The Orb Bicycles & Tricycles Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

Dr Alex Patterson and co. return with an entralling offering that once again pushes...

Lewis Dene 2004

Even the occasional record buyer will know that The Orb virtually invented the electronica sub-genre known as ambient house. Their resurrecting of the slower, more soulful rhythms provided the perfect soundtrack to the early days of rave culture and the bridge between '70s ambient pioneers Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream and those hallucinogenic muddy fields.

For Bicycles & Tricycles, their 21st Century return, the melodies and dub lines created by Orb protagonist, Alex Paterson, on previous recordings are still to be heard in abundance, as is the expertise of long-term collaborators Thomas Fehlmann, Simon Phillips, John Roome and Jimmy Cauty.

Similarly, as with previous recordings, their latest opus is an effective mix of sprawling environmental textures, clanging, gritty percussion and humorous samples. "The Land Of Green Ginger" brings with it mood inducing elements of downbeat, electro and even drum 'n' bass with soupy amalgams of treated electronica, shimmering rhythms and quirky vocals. While the warm synthesised tones on "Abstractions" provide a convincing bed for the midtempo house beats; "Tower Twenty Three" rocks to their better-known dub-influenced ambience of former glories.

Closet to the upbeat pop of "Perpetual Dawn" and the "Little Fluffy Clouds"-era comes in the form of the enveloping "Gee Strings" latching onto today's more club-friendly tempos. Whereas "Hell's Kitchen", a meaty soundclash of genres and cacophony of beats, is evenly matched by MC Soom-T lyrical rhymes on "Aftermath".

Bicycles & Tricycles perfectly demonstrates why The Orb are still masters of the beautifully chilled and deconstructed dub. Although not as raw and earthy as their early 'experimental' material, it is representative of where enthralling electronica currently resides.

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