youth, Paul Cook, Steve Hillage & Miquette Giraudy, all of whom participated in the event.

The 180g bright blue discs are housed in a heavy triple-gatefold jacket matching that of the CD+DVD release. The packaging and albums are of excellent quality all throughout, making this set well worth the wait.


This is a wonderful treasure for any fan of The Orb, of chillout music, and for anyone who spent their college days on the backside of the moon. An exciting performance, expertly captured and mastered, documenting a real milestone event for all those involved.

If you buy only one tripped-out exclusive dub-inspired space music anniversary concert album reuniting a generation of the gods of ambient house this century… make it this one.

Daydreams of Exile – An Exploration of Dub Techno

This weekend’s musical exploration began, and it so often does, with a single catalyst. That agent was the arrival of the latest addition to The much-hailed KLF Recovered & Remastered series, titled The KLF Remix Project (Part One).  This limited edition promotional comp features an assortment of delicious deep cuts and rare and exclusive mixes breathing new life into the long-deleted KLF catalog.


One of my favorite selections from the comp is a surprising remix of “Me Ru Con” – an acapella track from The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu’s 1987 What The Fuck’s Going On? LP.  This is the album The KLF are pictured burning on their follow-up album, Who Killed The Jams?  The Remix Project compilation presents Steve Rowlands’ “Me Ru Con (WTF Mix)” which transforms the unassuming and humble recording into an ethereal mix of radio signals, steel drums, and atmospheric beats.  The mix really gets you grooving and stirs all sorts of nostalgia for the legacy of the band.  If you have the opportunity, pick up this comp (as you should all titles from the series).  It does a fantastic job of filling the void left by the absence of the KLF.  And for a remix comp the collection functions extraordinarily well as a cohesive piece – consistent with all of the releases in this fantastic series.  The Remix album is packed with dark ambient dub and dub techno beats and fueled my aforementioned muse resulting in this weekend’s discoveries.


Yearning for more dub techno greatness, I turned to my own archive and performed a search for genre values including “dub” + “techno”.  Surprisingly, there were a number of discographic archives from artists whose names were familiar but whose body of work had escaped me. Several online sources indicated that one of the resulting artists – Basic Channel were universally heralded as the founding fathers of the subgenre in Berlin in the early 1990s.  Basic Channel is Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald, who appeared in my library under the alias, Rhythm & Sound.  Ernestus owns the Hard Wax store in Berlin and together, the duo has released numerous minimal dub 12-inch singles as Basic Channel, Cyrus, Round One/Two/Three/Four/Five and other aliases.  This is an ideal starting place to familiarize yourself with the genre.

Finnish electronic musician and producer Sasu Ripatti creates dub techno albums as Vladislav Delay, and interestingly intersected with Basic Channel member Moritz von Oswald where he provided percussion for a series of LPs released as The Moritz Von Oswald Trio between 2009 and 2012.

Oswald also collaborated briefly with Thomas Fehlmann as Schizophrenia.  They issued on lone split single – a self-titled track on the b-side of Sun Electric’s “Monolith” in 1995, but the track is a stand-out classic.  And listen close – the single samples Ash Ra Tempel’s “Sunrain”, the opening track from New Age of Earth from 1976.

Andy Stott is another dub techno artist from Manchester.  His work began around 2005, but his most critically-acclaimed recording is his 2012 LP,  Luxury Problems, receiving awards from both Resident Advisor and from Pitchfork Media.

Digging further into my library I discovered Canadian electronica musician Scott Montieth’s work as Deadbeat as well as his collaboration with Paul St. Hilaire from 2014 titled The Infinity Dub Sessions.

Also well-represented in my collection was Rod Modell and Stephen Hitchell’s catalog performing as cv313 on the Echospace label.  Modell’s solo project under the moniker Deepchord is also fantastic, particularly his releases from the series  of “Deepchord Presents Echospace” albums produced with  Souldubsounds owner Steven Hitchell (aka. Soultek).  Discogs notes that these recordings were “produced using nothing but vintage analog equipment, Roland Space Echo, Echoplex, Korg tape delay, vintage signal processors, noise generators, Sequential Circuits 8 bit samplers & numerous analog synthesizers” featuring an array of “sounds, static, tones and field recordings, including paranormal activity captured and recorded in Chicago & Detroit.”

Fluxion is another figure worth exploring in this category.  A pseudonym of Konstantinos Soublis (aka K. Soublis), Fluxion is an electronic music producer from Athens Greece.  The artist’s profile states that his music “has a characteristic of slowly evolving parts and contemplating elements which form lengthy musical pieces. His sounds are heavily processed to a point where the origin of a sound has little to do with the end result.”  – soundscapes in which a listener may lose him/herself.

Berlin artists Robert Henke and Gerhard Behles performing as Monolake are also noteworthy, if not for their catalog perhaps for the fact that together they founded the Ableton music software company, responsible for instrument and sample libraries used by countless musicians over the last 15 years.

One of the better-known German sound projects of the genre is Andy Mellwig and Thomas Köner’s catalog performing as Porter Ricks (whose name is based on a character from the series, Flipper).  Their sound is described as “a project that lies between clubs and art.”

In fact, Köner also works as a multimedia installation artist and gained critical acclaim for his digital opera, The Futurist Manifesto.

It’s really wonderful to have a music library as a resource for genre explorations like this.  And extra special thanks to those behind the KLF Recovered & Remastered series for the quality tunes which inspired this latest journey.

A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind

After being blown away upon first-listen to Future Sound of London’s experimental ambient epic, Lifeforms from 1994, I did a bit of digging to find more exciting sounds from the artist. I quickly discovered that the same gents from FSOL also perform under the moniker, Amorphous Androgynous with quite an expansive catalog for the project. But the real shocker was the realization that FSOL was in fact the other half of the brilliant psychedelic EP I’d ordered from DJ Food earlier this year!

The Amorphous Androgynous

The Amorphous Androgynous

DJ Food & The Amorphous Androgynous collaborated on The Illectrik Hoax EP in 2012 producing a fantastic electro-psych-rock-leftfield mix that really gets inside your skull.

It sounds as good as it looks.

DJ Food & The Amorphous Androgynous - The Illectrik Hoax EP

label 1

label 2

I wasted no time in picking up an archive of both FSOL / Amorphous Androgynous’ extended discographies as well as a complete archive of their radio broadcasts, live mixes and anthologies, anxious to learn more about the psychedelic side project.

For those who own copies of FSOL’s primary albums, there is a treasure trove of other material in the presently-circulating lossless discographic archive and its accompanying radio broadcast collection.  The content is organized chronologically into a series of categorical subfolders thusly:

The Future Sound of London Studio Discography
The Future Sound of London – Complete Radio Broadcasts
BBC Radio 1 Essential Mixes
The Collected Electric Brain Storms
The Collected ISDN Live Transmissions
The Collected Kiss FM Transmissions
The Collected Monstrous Psychedelic Broadcasts
The Amorphous Androgynous Discography

The Future Sound of London Studio Discography:
EPs & Singles

(1991) Accelerator
(1994) Lifeforms
(1995) ISDN
(1996) Dead Cities
Environments Series
From the Archives Series

Environments Series:
(2008) Environments
(2008) Environments 2
(2010) Environments 3
(2012) Environments 4

From the Archives Series:
(2007) From the Archives Vol. 1
(2007) From the Archives Vol. 2
(2007) From the Archives Vol. 3
(2007) From the Archives Vol. 4
(2008) From the Archives Vol. 5
(2010) From the Archives Vol. 6
(2012) From the Archives Vol. 7

(1992) Earthbeat
(2006) Teachings From The Electronic Brain (The Best of FSOL)
(2008) By Any Other Name
(2008) FSOL Digital Mix
(2013) The FSOL Remix Anthology
(2013) The Papua New Guinea Anthology

EPs & Singles
(1993) Cascade
(1994) Expander
(1994) Lifeforms EP
(1994) Promo 500
(1995) Far-Out Son of Lung and the Ramblings of a Madman
(1996) My Kingdom
(1997) We Have Explosive
(2007) A Gigantic Globular Burst of Antistatic
(2008) The Pulse EPs

The Future Sound of London – Complete Radio Broadcasts:
BBC Radio 1 Essential Mixes
The Collected Electric Brain Storms
The Collected ISDN Live Transmissions
The Collected Kiss FM Transmissions
The Collected Monstrous Psychedelic Broadcasts

BBC Radio 1 Essential Mixes:
(1993) BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix 1
(1995) BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix 2

The Collected Electric Brain Storms:
01 Vol. 1 (2008)
02 Vol. 2 (2008)
03 Vol. 3 (2008)
04.1 Vol. 4A (2009)
04.2 Vol. 4B (2009)
0.5 Vol. 0.5 (2006)
05 Vol. 5 (2009)
06.1 Vol. 6A (2010)
06.2 Vol. 6B (2010)
07 Vol. 7 (2011)

The Collected ISDN Live Transmissions:
01 Transmission 1- (1994) ISDN Tour
02 Transmission 2- New York, 11th May 1994
03 Transmission 3- Edinburgh, 28th October, 1996
04 Transmission 4- Netherlands, 9th September 1994
05 Transmission 5- Rome, 16th May 1994
06 Transmission 6- France, 17th May 1997
07 Transmission 7- Manchester, 6th November 1996
08 Transmission 8- Los Angeles, 22nd January 1996
09 Transmission 9- London, 25th March 1997
11 Transmission 11- Berlin, 12th June 1996
14.1 Transmission 14a- Barcelona 1995 – Preshow
14.2 Transmission 14b- Barcelona 1995 – Art Future Festival
16 Transmission 16- France, 1997
[1997] ISDN Show

The Collected Kiss FM Transmissions:
Test Transmission (Pts 1-6)
Test Transmission 2 (Pts 1-6)
Transmission 1 (Pts 1-6)
Transmission 2 (Pts 1-5)
Transmission 3 (Pts 1-2)
Transmission 4 (Pts 1-6)
Transmission 5 (Pts 1-6)
Transmission 6 (Pt 1-6)

The Collected Monstrous Psychedelic Broadcasts:
A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind: 13-Episode 8 Volume Library

01 AMPBEIYM Vol. 1 (Part 1)
02 AMPBEIYM Vol. 1 (Part 2)
03 AMPBEIYM Vol. 2 (Part 1 – Paul Thomas Mix)
04 AMPBEIYM Vol. 2 (Part 2 – Annie Nightingale Mix)
05 AMPBEIYM Vol. 3
06 AMPBEIYM Vol. 4
07 AMPBEIYM Vol. 5
08 AMPBEIYM Vol. 6
09 AMPBEIYM Vol. 7 (Part 1)
10 AMPBEIYM Vol. 7 (Part 2)
11 AMPBEIYM Vol. 7 (Part 3)
12 AMPBEIYM Vol. 7 (Part 4)
13 AMPBEIYM Vol. 8

Amorphous Androgynous Discography:
1993 – Tales Of Ephidrina
2004 – The Isness & The Otherness – Disc 1 – The Isness
2004 – The Isness & The Otherness – Disc 2 – The Otherness
2005 – Alice in Ultraland
2008 – The Mello Hippo Disco Show
2008 – The Peppermint Tree & The Seeds of Superconsciousness
2014 – The Cartel Remixes
2015 – A Monstrous Psychededlic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind – The Wizards of Oz – Disc 1
2015 – A Monstrous Psychededlic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind – The Wizards of Oz – Disc 2

Similarly, DJ Food has generously made a multitude of his mixes available at for your listening pleasure.  And NinjaTune has 37 of DJ Food’s Solid Steel mixes uncut on their Soundcloud page.

This latest musical discovery has really pushed these two libraries to the front of the line.  In the weeks ahead I’ll be further-exploring the IDM / trip-hop / dub / psychedelic / and ambient wonders of DJ Food and Amorphous Androgynous.  When I emerge from the funky depths, I’ll go on to explore FSOL’s thirty other aliases –

  • Aircut
  • Amorphous Androgynous
  • Art Science Technology
  • Candese
  • Deep Field
  • Dope Module
  • EMS:Piano
  • Heads Of Agreement
  • Homeboy
  • Humanoid
  • Indo Tribe
  • Intelligent Communication
  • Mental Cube
  • Metropolis
  • Part-Sub-Merged
  • Polemical
  • Q
  • Sand Sound Folly
  • Semtex
  • Semi Real
  • Six Oscillators in Remittance
  • Smart Systems
  • Suburban Domestic
  • T.Rec
  • The Far-out Son Of Lung
  • The Jazz Mags
  • The Orgone Accumulator
  • Unit 2449
  • Yage
  • Yunie
  • Zeebox

…I’ve got some work ahead of me.

UPDATE: Before the end of the evening I was able to acquire the remaining stray albums and DJ sets missing from the above catalog.  Now I’ve added:

1993 – Amorphous Androgynous – Tales Of Ephidrina
1994 – Future Sound of London –  ISDN (Black Edition)
2005 – Amorphous Androgynous – Alice in Ultraland
2008 – Amorphous Androgynous – The Mello Hippo Disco Show
2008 – The Amorphous Androgynous – The Peppermint Tree & The Seeds of Superconsciousness
2013 – Amorphous Androgynous – The Cartel Vol. 1
2013 – Amorphous Androgynous – The Cartel Vol. 2
2014 – Amorphous Androgynous – The Cartel Remixes
2015 – Amorphous Androgynous – A Monstrous Psychededlic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind – The Wizards of Oz (2CD)

Holy Smoke: Explorations in Dub

Playlist of the evening – settling down with Holy Smoke: Explorations in Dub.

This was a smaller introductory list I built earlier on in my research. Focusing on just 60 key artists, the list explores standards of the genre like The K&D Sessions, Laswell’s dub contributions to the FAX label, and works by Jah Wobble.

I’ve several days of work ahead for my music library; this will provide a nice sound to groove to into the night.

Holy Smoke

Published in: on September 5, 2015 at 9:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Playlist of the Day – Bilateral Motion: Abstract Minimal Ambient Dub Techno

Last night around 9pm I saw a post from a fellow member of a music community I follow.  It was a curious photo of an LP he was spinning at the moment with a minimal, text-only label which read, “Fluxion – Vibrant Forms.  A.”


From the color of the label and the sans serif typeface I hypothesized that it was likely some sort of minimal electronic music, so I hopped over to Youtube and keyed it in.

I was delighted to find it was reminiscent of Wolfgang Voigt’s ambient, minimal techno under his legendary Gas moniker.  Whatever this was, I wanted to hear more!

A quick survey of the artist page on RYM revealed that it was filed under Dub Techno.  Where I’d previously exhausted all artists under the Ambient Dub heading (dominated primarily by The Orb), the highest-charting Dub Techno LPs were almost entirely new to me.  A few names were familiar, namely Woob and Yagya, but the rest were off my radar.  Jotting down the artists from the RYM top 10 LPs I went to work straight away.

The Artist Top 10 included:

  • Andy Stott
  • Deadbeat
  • Paul St. Hilaire
  • Deepchord Presents Echospace
  • Fluxion
  • Monolake
  • Porter Ricks
  • Purl
  • Woob
  • and Yagya

That evening I compiled 45 albums from these artists – a solid introductory set to the genre.

Now playing and listening intently to the new playlist – “Bilateral Motion: Abstract Minimal Ambient Dub Techno.  Fluxion’s Vibrant Forms I and II are excellent highlights from the set.

Big thanks to Vils M D for the inspiration!

Bilateral Motion: Abstract Minimal Ambient Dub Techno

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.


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, 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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An Incredible Grail, and Outstanding Good Fortune

Once in a while, for no particular reason, the stars in your world align and an outstanding bit of good fortune befalls you.   I was the recipient of just such a fortune this afternoon.

Every day I try to take a few minutes to explore potentially rewarding sounds that had somehow previously avoided my radar.  Often I’ll review the universally-acclaimed album charts for a given genre as an interest-of-the-week on   Sunday morning’s theme was the peak of the downtempo scene – late 1990s utlra-chilled choons filled with trip-hop rhythms, mellow minimal melodies,  jazz-infused horn riffs and the sparse and fragmented fills from a Fender Rhodes.

This was music generally associated with hip, urban cafes in the 90s and found widespread mainstream popularity through Ministry of Sound’s chillout compilations of the cool sounds of Ibiza.


These compilations are fine if you just want an atmospheric bed of sound for your late night laptop adventures or for small gatherings, but none of these are particularly memorable.  I was on the hunt for an ultra-chilled tour de force – an anthemic masterpiece of critical acclaim.  That album, as I quickly learned, is Kruder & Dorfmeister’s K&D Sessions.


Originally released in 1998, both the 4LP set and the double-CD versions of the album were issued exclusively in Germany.  The album has since become a holy grail for lovers of dub and downtempo classics.  I was disappointed to find that, bootlegs aside, the album only had one proper release 17 years ago.

But that’s when I stumbled upon wonderful news – it just so happened that the album was newly-remastered by Bernie Grundman for a special 5LP audiophile edition released in March of this year!


Most of the major distribution channels were sold out, with sellers in the USA asking $110-$169 for copies of the album.  Thankfully, I was able to get my hands on a copy locally this afternoon for $15 and I couldn’t be happier.


The audiophile edition also comes with a download code for a 24-bit digital archive of the remastered set.  What an incredible addition to my electronic music library!


Dial the lights down low and let this do its thing.