Saturday, 27 February 2010

Albums That Shaped My Life: U.F.Orb by The Orb

Welcome to a new feature called Albums That Shaped My Life. Each week I aim to feature an album that has change my musical perceptions or set me on a different life course. Some maybe new, but most will be old. All will be classics that have been much loved by me and maybe some of you too.

The first album to kick off this series is U.F.Orb by The Orb. Released in 1992 from the warped minds of the self -proclaimed Dr Alex Patterson and Kris Weston this album rocked my world like never before. I was only 18 when it came out and still trying to forumulate my musical tastes. I was living in Essex and the only electronic music I knew was happy hardcore, which dominated the east coast music scene at the time. Based on what I'd heard so far I decided all dance music was shit and I was going to stay a rock chic (a lightweight riot grrl) for the forseeable future.

But then I heard Steve Lamaq playing Blue Room on the Radio 1's Evening Session. The ambient sounds and soft but funky beats immediately got my toes tapping. I knew I wanted more. I went out and bought the album and played it on loop. I loved the fact it could be comedy, dancey and spacey all at the same time. And of course I was majorily into smoking weed at the time and it was the perfect soundtrack for that.

Listening back to it now I think it still holds up. The 7 minute intros might be a bit self indulgent (a fashion that has gladly gone the way of the ra-ra skirt) but the beats and sounds are just as fresh today as they were then. They also have an amazing range of dynamics, looping sounds in and out of each other, back and forth that makes you feel brilliantly dizzy. And despite its ambient tag it really works as a main dancefloor act, which I found that year at Brixton Academy when I realised there was more to life than just moshing.

The Orb was my gateway into a whole range of other acts, many of which will be profiled here at a later date. These other artists also had a big impact on me, but The Orb as probably there first. And for that I will always be grateful.

U.F.Orb was released in March 1992 on Big Life


  1. The Orb were indeed fantastic. I remember buying the 40 minute version of the single The Blue Room (the longest single in chart history) and watching them play Chess on Top of the Pops whilst the music played. I also saw them at Brixton Academy. :) Then again a couple of years back at a Festival as well, but they had lost some of their vibe. This album, together with Chill Out by The KLF and Space by Space were my favourite ambient house records from around that time.

  2. I'd forgotten about the chess thing - hahahaha!