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Te Orb! Electronic wizards. Witchdoctors of sampling. Chill out gods. Tey’ve taken us home in an ambience since the heydey of nightclubbing back in ’88. But they’ve never rested on their laurels and despite the 26 year old Little Fluffy Clouds being their most memorable hit single, they’ve have charting albums every since, and have worked with Dave Gilmour and Lee Scratch Perry amongst many other greats. Te latest album, Chill Out World is a totally ambient excursion, and they’ll be playing tracks from it as well as an hour of music from 1991’s Adventures Beyond Te Ultraworld at the Waterfront this month. I spoke to founding member and utter legend Alex Paterson about new technologies, the demise of nightclubs and what we can expect from a live Orb show.

ou lived in Brixton when you were a teenager and were

obviously surrounded by reggae and hip hop, but also you were a fan of Kraftwerk. When you first started making your own music, what did it sound like? Ha ha! I was a little punk rocker in those days and I modelled myself on Johnny Rotten and Ian Curtis. I used to smash lots of glass up and turn them into drum patterns in the early 80’s. Perhaps your most well known track is Little Fluffy

Clouds which is unbelievably 26 years old now! What was the starting point for that masterpiece? Was it the Steve Reich guitar sample? Basically we got a cassette through the post from a fan, who said “I’ve found you a new Orb single”! And that was the starting point – the acapella and the vocals, and these guitars that we blatantly sampled, although that’s been cleared up since then! Your new album Chill Out World is an incredibly laid back, minimal affair. What

28 / December 2016/

made you want to create something like this now? Was it as a response to your previous album Moonbuilding 2703 AD which was more upbeat and dancey? Te Orb have always been known for making chill out sounds. We started out as a DJ collective back in ’88 and we were the founders of the chill out lounge. But we’ve never done a proper ambient album in all the years although we’ve done ambient tracks on some of the albums but we always ended up putting beats on them. Tis time we made ourselves take the beats away and let the music do what it does best – chill people out, really. It’s all played live on the night so you never know how it’s going to turn out but by and large it’s been really good fun. You’re going to be playing Adventures Beyond Te Ultraworld in full on this tour. Recorded in 1991 it took 3 weeks, used six studios and twenty outside musicians to make it. I don’t think a record label would let you spend that kind of money and time these days! Well we’re going to play an hour’s worth of tunes from the album on this tour. It was actually 12 musicians and three studios..they do like to bump it up and make it sound grander than it actually was! I was given a budget of £20,000 and I came in £500 under. Being an old roadie and A&R man I kind of knew how to get these things done on a shoestring and get a double album out of it. Touche! Now release it, you’ve got to do that now! Quite funny. Te Orb have been going since 1988, and at the start you used all manner of formats to create your sound and incorporate samples, tapes, CD’s, records

and a mixer. Do you miss this way of making music or do you relish being able to use laptops and digital files now for ease? Not at all. Te modern way is a lot easier, I’ve got to say without a doubt. I don’t miss the sampler crashing, or it taking 35 years to send a file, I don’t miss how slow everything was then. I don’t miss splicing piles of tapes, and then if they’re wrong, doing them all again. It’s got a lot easier now. What do you think of British dance music culture these days, and the demise of nightclubs in general? It’s just a case of society moving on isn’t it, like the demise of fish and chip shops and pubs. It’s a different generation – the young people don’t want to dress like we used to dress, they want to dress smartly and go to top notch things and enjoy themselves, and that’s just how it is, especially in London. In terms of festivals as well, everything except BoomTown is pretty preconceived. You’ve got your charging tent, the place where you can get money out, and you can even hire out boots! Snore. What sort of show can we expect in Norwich? You’ll see the two of us twiddling knobs, making weird noises and keeping up with each other! We’ll be playing new and old material and looking forward to the future. We’ve decided to support ourselves on this tour as it can be a bit tiresome if you have the wrong support act. Do you know what an acronym for Norwich is, by the way? I’m not going to tell you cos you’re a girl and it’s rude!


> INFORMATION The Orb play The Waterfront on 1st December. Tickets available from Read this interview in full at

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