909rewind Vol. 20… The Orb

Welcome to 909rewind, a series from 909originals that explores the early musical careers of some of clubland’s biggest names, uncovering hidden gems and reworked classics from the archives.

For the 20th edition of the playlist, we slip into something more comfortable and enjoy three hours of ambient soundscapes from electronic pioneers The Orb.

Founded in 1988 by Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty (of The KLF), The Orb have had more past members than Spinal Tap have had drummers, including former Killing Joke bassist Youth (aka Martin Glover), remix specialist Thrash, Roger Eno (Brian’s brother), former Tresor resident Thomas Fehlmann and a merry band of troubadours.

As Paterson told this site in June of last year, The Orb was borne out of the summer of love; a period that saw the migration of football casual culture into the rave scene.

As summer 1988 started, “I was starting a house label with Youth, WAU Recordings, which was where The Orb released its first track,” he explained. “As well as that, I was DJing in south London squats and playing ambient sets in yoga centres in Soho/Convent Garden.

“I played with the KLF at some mad festivals as well, and Spectrum was THE place to be on a Monday night. Driving around in Jimmy [Cauty’s] American police car was a gas, too – I got told off by Oakey [Paul Oakenfold] once after a night of merriment driving the police car around London; kids hanging out of cars following us.

“I got turned away by Jenni Rampling at Shoom once for being too old, but my old-school Chelsea connections came to my rescue! That was the weirdest thing, football hooligans and ecstasy. ’88 was the year the country got loved up, and it’s still in our system.”

As well as The Orb’s own productions, commencing in 1991 with the era-defining album Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, Paterson and co have lent their remixing ability to artists as diverse as Lisa Stansfield, Penguin Café Orchestra, Nitzer Ebb, The Cranberries and Erasure, tracks from which are included in this week’s playlist, along with reworked versions of some early faves.

So sit back, open the doors of perception (if you must), and get swept away by 200-plus minutes of lush electronica courtesy of the true maestros of the scene… 🙂

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