Release Date: Oct 12, 2010
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Electronic, Ambient, Pop/Rock, Ambient Techno
The team-up of the Orb and David Gilmour makes so much sense, it's only surprising that it took so long. Not only were the ambient house pioneers initially both derided and celebrated by critics as a rave-era Pink Floyd, but, like their psychedelic forefathers, the Orb also suffered through ever-changing lineups and disputes about who's the real brains behind the music. Similarly, both acts followed up some indisputably brilliant recordings with an unfortunately long string of disappointments.
Call it a prog-spring. The Orb has poached plenty from '70s-era progressive rock (space-age synths, 10-minute tracks, song titles so long they wouldn't fit on Twitter), so it makes sense that on their new album, Metallic Spheres, they snag the guitarist from one of the few bands from this genre that escaped heaps of eye-rolling and mockery, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. Gilmour's contributions fit in perfectly with the computerized drum machines and electronics.
Get out your rolling papers, vaporizers and one-hitters because the ultimate stoner collabo is here. Tripped out electronica gurus The Orb have teamed up with Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour (no spacey adjective required) to craft two epic soundscapes that are the psychedelic love children of Brian Eno, Electric Skychurch and The KLF (circa Chill Out). This ambitious LP is an acid-tinged, ambient headfuck that’s guaranteed to blow your brains out all over the couch you’ve sunk into.
The Orb have never hidden their art-rock leanings. Their debut album, released in 1991, was a double-vinyl epic entitled, with a knowing nod to the bongs-and-blacklights crowd, Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld. Despite being marketed as house music, Ultraworld was really designed to flow like those spacey prog-song suites that so captivated stoned 70s kids who gorged on sci-fi novels.
When you think about it long enough, a collaboration between the Orb and David Gilmour seems natural. If Pink Floyd was the band that found a hidden door that sucked hippies in on one side and spit astronauts out the other, then Alex Paterson has been out on regular space walks since 1991. Their objectives in music lie on a similar plane, though they approach them from different angles.
Early in their career, the Orb were accused (but never proven) of releasing a series of bootleg trance mixes of Pink Floyd albums, and the group had plenty of other Floydian references too -- most obviously, the Battersea Power Station appeared or was parodied on several of their releases. The connection only became direct, though, in 2009, when David Gilmour recorded a version of the Graham Nash single "Chicago" with help from producer Youth, an occasional member of the Orb going back to the early '90s. It was a charity single to aid accused hacker Gary McKinnon, but it became the springboard for further collaboration one year later, after Orb main man Dr.
Gilmour's chiming guitar work is a sensual fit for The Orb's uplifting electronica. John Doran 2010 When we speak of The Orb perhaps we subconsciously think of a planet suspended in a void, with everyone on the surface staring out into space. It would be perhaps more fitting to see their world as a bubble where they exist on the inner surface and can only look inwards at their self-contained universe.