Review: The Orb At Electric Brixton
The venue known as Electric in Brixton (by the Notting Hill exiles who seem to have taken over the district), or The Fridge, as known by everyone over 35 was the location for The Orb’s first ever gig so this is a bit of a home match and despite the conventional gig start time (9pm prompt), and typical Orb fodder operating more effectively to a crowd way more fucked up than this, although plenty or rave uncles made sure they made the most of a now rare night out, they end the gig triumphantly.
After DJ sets by both Patterson and current Orb cohort, Thomas Fehlmann (mega points to the former for blasting out classic Kompakt 12 'Robson Ponte' by Reinhard Voigt at plus 6 at 8.30pm to a half bemused half thrilled crowd, the lights dim, the weird disorientating samples begin, it’s time to get immersed into the Ultraworld.
Sometimes it's just Fehlmann and Patterson on stage but the gig works more effectively with the rest of the band put together. Not only is Gong legend Steve Hillage in the band but in Youth they not only have one of the best producers in the world with them, but as part of the original line up of Killing Joke, one of the best rock bassists whose enthusiasm for being on stage is majorly contagious. Making up the rhythm section, Paul Cook (ex Sex pistols) brings a robust edge to what is naturally floaty material, when they come back on stage to play 12” track ‘Occidental’, the BPMS are ramped up for one last dance, watching a man pushing 60 desperately trying to play along to a sizzling techno is an amazing site, as is the crazy aural chemist who plays all sorts from triangles to Theremin, he probably manages to make a sound out of radioactivity emitted from everyone's phones.
As adventures of the Ultraworld pushes 25 its stature as an essential piece of British electronic music is guaranteed, so when the crowd cheer bird samples it's not ridiculous, (well, it is..), it's not regressive, it's celebratory. We're not talking impulsive group hugs dripped with synthetic euphoria here, it's not 91, it’s been replaced by people taking pictures of the impressive later and smoke show, or a really smug tweet boasting about good the show was to people who didn’t want to go anyway.
When they bust out an unbelievable 20 plus minute version of ‘A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain’, or when they shake the walls with bass during heavy dub versions of ‘Perpetual Dawn’, and ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ towards the end of the set, the audience is quite rightly awestruck by what is happening to not only their ears, but eyes also.
Even though the days of their commercial cross over are long gone, they've remained impressively productive with over fifteen releases since the nineties and another due shortly on Kompakt, they're still finding new ways of making new ambient sounds, for now though it's time to celebrate, which we did.
Looking back at the 'school of 91 shows that there are albums from that year with the potential to be celebrated in another 25 years time, Screamadelica, Blue Lines, Nevermind, Low End Theory, Loveless, Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld is certainly amongst them.