Inspired by Brian Eno’s ‘70s ambient inventions and the post-post-disco club culture of the ‘80s, the Orb became the premier Ambient House act of the early ‘90s. Mixing loping house beats and shades of reggae-dub with atmospheric sampladelia (film dialogue, wildlife, radio broadcasts, strings and choirs), their first full-length album, Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld, was seemingly designed to take its listeners progressively farther and farther away from their respective spots on the planet. The album’s 10 tracks were intended to stand as a collective whole and not individually, though they certainly can and do. The set begins with the famous “Little Fluffy Clouds,” inspired by composer Steve Reich and containing a sample of Rickie Lee Jones recalling childhood images and ideals from an episode of Reading Rainbow. “Backside of the Moon,” which conjures early Pink Floyd, is a slice of lunar heaven “programmed 25 miles above the Earth.” Ultraworld closes with the definitive Ambient House track, a live mix of the epic, 18-minute-plus “A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraword.” The piece, composed and produced with KLF member Jimi Cauty, is an elegant tapestry of babbling brooks, crashing waves, crickets, chants, roosters, church bells, and various other modes of white noise, all set as a backdrop for a sample of Minnie Riperton’s 1975 gem “Loving You.”
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: