“The group's live dates ... became their forte, breaking down the boundaries which had previously separated electronic music from rock. An Orb show encompassed the best elements of performance hall and club, with colorful light shows and visuals, and a relaxed, positive groove rarely found in electronic circles.” (John Bush, All Music Guide)
THE ORB is known as the godfather of the electronic music genre known as ambient house. Frontman Dr. Alex Patterson has worked with rotating collaborators to create the Orb since its creation in 1988, and has provided a musical oasis by layering synthwork and looped effects over the slowed down rhythms of classic Chicago house. Inspired by ambient artists such as Brian Eno, Patterson concocted the first “chill-out” music by sampling everything from BBC nature recordings, to dialogue from PBS children's show "Reading Rainbow."
With the Orb’s instant fame as the pioneer of the post rave ambient genre, Big Life was quick to sign the group. In 1991 the Orb released their debut album “The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld.” Patterson along with Kris Weston (aka Thrash) toured Europe and continued to expand their notoriety by giving audiences a barrage of stunning aural and visual delicacies previously unparalleled for a dance act. With Thrash mixing live and Alex using myriad samplers, effects, and loops, it was confirmed that no two Orb performances would ever be the same.
In 1992 the Orb would enter the Guinness Book of World records with the longest single ever to break into Britain’s charts at just under 40 minutes. They continued to awe audiences and create new standards with their spectacular live show which now incorporated an even more brilliant visual display while previewing their new album, “U.F. Orb” -- which made its way to the top of UK’s charts. Their performances became "events,” and to document three of their major gigs “Live 93” was released, which included the Copenhagen performance with the band atop a floating stage in a coastal port and performed two sets, one at sunset and one at sunrise.
“Live 93” was released internationally on Island, and followed in 1994 with “Pomme Fritz.” This was a musical departure from the ambient house genre which the Orb fashioned, by involving harsher rhythms. The album also saw less collaboration with Kris Weston, and by early 1995 Weston parted ways with the Orb.
Throughout the late nineties the Orb worked with Andy Hughes and longtime collaborator Thomas Fehlmann to create “Orbus Terrarum” released in 1995 and 1997’s “Orblivion.” In 1998 the Orb toured as “Le Petit Orb” which was a stripped down show which enabled the Orb to travel more freely and perform in more intimate venues without elaborate stage shows.
2001 saw the release of the Orb’s sixth studio album “Cydonia” which continued to explore the experimental edges of electronica, techno and drum’n’bass, and featured Jim Roome who replaced Hughes in 2000. In support of this record Moby invited the Orb to his Area One Tour alongside New Order, The Roots, and Outkast, among other notable artists.
“Bicycles and Tricycles” was released in 2004 on Sanctuary records and in 2005 “Okie Dokie, It’s the Orb on Kompakt” was released, with an obvious nod the numerous label changes throughout the Orb’s 15+ year career. “Okie Dokie…” features more involvement from member and longtime collaborator Thomas Fehlmann, and includes all of the creative and genre-pushing elements that have kept the Orb in the forefront of electronic music.
After spending time touring as Le Petit Orb, Dr. Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann return with their full show as the Orb, and inaugurate Walt Disney Concert Hall with their full show, providing the sensory explosion that has redefined electronic and dance music for the past two decades.