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Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann of The Orb at Culture Box in Copenhagen.
Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann of The Orb at Culture Box in Copenhagen.

Backgrounds:Group Or Band

Origin Place:England

Years Active:1988 - Present

Categories:1990S Music Groups · Ambient Music Groups · British House Music Groups · British Techno Music Groups · English Musical Groups · Remixers · Big Life · Island Records · Kompakt

Genres:Ambient · Ambient House · Ambient Techno · Chillout · Idm

Current Members:Thomas Fehlmann

Past Members:Andy Hughes · Jimmy Cauty · Kris Weston · Simon Phillips

Associated Acts:Space · Sun Electric · System 7 · The KLF · Transit Kings

The Orb

The Orb are an English electronic music group known for popularising chill out music in the 1990s and 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.

Their early performances were inspired by ambient and electronic artists of the 1970s and 1980s, most notably Brian Eno and Kraftwerk.

Because of their "trippy" sound, The Orb developed a cult following among clubbers "coming down" from drug-induced highs.

The Orb has maintained their drug-related and science fiction themes despite personnel changes including the departure of Cauty and other Orb members Kris Weston, Simon Phillips, 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 Martin "Youth" Glover and Tim Bran of Dreadzone.

Alex Paterson prides The Orb on manipulating obscure samples beyond recognition in their albums and concerts; however, his unauthorised use of other artists' works has led to disputes with musicians, most notably with Rickie Lee Jones.

During their 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 their performance method, The Orb have maintained their colourful light shows and psychedelic imagery in concert.

These visually intensive performances prompted many critics to compare The Orb to Pink Floyd.

The Orb's critical and commercial success in the UK peaked in the early 1990s with their albums The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld and U.F.

Orb, which reached #1 on the UK Albums Chart in 1992.

This success led to their infamous appearance on Top of the Pops, where they showcased their quirky style by playing chess while the group's single "Blue Room" ran in the background.

The Orb's mid-1990s albums were met with mixed reactions from UK critics; however, their work received praise from American publications such as Rolling Stone.

They experimented with vocalists on their next two albums, which critics generally described as bland and uninspired.

The Orb shifted to the minimalist techno style spearheaded by member Thomas Fehlmann, releasing their new material on the record label Kompakt.

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