Volume 92, Issue 79

Wednesday, February 17, 1998


Costner should put a cork in the Bottle

The best of Orb makes Eno bubbly

Complex novel probes virginity

The best of Orb makes Eno bubbly

U.F.Off: The Best of the Orb

Evolving from the aftermath of Brian Eno's 1970s ambient experiments, The Orb has consistently pushed forth the boundaries of music, ambient or otherwise. Their latest album, U.F. Off: The Best of the Orb, takes up this task with an eager thrill and removes the ramparts which guard the aesthetics of electronic composition.

This 12-song compilation scans through the history of the musicians who betrayed their master, Eno, by transforming his minimalist ambient into their present version of ambient house. This shift was best shown on songs such as the massive club hit "Little Fluffy Clouds." But The Orb avoid being trapped within the confines of solely being a band which appeals to the club scene.

The album opens with the dazzling "A Huge Evergrowing Pulsating Brain that Rules From the Center of the Ultraworld" which boasts a menagerie of sounds ranging from the vocals of Minnie Ripperton to jet engines to an eclectic mix of natural sounds such as running water, roosters and small chirping birds. But this compilation demonstrates The Orb is more than a musical dare to test the limits of the strange.

Underneath the layers of samples are rhythms much faster than Eno's ambience ever expressed yet still slower than the high, dull speed which dominates much of dance music. In particular "Toxygene," a song from the 1997 Orblivion, uses more straight ahead beats at a perfect speed to achieve the same exciting intensity as the more eclectic tunes.

As a whole the album fulfills the function of ambient music defined by Peterson – to induce space and calm to think. The Orb make ambient agreeable to the club scene, but equally agreeable to a whole lot more.


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