The new Orb album features contributions from Youth and Roger Eno and finds the electronic astronauts in fine form once again. Alex Paterson: ‘The idea was to simply make an ambient album. We didn’t look back and study earlier recordings, but wanted a more spontaneous approach, a focus on The Orb today, our vibe in 2016.’
In contrast to their much-acclaimed previous full-length ‘Moonbuilding 2703 AD’, which took years to prepare and finetune -, the new album was produced over the course of only five sessions in six months, directly following the like-minded ‘Alpine EP’. Paterson: ‘It got so spontaneous that a track like ‘9 Elms Over River Eno’ consisted only of material collected at North Carolina’s Moogfest in May – second-hand records from local stores, field recordings, live samples from gigs that we liked, and of course an excursion to the Eno River, which actually exists. This geographic intimacy and the spontaneity are among the top reasons why we love this album so much.’
Thomas Fehlmann sees the duo’s relentless gigging schedule as a formative influence on the new album. ‘The countless performances we’ve done in the last years – probably up to 300 – have brought us closer as a musical unit. The spice of our concerts is improvisation – a fertile process that we’ve brought to the studio, where we operate with very simple rules of engagement, in this case ambient, and go wherever the flow takes us.’
It’s an approach that one might expect from traditional acoustic instrumentation, not necessarily an electronic set-up, but for The Orb it works wonders. ‘We’re quite happy and also a little bit proud that we’ve reached this level of unscripted levity with purely electronic means. We’re finessing ourselves, sort of, always looking for the next sonic surprise that leaves us rubbing our eyes about how the heck we got there.’
‘Chill Out, World!’ is out on October 14th through Kompakt Records.