The Orb

Formed 1988.
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The Orb feat. Kakatsitsi - Glastonbury highlights

Highlights of The Orb feat. Kakatsitsi's set on the West Holts stage at Glastonbury 2013.

Featured in BBC Music Clips


The Orb are an English electronic music group known for spawning the genre of ambient house. Founded in 1988 by Alex Paterson and KLF member Jimmy Cauty, The Orb began as ambient and dub DJs in London. Its early performances were inspired by ambient and electronic artists of the 1970s and 1980s, most notably Brian Eno and Kraftwerk. Because of its trippy sound, the Orb developed a cult following among clubbers "coming down" from drug-induced highs. The Orb has maintained its drug-related and science fiction themes despite personnel changes, including the departure of Cauty and other Orb members Kris Weston, Andy Falconer, Simon Phillips, Nick Burton and Andy Hughes. Paterson has been the only permanent member, continuing to work as the Orb with the Swiss-German producer Thomas Fehlmann and, later, with Killing Joke's Martin "Youth" Glover and Tim Bran of Dreadzone.

Alex Paterson prides the Orb on manipulating obscure samples beyond recognition on its albums and during its concerts; his unauthorised use of other artists' works has led to disputes with musicians, most notably with Rickie Lee Jones. During its live shows of the 1990s, the Orb performed using digital audio tape machines optimised for live mixing and sampling before switching to laptops and digital media. Despite changes in performance method, the Orb maintained its colourful light shows and psychedelic imagery in concert. These visually intensive performances prompted critics to compare the group to Pink Floyd.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of The Orbserver in the Star House

    The Orbserver in the Star House 2012

    Reviewed by David Katz
    Lots of fun for late-period Perry fans, and will appeal to Orbologists, too.
  2. Review of The Dream

    The Dream 2008

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    Long-time space voyagers are going to be perfectly at home with The Dream.
  3. Review of Bicycles & Tricycles

    Bicycles & Tricycles 2004

    Reviewed by Lewis Dene
    Dr Alex Patterson and co. return with an entralling offering that once again pushes...
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