The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld (Deluxe Edition)

OK, OK, I like ambient music. My PC is filled to the brim with it and I’ve always been a big fan of electronic music, although I don’t have many CDs that fit the description.

I bought this Universal Deluxe Edition recently for next to no money on sale and to be quite honest, I didn’t hesitate a single second because The Orb did not only invent and define ambient-house music but also put out one of the best albums ever – this one. When it came out, it was new, energetic, surprising, hip, cool and whatnot and it paved the way for a slew of other recordings I started to hunt for once I was bitten.

Yes, this concept album was also more than controversial. The tracks are loaded with samples and, for example, Rickie Lee Jones wasn’t all too happy about her being sampled, especially because she sounds way out there (she only had a cold) when she appeared on an American TV talk show from which this sample was taken. You can find The Orb spinning Sergio Leone, Allegri, Steve Reich, Pink Floyd and a ton of others and one can safely say that they at least helped kick off the heated copyright debate that followed when sampling really took hold after the release of this double-album. Unfortunately, the samples remain largely uncredited on this Deluxe Edition as well.

The music is melodic, has a great sense of humor, and it is a wild mix of styles, sounds and moods with its touch of reggae, dub, funk, spacey sounds and outrageous segues. Still, there is unity of sound and concept .

For once, the bonus disc of a Deluxe Edition adds to the original tremendously and I have to say that the remixes are fantastic and the long Peel session is arguably the finest work The Orb have ever created. The sound is a huge improvement and it literally kicks my woofers outward. Finally, the titles are also listed correctly which wasn’t the case on Universal’s earlier – shabby – release. There is some tape hiss and there are audible clicks, but they can be attributed to the source material which shines on this reissue … and reveals some of its deficiencies. All in all, this is also one of the best in the Universal Deluxe Editions series.

Lots could be written and has been written about these recordings, but together they make up a true pioneering classic and a must-have if you are at all into any of this stuff.

Rating: *****/*****


Artist(s): Orb, The
Title: The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld
CDs: 3 (Deluxe Edition)
Release Date(s): 1989/1991/2006

Original Album(s):
– Tracks 1-1 to 2-5: “The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld”;
– Track 3-1: Recorded 3rd December 1989 for BBC Radio’s “John Peel Show”
– Track 3-2: From ‘Perpetual Dawn’ (12”)
– Tracks 3-3 to 3-7: From the “Aubrey Mixes: The Ultraworld Excursions”
This CD: Universal/Island, July 10th 2006
Other Issues: (see above)

CD 01: “Orbit”
001: Little Fluffy Clouds (4:26)
002: Earth (Gaia) (9:48)
003: Supernova At The End Of The Universe (11:56)
004: Back Side Of The Moon (14:15)
005: Spanish Castles In Space (15:06)

CD 02: “Ultraworld”
001: Perpetual Dawn (9:30)
002: Into The Fourth Dimension (9:16)
003: Outlands (8:23)
004: Star 6 & 7 8 9 (8:10)
005: A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Live Mix Mk10) (18:43)

CD 03: “Peel Session and Aubrey Mixes”
001: A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Peel Session) (20:14)
002: Perpetual Dawn (Ultrabass II) (7:12)
003: Little Fluffy Clouds (Cumulo Nimbus Mix) (6:39)
004: Back Side Of The Moon (Under Water Deep Space Mix) (8:42)
005: Outlands (Fountains Of Elisha Mix) (8:39)
006: A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Aubrey Mix Mk 11) (7:13)
007: Spanish Castles In Space (Castles In Goa Mix) (13:39)

Personnel (keyboards, engineered , mixed): Dr Alex Paterson , Tim Russel, Steve Hillage, Andy Falconer, Eddie Manasseh, Maureen Mit Love, Thomas Fehlmann, Baku, Jimi Cauty, Dale Griffin, Ready Made, Andy Hughes, Pal Joey (remix), Nancy Noise (DJ), Mr X (DJ), Guy Pratt (b), Jah Wobble (b), Duke James (g), Jeffrey Nelson (v), James Mit Flowers (engineer, assistant), James Mit Cafe (engineer, assistant), Andrew Weatherall (producer, additional)
Notes: Dr. Alex Peterson (=Duncan Robert Alex Paterson), Thrash (=Kristian Weston). Get a track-by-track listing of personnel on discogs.

Recording Date: n.n.; December 23rd, 1989 (John Peel Show)
Recording Venue: n.n.
City: n.n.
Recording Engineer(s): (see above)

Reissue Coordination: Joe Black
Remastering: Keiron McGarry, Universal Mastering, London
Reissue Art Direction and Design: Neil Simpson, London
Liner Notes (Deluxe Edition): Joe Black

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

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