Thirty-five years since Alex Paterson lit the multi-coloured touchpaper on The Orb’s interstellar space odyssey, he continues to swerve, becoming his own tribute act by never standing still and preparing a cluster of fresh new projects.
April 28 sees the release of Prism, the eighteenth Orb studio album already being hailed as their most towering set for years, followed by extensive tours of the UK, Europe and the USA. Then, in September 2023, The Orb reunite with David Gilmour to follow 2010’s Metallic Spheres with Metallic Spheres In Colour (sleeve again by Ghahary). What’s more, 2024 will be graced by an up-to-date Best of The Orb set.
With Alex Paterson always setting the controls for the perfect ambient flight, dance groove or exploring previously unknown vistas, The Orb initially manifested as visionary mischief-makers in 1988’s acid house revolution, taking “ambient house” to number one in the album charts accompanied by his parallel devotion to the art of DJing and very British sense of humour. Always working with telepathic sonic lieutenants, Alex’s latest forays have been achieved with the brilliant Michael Rendall.
After Cauty left to concentrate on KLF, Alex and Youth collaborated on the Rickie Lee Jones-heisting ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’. It was followed by 1990’s landmark debut album The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, guests including German electronic luminary Thomas Fehlmann, guitarist Steve Hillage, bassist Guy Pratt and Youth, promoted by Alex turning The Orb into a mind-blowing live experience at the same time as working on U.F. Orb. The Orb had also become in-demand remixers, including booting Primal Scream’s ‘Higher Than The Sun’ into the cosmos for 1991’s Screamadelica.
Somehow, the new Prism manages to top the lot as The Orb’s most stratospherically engaging set since the nineties, reconnecting with acid house grooves while casting the ambient telescope to distant planets and dystopian future-scapes as a modern times masterpiece that can only further chime with new generations discovering these remarkable sounds for the first time.
Throughout everything (including the pandemic), Alex has continued wooing his first love of DJing, both on WNBC, London from the West Norwood Book and Record Bar and in discos around the globe. One of music’s true originals, not averse to celebrating past triumphs but still always watching the skies and looking to the future.