Describing an established artist as a ‘pioneer’ has become something of cliché in music journalism, but when it comes to an act like The Orb, nothing else seems fitting.
Now celebrating 25 years in the music industry, The Orb’s new four-disc box set brings together a selection of some of the group’s finest achievements.
Tracks like Little Fluffy Clouds and Perpetual Dawn sound as fresh and innovative as they did over two decades ago. The layered samples and technical wizardry have seldom been equalled.
Some of the more mainstream offerings, such as Toxygene, highlight an issue that seems to be inescapable with a lot of electronic music – it dates in line with its innovations.
There are points where you can’t help but be awestruck at the group’s sheer talent – it’s not often than an act can combine a flair for innovation and creativity with a good groove, but The Orb managed to balance these two often opposing forces throughout, giving tracks like The Blue Room an incredible sense of urgency and tension.
Whereas the first disc appeals to the casual fan, collecting together some of the groups most well-known songs, the second disc is a little more interesting for The Orb fan as it brings together some rare remixes from the likes of Coldcut and Mark Pritchard.
It is the third disc, however, which is the jewel in the crown of this boxset, which sees the group performing their music in front of a live audience – the energy on the record is magical.