All Hail the Mighty Orb!
Alex Paterson, who, along with a constantly shifting roster of close collaborators, is the genius behind The Orb, one of THE original New Electronica/Ambient House acts that exploded into the music scene, revolutionizing it, in the early 1990's. His position in the field is unassailable and his style is unique, personal, always grand in vision and scope, and hugely innovative.
"The Dream" is the 2007 offering from Paterson and crew and it is one helluva gem. This kind of work was a long time in coming and really sums up every "galaxy" the great ship "Orb" has ever explored and serves it all up in one grand, unforgettable disc. This one is a very strong piece of work, perhaps the strongest since 1997's "Orblivion".
If the opening, title track doesn't grab you immediately and take you away into the heart of the "ever-growing" realm of the soaring multiple interdimensionality that is Paterson's music, nothing will. "Vuja De" a monstrously bottomed Orb rocker follows quick on it's heals and we are OFF into other realms. "A Beautiful Day" is full of perfectuly Orb-ish irony. It's a grand, sunny track of real beauty masking a nasty take on nuclear war. "ddd" is Paterson and co. having a great deal of funky fun. "The Truth Is..." is a calm, confident and rather funky expression of creed and probably quite personal for Paterson, but also universal in its meaning. "Lost and Found" is the power number on the album, BIG, sweeping and sung with great passion and skill by "The Corpral". It is the best song-song that Paterson has done to date. GREAT. Steve Hillage lends guitar and glissando to "High Noon" and "Codes". All of the tracks are consistently excellent making this is one of the most deeply satisfying and lovable of all The Orb's many releases.
Paterson's style is liquid, earthy, multi-faceted and gloriously adept . He is truly a master of his form. One of the strongest aspects of Orb music and one of the features it has always been known for is the use of samples. Paterson is virtuoso of the form. He rarely samples other music but rather culls some of the most fascinating bits from old 60's technology advertisments, obscure B-movie soundbites, lectures, phone calls, and speaking snippets from god-knows-where. A lot of it is American and I think this fits in with the ironic take that seems to be Paterson's worldview. They are packed with humour, provocative thought and poignancy, often forming the "solo" passages that the rest of the music supports. They can be listened to carefully and a universe of intriguing thoughts appears, flashes of wry humour or just plain fun. As a part of the sonic whole they support and direct the music or simply provide "trippy" stuff that accents the proceedings quite nicely. "The Dream" is absolutely RICH with it.
Brian Eno and David Byrne pioneered the modern use of sampling in their now-classic "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" (1980), creating a brand new way to construct music utilizing folk music recordings and radio broadcasts as the BASIS over which the rest of the music was built. Much of what has followed, Ambient, Rap, Hip Hop and all the many forms of electronic music since, such as House, Deep House and Progessive House, Trip Hop and Free-style etc would not exist today without "Bush of Ghosts". Paterson has certainly earned the crown of successor to the lineage, so to speak, mastering and expanding the form beyond what anyone else is doing or has done.
Musically Paterson is showing his continuing loyalty to "dub" and it works really well for his style. His music has gotten increasingly complex as has his technical prowess, but as much as this has developed "The Dream" is an album of exceptional focus and musical strength. The beats and bass are muscular and meaty, while the harmonies and counterpoints are brilliantly conceived and executed. The detail so bewilderingly displayed on albums like "Pomme Fritz" and the pure solid bottom of the first two Orb releases combine on this magnicent album to create one of the best things Paterson has ever done. Potent, purposeful, gorgeously articulate and beautiful. Paterson truly is a genius.
I can't stop playing it !!!
This goes along quite nicely with things like: "Dreamtime Submersible" by Evan Marc & Steve Hillage, "Connectivity!" by Mahogany, "Encantado" by System 7, "Rythm and Stealth" by Leftfield, "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" by Brian Eno & David Byrne and "Airdrawndagger" by Sasha.