Picks and Pans Review: Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld
Dance music is not just for the strobe-light crowd anymore. It's now fit for sofa enjoyment too. The Orb's meditative music, nearly devoid of vocals, combines the airy starkness of new age with the druggy beat of acid house. It goes by the tag "ambient house."
The album's eight "orbits" are more sonic concepts than actual songs, heavy-lidded and drowsy yet surprisingly vivid. Included in the loony mix are fragments of hip-hop, reggae, ghostly choral music, and highway, ocean and helicopter sound effects and samples of Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You."
If all that doesn't get you ambulating around the coffee table, try the finale, "A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld." It's a 20-minute crescendo full of startling sound bites that leap from the speakers and invade the living room. (Big Life/Mercury)