For every reason there is to welcome the Orb's return to the electronic arena, there's a reason to feel deflated by Bicycles & Tricycles. It's been three years since the lackluster Cydonia, plenty of time for Alex Patterson and his revolving door of co-producers (most notably Thomas Fehlmann, who has received numerous successes with his solo jaunts) to lick their wounds. However, the long wait did nothing to help the Orb keep up with the tides of progression, and what you're left with feels like remnants of electronica days gone by.
In the early 1990s, an Orb album was as essential as a student accoutrement as a poster of Bob Marley mid-toke, but the ambient-house pioneers never managed to sustain their (leisurely) momentum. While their first two albums were vast conflations of dub, house and prog-rock, which ebbed and flowed like lunar tides, every album they have recorded since has been less than the sum of its parts. But linchpin Alex Paterson (joined here by Thomas Fehlmann and Jimmy Cauty, among others) remains a gifted producer with a restless imagination.
Regardless of one’s health insurance plan, the good Dr. Alex Patterson will liberally prescribe a dosage of cannabis-laced headphone candy to soothe all ailments. As the ever-growing pulsating brain behind the amorphous collective of knob-twiddlers known as The Orb, Patterson stewarded electronic music to stadiums and the upper chart regions in England.