I can almost *taste* the transparent TDK90 cassette with ‘Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’ recorded onto it, I loved it that much 😂. I can clearly conjure the memory of my cousin’s bold handwriting on the sticker across the body of the tape – green sharpie, all caps: THE ORB. I don’t remember if I stole it from her or if she gave it to me, but I suspect the former as it would take me years to find out what this album was actually called 😉 Those two words were all I had to go on. As a 12year-old kid who’d had a pretty turbulent childhood, this tape was my first safe space – mentally, spiritually and musically – a complete palette of sounds to soothe, to feel uplifted by and get lost inside. Years before I started going to free parties or being part of any scene, the die was cast: I was going to be a raver, lose myself in the sub, still be dancing at dawn when the sun rises and everything is touched by the purity and brilliance of a new day, still be awake at dusk to gaze into the horizon and answer the question, “What were the skies like when you were young?” As it happened, jungle was just around the corner and the crunchy down-tempo Amens I first encountered on Little Fluffy Clouds would soon skitter all the way up to 160bpm, taking me with them for the following decade, but I didn’t know that then and I certainly didn’t need that then: I needed to centre and CHILL >>>> and The Orb made that space for me.
Fast forward to 2019, and I was a bit blown away to find myself supporting founder member, Alex Paterson, on a warm evening in early July on my home turf in East Anglia, at Colchester Arts Centre, almost exactly 1 year since I’ve put myself ‘out there’ as a solo artist.
For this gig I wanted to take Paterson’s audience on a 45-minute synth journey from squealing high-jinks FM to stripped-back, bit-crushed sub, layered with sympathetic strings and plinks courtesy of the Rings, vocals hazing in out and from the Radio Music, all held together by a backbone of 909 drums. I was determined to play this one 100% live, forgoing a ‘break glass in case of emergencies’ laptop, which is also an important milestone for me. I’ve put together two bits of phone footage to give viewers at home a flavour 😉 It was an absolute honour to play at this level – the sound system and light show was amazing. It all just came together beautifully on the night, as if it was meant to be ❤
Alex’s set banged of course! But that goes without saying, right?
Next stop #LadiesofModular / Brighton Modular Meet on 19th July, hope to see some of you on the south coast for a weekend of workshops, performances and nerd chat.