14 Iced Bears – Hold On Inside: Complete Recordings 1991-1986

14 Iced Bears - Hold On Inside: Complete Recordings 1991 - 1986
14 Iced Bears - Hold On Inside: Complete Recordings 1991 - 1986

In 1986, amongst the explosion of exciting lo-fi indie pop sounds that would become known as the ‘C86 sound’, a debut single was released by a Brighton band with a peculiar name. 14 Iced Bears had signed to the local fledgling Frank Records label and released, what I thought on first hearing was a classic pop song. ‘Inside’ starts with a rough, jagged, twee yet angst-ridden guitar, before pounding tribal drums precede an ear-bleeding barrage of treble-heavy distorted guitar noise that fills the room and my head, simultaneously.  The cacophony of noise has me slightly wincing with ear-aching pain and pleasure.  The assault is lessened only by the fact that it was predated by The Jesus & Mary Chain and Meat Whiplash debut singles on Creation Records – ‘Upside Down’ and ‘Don’t Slip Up’, respectively.

‘Inside’ delivers a short, sharp shock of intense indie pop music noise as singer/songwriter Rob Sekula delivers a gentle, naked vocal that collides beautifully with the energy & rush of music.  The song comes and goes far too quickly. No time for a middle-eight.  No room for a self-indulgent guitar solo.  The 14 Iced Bears were one of hundreds of lo-fi exponents that had sprung up in opposition to over-produced commercial twaddle, and the dry ice and pomposity of Goth music.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY4KYT4eqCs

As with any period in music history, where there’s a sea-change music journalists will tag a name to it.  By 1986 the UK was certainly awash with new groups, small record labels and clubs that across the country appeared to have rekindled the ‘do-it-yourself’ punk ethic and in the process formed an uprising from…. somewhere.

The 14 Iced Bears were lumped in with the indie pop ‘scene’. In many ways they were a perfect fit.  Their sound, both live and recorded was heavily influenced by twee, jangly treble-heavy guitars and a sense of lo-fi amateurishness.  But 14 Iced Bears also had a psychedelic edge; and by the time of their debut album, they had erred further towards psychedelia and with hindsight, clearer to see they were forerunners of what became known as the ‘shoegazer’ scene.

But before the debut album, they released the exceptional ‘The Importance of Being Frank’ 12” EP & the equally absorbing ‘Come Get Me’ 7” single. The 12” included no fillers just four brilliant tracks – ‘Balloon Song’, ‘Train Song’, ‘Like a Dolphin’ & ‘Lie to Choose’.  For me, this cemented 14 Iced Bears as one of my favourite bands of the moment. They already had more great pop songs than most of their contemporaries.  ‘Come Get Me’ was released on the much coveted Bristol-based Sarah record label.  But because of the labels ‘no albums’ policy they were forced to release their eponymously titled debut album in 1988 on a third label, Thunderball Records.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBtnAskYKr8

By now the C86 ‘thing’ had passed and the UK indie music scene had dissipated.  Some groups signed for major labels in search for commercial success and other copycats & hangers-on simply fell away or changed their colours (The Soup Dragons!). But with the release of their debut album, the 14 Iced Bears sound had simply evolved and taken on new brighter, more elaborate colours.

“I genuinely think 14 Iced Bears’ eponymous debut album is a bit of a lost psych classic.” – Alexis Petridis, The Guardian

Over the course of their career, 14 Iced Bears had a pretty fluid line-up.  But always at its centre was singer/songwriter Rob Sekula. The original noise pop and C86 twee had been superseded by a heavily-influenced 1960s psych pop sound that was always present but sometimes hidden amongst the noise, pop and distortion. The album is indeed a lost and by many, forgotten classic.  ‘Take It’, ‘Spangle’ and reworked versions of ‘Train Song’ & ‘Cut’ were quite possibly overlooked as nothing more than a release out of time with shifting tastes and trends.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_YypomT76I

The influence of West Coast psychedelia continued to influence the band’s music as 14 Iced Bears continued to err closer towards psychedelic ‘shoegazer’ space releasing a further two EPs in 1989 and a second album, Wonder in 1991.

Hitherto, I was unfamiliar with the second album and listening to it afresh in 2014, it includes some great songs that still hold an essence of what I first fell in love with, coupled with a clear evolution that is clearly demonstrated when listening to this whole compilation. Through this later period they enjoyed more success on the college circuit in the US than they received in the UK.  However, the band split in 1992 and lay dormant until 2010 when Sekula resurrected the band for some live dates following a resurgence of interest.

There have been a couple of noteworthy 14 Iced Bears compilations over the past 20 years, the best of which is Hold On Inside – Complete Recordings 1991 – 1986 on Cherry Red Records. In reverse order it contains both albums and all the singles, starting with ‘Hold On’, the last track on the second album and closing with their debut single ‘Inside’.  Hence the title!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvV0fZ82cVg

Listening to this album brings back good memories.  How I met Rob and arranged a gig in Chatham. How the band came back to mine for dinner; and most of all how good the songs were and still sound so good all these years later.  As I listen to this double album I wonder why the 14 Iced Bears didn’t leave more of a mark and bigger impression on more people than they did.

Underworld reveal ‘Birdstar’ from ‘Dubnobasswithmyheadman’ 20th anniversary

Birdstar‘ is a demo from Underworld‘s ‘Dubnobasswiheadman‘ period. Many the track’s elements were subsequently used in other songs, right up until ‘Second Toughest In The Infants‘, and also utilised in a number of classic Underworld remixes, including Bjork’s ‘Human Behaviour’ and ‘Black Sky’ by Shakespears Sister.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvpjFvm2Vlw

Underworld: Dubnobasswithmyheadman 20th anniversary

Underworld will be performing the album live at the Royal Festival Hall 11th October 2014 following the release of the remastered album which will be released on 6th October 2014 in various formats & editions – CD / 2xCD deluxe / 2xLP / HD Blu-Ray / 5xCD super-deluxe.

“The most important album since The Stone Roses and the best since Screamadelica… a breathtaking hybrid that marks the moment that club culture finally comes of age and beckons to everyone” Melody Maker

“By writing ‘songs’—albeit playful, deranged ones—Underworld have come up with a solution for the facelessness that blights dance music.” NME

In January 1994, Rick Smith, Darren Emerson & Karl Hyde released their debut album – Dubnobasswithmyheadman – on independent label Junior Boy’s Own. They crafted songs from transcendent dance music. They were clearly a band – complete with frontman/guitarist – yet they made records where the constituent parts and players were often indefinable. Musically, they took elements from the European techno underground & Balearic clubs and fused them with spliced up beat poetry and strung out ambient sounds.

Underworld’s debut arrived as a fully formed statement of intent. Its’ nine tracks showcased the limitless possibilities of electronic music. Although born out of club culture, Dubnobasswithmyheadman defied the accepted genres of the time – equally suited to the dancefloor and the after party, it was as immersive an experience quaking through bassbins or headphones. Two decades on from its original release, it’s unarguable that Dubnobasswithmyheadman is one of the most influential British electronic records of all time; a signpost for everything from dance music’s easy relationship with main stages at festivals to the radio/globe-conquering EDM phenomenon.

To celebrate Dubnobasswithmyheadman’s 20th anniversary, the record has been meticulously remastered at Abbey Road for a deluxe reissue by the band’s Rick Smith. Revisiting the original MIDI files, Rick uncovered a wealth of previously unreleased material and rare alternate mixes that sit alongside the record’s original companion singles and remixes and offer a fascinating insight into the creation of the record. The resultant release is the definitive version of one of those rare records that truly deserves to be described as a classic.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KMPUjNSk58

To coincide with the re-release of Dubnobasswithmyheadman, Underworld will play the album in full at a unique show at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Saturday 11th October 2014. This show will offer fans a unique chance to see Underworld in one of the capital’s most iconic venues playing this classic album in its entirety for the first time. Tickets cost £35/£30 and are available from July 2nd.

Dubnobasswithmyheadman is the first release through Universal Music’s exclusive worldwide deal for the band’s iconic collected works. Work is under way on plans for forthcoming future deluxe, remastered editions of each of the band’s classic albums.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoA6SSEuhWk

For more information visit www.underworldlive.com

Original album tracklisting:

1.DARK & LONG

2.MMM…SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU

3.SURFBOY

4.SPOONMAN

5.TONGUE

6.DIRTY EPIC

7.COWGIRL

8.RIVER OF BASS

9.M.E

Extra disc tracklistings:

Deluxe CD2:

1. ECLIPSE

2. REZ

3. DIRTY

4.DARK & LONG (DARK TRAIN)

5.SPIKEE

6. CONCORD (3 Comp75 id9 A1771 Aug 93A)

7. CAN YOU FEEL ME? (from A4796)

8.BIRDSTAR (A1558 Nov 92B.1)

Super Deluxe:

CD2 Singles 1991 – 1994

1.THE HUMP (WILD BEAST)

2.ECLIPSE (released as Lemon Interrupt)

3. REZ

4. DIRTY (released as Lemon Interrupt)

5.DIRTYGUITAR

6.DARK & LONG (HALL’S EDIT)

7.DARK & LONG (DARK TRAIN)

8.SPIKEE

CD3 Remixes 1992 – 1994

1.MMM…SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU (JAM SCRAPER)

2.COWGIRL (IRISH PUB IN KYOTO MIX)

3.DARK & LONG (MOST ‘OSPITABLE MIX)

4.MMM…SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU (TELEGRAPH 16.11.92)

5. DARK & LONG (BURTS MIX)

6.DOGMAN GO WOOF

7. DARK & LONG (THING IN A BOOK MIX)

CD4 PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED RECORDINGS 1991 – 1993

1.CONCORD (3 Comp75 id9 A1771 Aug 93A)

2.DARK & LONG(1struffid3A15512)

3.MMM…SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU (A1765 Sky Version id4. Harmone6 COMP43)

4.MMM…SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU (After sky id6 1551 2)

5.CAN YOU FEEL ME? (from A4796)

6. BIRDSTAR (A1558 Nov 92B.1)

7.DIRTY EPIC (Dirty Ambi Piano A1764 Oct 91)

8.SPOONMAN (version1 A1559 Nov92)

9.ORGAN (Eclipse version from A4796)

10.COWGIRL(AltCowgirlC69MixfromA1564)

CD5 LIVE JAM KYME RD (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED LIVE REHEARSAL RECORDED IN THE BAND’S HOME STUDIO IN 1993)

1.MMM…SKYSCRAPER I LOVE YOU

2.IMPROV 1

3.BIGMOUTH

4.IMPROV 2

5.BIG MEAT SHOW

6.IMPROV 3

7.SPOONMAN

Killing Joke In Dub – Now That’s What I Call The Best In Dub Record In The World

Killing Joke In Dub
Killing Joke In Dub

In the mid-1970s reggae and its darker incarnations had an influence on white kids, especially in inner city, multi-cultural neighbourhoods.  Sounds and cultures clashed at parties, while police and youths clashed in the streets.  Nowhere better to find the cause and effect of how young white punks and black youths of West Indian family origins bonded as disaffected youths against the police and oppression of inner city decay than in West London.  From the mid-1970s the angst & spitting aggression of punk rock music and the chilled, laid-back vibe of dub reggae were polar opposite.  But they effected a generation of musicians who found perfect solace in both white rock noise and the heavy bottom-end bass vibrations and echo chamber space of dub reggae. The Ruts, Slits and The Clash flirted with fusing these forces with varying degrees of success.  But no other group in the late 1970s created a more powerful, mesmorising and powerful music, equal in its white punk angst and deep understanding of dub reggae culture sound than Killing Joke.

Though not originally from Notting Hill, the founding members of Killing Joke met there in 1978. Jeremy  ‘Jaz’ Coleman and drummer Paul Ferguson were joined by the two members that helped forge the unique and original post-punk groundbreaking sound of Killing Joke.  Kevin ‘Geordie’ Walker stroked his gold Guild guitar effortlessly to make a wailing wall of sound.  Whilst Martin ‘Youth’ Glover took bass inspiration, emotion and depth from dub reggae.

In 1979 I bought the first Killing Joke release, Turn To Red 12” EP, by way of an introduction from the legendary, John Peel.  It made an immediate and lasting impact on me.  The classic self-titled debut album followed the following year and included a slow version of the second single ‘War Dance’ along with timeless songs ‘Requiem’, ‘Change’ and ‘Tomorrow’s World’. Both still remain regular favourites played over 30 years later in my home, in my car, at work and on my MP3 player.

After recording a second album, What’s THIS For…! (1981), Youth left Killing Joke, only to return some 27 years later in 2008 after meeting the other original members at a funeral, following the untimely death of replacement bass player, Paul Raven.

Along the way, Youth has produced and remixed a plethora of artists and has become one of the most sort after British record producers.  On his travels he also found time to continually produce some amazing dub re-workings of Killing Joke songs; and for the first time ever, Killing Joke are officially releasing a dub album.

Killing Joke In Dub is a 3-CD release scoping Killing Joke’s 35 year back catalogue and on hearing the news of its forthcoming release, was probably the most excited I’ve  ever been for such a collection of ‘re-workings’ in my entire life. But anticipation is not always a good thing.  It can ultimately lead to disappointment.  Nostalgia can be burst with hindsight as time warps our over-inflated memories.

My own interest in Killing Joke waned shortly after the third album, Revelations (1982).  So I am unfamiliar with the original recordings of most of the songs collected here; and the only track I had previously heard was ‘a floating leaf always reaches the sea’ remix of Requiem, originally released in 1992 along with the Spiral Tribe mix of ‘Change’ (also included).

Please note: To witness the full force of this album and the quality of these dub plates, the following tracks and indeed the whole album should be heard at full volume through, if possible, the biggest baddest subwoofing motherfucker you can lay your ears on!

Killing Joke – Requiem (A Floating Leaf Always Finds The Sea mix)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgxG7Rgg5wg

CD1 kicks off with the deepest, darkest trance dub of Youth’s ‘This World Hell (Alive & Kicking Dub Remix)’.  The drums are clean and crisp in the mix, while the sub-bass throbs like a demented bulldozer, slow and effortless, shaking everything to the ground that dares to cross its path .  In my attempt to receive the full impact of what I was about to receive, I turned my stereo volume to max and turned the bass all the way down.  Dub reverb filled the room, quickly followed by  the first sub-bass warbling of the lowest end that literally blew my cat clean off her paws! Fucking awesome – there’s no other words that will more succinctly describe the shiver that started in the nape of my neck and fizzed the length of my spine.

Killing Joke – This World Hell (Alive & Kicking Dub Remix)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_uZy0hBtsE

With compilation albums such as this, I normally hear two or three gems and the rest of the album is littered with re-workings that were originally used as 12” fillers at best or standard remixes with formularized lazy beats and drops. But this is Killing Joke and these tracks were produced by Youth!

Two tracks that particularly work for me, are ‘Money Is Not Our God (Babylon Dub)’ (CD1 #2) and ‘This World Hell (Cult Of Youth Ambient Samsara Dub Mix)’ (CD2 #2).  Both are very, very heavy.

Killing Joke – Money Is Not Our God (Babylon Dub)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNbsMPalEc4

Much of the album is deep and dirty, evidence of Killing Joke’s industrial rock and Youth’s own travels into trance circles are clearly visible even in the more experimental moments.  But ‘The Raven King (Never Grow Old, Forever Now Dub)’ offers some lighter relief in an upbeat tribute to the late Paul Raven which errs towards Dreadzone in its more uplifting, commercial sounding summer-hazed dub celebration.

Killing Joke – The Raven King (Never Grow Old, Forever Now Dub)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZPeRt3hDMA

Killing Joke In Dub is 28 versions, reworking and plain dub mixes by Youth across 3 CDs titled (CD1) Apocalypse Dancehall, (CD2) Rockers Retroactive and the unimaginatively titled (CD3 Bonus Tracks). After countless hours, mainly via good quality headphones I have only encountered two, possibly three tracks I don’t care for.  My CD experience is otherwise skip-free, and to be honest, I’m currently finding every else somewhat too light and fluffy, in comparison.

Killing Joke – Tomorrow’s World (Urban Primitive Dub)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkSSaHyk77U

Killing Joke In Dub is released on 5th May and is currently occupying #1 in my ‘Best Albums of 2014’ chart.

The Orb – History Of The Future: the Island Years

The Orb - History Of The Future: the Island Years
The Orb - History Of The Future: the Island Years

The Orb are currently amidst a 25 year anniversary UK Tour promoting their current retrospective 4 CD box set, History Of The Future – The Island Years.

It seems almost incomprehensible that it’s now 25 years since Alex Paterson took his first giant steps under the banner of The Orb. Caught in the escalating rush of acid house and armed with dream-realising new technology, Alex, and whoever else was on his flight path at the time, started pumping their inherent sense of mischief into panoramic soundscapes with heavyweight beats, taking the live electronic experience to new levels.

A quarter century later, the world is a much different place after technology progressed further, changing the way music was created and heard as the next century got under way. By then, The Orb had already charted a fearlessly wayward course, while unleashing one of the most uncompromisingly innovative bodies of work of the last century, no sound too extreme or source too cheeky.

This is why we’re gathered here today – to mark The Orb’s Silver Jubilee with a collection of landmarks from their first two decades, plus a bunch of extra treats. When Alex took those first, tentative steps 25 years ago he was in the throes of the second revolution to erupt in his life after punk‘s big bang. Acid house opened up a new form of anarchy, using machines before they were changed to protect the innocent. There was always attitude in the Orb’s ambience, as Alex declared more than once, “we’ve got the same attitude as punk rock.”

After Alex and first Orb partner Jimmy Cauty’s initial dalliances in Cornwall, the first major statement under The Orb name was 1989’s A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Universe, among early releases on Alex and Youth’s W.A.U. Mr Modo label.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qexS5hBB1C0

Tellingly, this set starts with a high definition declaration of dance floor domination with the thunderous Orbital Dance Mix of the track which appeared on July, 1990’s A Huge Ever Growing Remix EP.

This key track in Orb lore appears here in three different incarnations, also including 1991’s Aubrey Mix Mk II ambient version from 1991’s Aubrey Mixes: The Ultra World Excursions, with crashing waves and clucking chickens lashing the pivotal melody.  The live version shows how the track could also be cranked into the ultimate, all-going-off set closer. When it provided their 20 minute Peel session in December, 1989, it became the most requested in the show’s history.

The follow-up, Little Fluffy Clouds, (which started life in Alex’s bedroom at the infamous Coach House he was then sharing with Youth), was created at that magical time when sampling technology offered new oceans of possibilities (which turned into a Pandora‘s Box of litigation as claims rained in after these first innocent flurries of exploration).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHixChYgGRI

1990’s Little Fluffy Clouds kicked off with English country narrative from Face The Facts presenter John Waite before the famous Rickie Lee Jones promo interview snippet which came with her Flying Cowboys album. Demonstrating the unlikely sources which separated the genuinely creative from mindless plagiarism, the beats hail from a Harry Nilsson track, introduced by Ennio Morricone harmonica. Coldcut, who’d been developing their own strain of underground sonic science, are here with their aptly-titled Heavyweight Dub Mix.

Next single from 1991’s Adventures Beyond The Ultra World was psychedelic reggae outing Perpetual Dawn, here heard in its Solar Youth version and the first of Andrew Weatherall’s cataclysmic pair of Ultrabass remixes, underpinned by Jah Wobble‘s chest-rattling bass.

Blue Room itself is a stratospheric epic with long-time mucker Steve Hillage‘s ether-surfing guitar, Miquette Giraudy‘s ghostly synths plus sirens, NASA astronauts and disemboided vocal, again underpinned by Jah Wobble’s inimitable Earth’s core-shaking basslines.

Clocking in at a second below the 40 minute limit imposed by chart compilers Gallop, Blue Room was released as a twelve-inch single on June 8, reaching number eight as the  longest single to make the charts. It’s here in three versions – the single edit, live and Excerpt 605 on the rarities disc.

U.F. Orb was unveiled to the media at London’s Planetarium. It came as a shocked but air-punching triumph when the album invaded the charts at number one. It continues its mighty presence on this collection with Majestic and Close Encounters appearing in disc two’s remixes.

Close Encounters showed how The Orb could deliver floor-destroying techno, working with Glasgow titans Stuart MacMillan and Orde Meikle, aka Slam, who‘d recently started their Soma label while running the raging inferno of their Slam club. If the original version was dominated by the astonishingly crowd-levitating groove, disc two’s ambient version brings out myriad other subtleties.

Disc three captures the sonic splendour of the live Orb show around this time, drawn from Trekkoner, Copenhagen and Woodstock 2 in 1993-94, hotwiring singles and album highlights with the spontaneous combustion of the duo‘s live mixing, which meant every gig was different. They were also playing a song called Assassin – 1992’s next single. Originally a fluid slab of astral funk draped in radioactive sonic worms, it became a prime example of an Orb piece spreading its wings live in various directions, appearing here as single edit and in two different live incarnations.

1993 saw angry grey streaks appearing in the little fluffy clouds, manifesting as the dark side of The Orb in mid-1994’s abrasive Pomme Fritz (The Orb’s Little Album), fired by rekindled punk spirit with anger often the energy.

Released in July 1994, Pomme Fritz sparked hostility everywhere from record company to press, although it still made number six in the UK charts (though not this set!).

With slate wiped clean, The Orb could move on and make their under-rated masterpiece Orbus Terrarum. This  double-album epic of astonishing complexity, breadth and depth continued Alex’s exploring of a, “collage of noises that had never been heard before in that sort of music”, venturing into avant garde, musique concrete and classical realms, shot with the wildest dub.

With bassist Simon Phillips and percussionist Nick Burton also still around, The Orb set off on the album’s orchestral dub voyages, including the supremely evocative Oxbow Lakes, here in its album version.

Alex could now reflect on “two years of pretty hard labour” which had seen everything change, including record company, management and musical collaborators. There was still pressure to set their controls for the heart of the charts as Orbus Terrarum had just scraped the top 20 while there hadn’t been a huge single, so it came as another surprise when Toxygene reached number four in the singles chart in February, 1997; The Orb’s highest placed single yet. As a result, mothership album Orblivion sold well too.

The hit came with a beautiful slice of Orb-lore. During the ‘90s, The Orb trotted out remixes for a galaxy of artists, from Primal Scream to Robbie Williams, even a U2 knock-back, as Alex stuck to his motto, “you get an Orb track with bits of song on it.” Jean Michel Jarre’s 1977 hit Oxygene was a hugely-influential electronic landmark. To celebrate its 20 year anniversary, the French composer had created a sequel called Oxygene 7-13, The Orb were called to remix Oxygene 8. The composer was not too pleased remarking, “It’s not that I didn’t like it, but I wanted the first wave of remixes to be linked with Oxygene’s theme and textures.’ Alex simply took his remix, retitled it ‘Toxygene’ [after being out-voted on ‘Toxic Genes’] and released it as first single from the album it had just found a home in, a hit in its own right. The single was released in a pink box containing two CDs with mixes inclusing Ganja Kru’s drum ’n’ bass workout (included here).

Orblivion featured a more streamlined Orb with Alex, Thomas and Andy, plus Steve Hillage, Miquette Girady and tour DJ Lewis Keogh. The object of the exercise this time seems to be how much fun they can have bending melodies and beats into new dimensions. After the ambient exploits of the previous two albums, the vibe around Orblivion was that The Orb were back in a funky mood, without trying to lead or start new trends because they’d already done that.

Next single was Asylum, a pulsing electro beast co-written with tour DJ Lewis Keogh, riding a gently squelching riff draped in lazy steel guitar and Detroit techno melody. The track is here in its album version.

After the unfettered creativity of the Orblivion phase and top five success of the single, darker clouds were again gathering again towards the end of the century. Although recorded through 1999, the delightfully multi-hued Cydonia got caught up in internal record label reshufflings, meaning it wasn’t released until 2000. Named after the area of Mars where the Viking space craft photographed a Sphinx-like face, Cydonia remains one of the most diverse and overlooked items in the Orb arsenal.

The core team of Alex, Andy Hughes, Thomas Fehlmann, Simon Phillips and Nick Burton was joined by Fil de Gonidec [another old Killing Joke mucker], Sabrettes’ Nina Walsh and Freaky Realistic singer Aki Omori, who unleashed her sepulchral vocals on a traditional Vietnamese melody for first single, Once More.

Meanwhile, Nina co-wrote and sang some of Alex‘s old lyrics on second single Ghostdancing, whose lustrous, hallucino-sheened future pop inevitably incurred flak for daring to venture near traditional song forms. This was  easily dismissed by Alex: “This may be but they were ORB pop songs,“ while adding that, “Ghostdancing is probably one of the best Orb tunes we’ve ever done.” Disc two features the spectral textures of Mark Pritchard’s sumptuously deep remix.

There we have it: all aspects of the Orb in one boxset: the singles which took them to mass success, remixes which kept the underground happy, the kind of live show which blazed a trail for others to take dance music to the stadiums, plus some of the amazing videos which accompanied most of the singles assembled here.

The Orb – History Of The Future: The Island Years

Disc One – The Singles Collection

Disc One – The Singles Collection
01: A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre of the Ultraworld: Loving You – Orbital Dance mix (Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty)
02: Little Fluffy Clouds Single version
03: Perpetual Dawn, Solar Youth mix
04: Blue Room, 7” version
05: Assassin, 7” version (Alex Paterson, Kris Weston and & DJ Lewis)
06: Oxbow Lakes, Album version
07: Asylum, Album version
08: Toxygene, Album version
09: Once More, Album version
10: Ghost Dancing, Album version

Disc Two – Remixes and Rarities
01: A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre of the Ultraworld: Loving You Aubrey Mix Mk II (Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty )
02: Little Fluffy Clouds, Coldcut Heavyweight Dub mix
03: Perpetual Dawn, Andrew Weatherall Ultrabass 1 mix
04: Blue Room, Excerpt 605
05: Majestic, Heavy Mix (The Orb and Youth)
06: Close Encounters, Smile, You’re On Camera mix (The Orb and Slam)
07: Assassin, Another Live mix
08: Toxygene, Ganja Kru mix
09: Once More, Mark Pritchard mix

Disc Three – Live In Copenhagen & Woodstock
01: Towers of Dub, Live @ Trekkoner Sunset Gig, Copenhagen ‘93
02: Little Fluffy Clouds, Live @ Trekkoner Sunset Gig, Copenhagen ‘93
03: Blue Room, Live @ Trekkoner Sunset Gig, Copenhagen ‘93
04: Star 6 & 7 8 9, Live @ Trekkoner Sunset Gig, Copenhagen ‘93
05: Valley, Live @ Trekkoner Sunset Gig, Copenhagen ‘93
06: Assassin, Live at Woodstock 2, USA ‘94

Disc Four – DVD
01: Little Fluffy Clouds, Promotional video
02: Perpetual Dawn, Promotional video
03: Assassin, Promotional video
04: Oxbow Lakes, Promotional video
05: Pomme Fritz, Promotional video
06: Toxygene, Promotional video
07: DJ Asylum, Promotional video
08: Once More, Promotional video
09: Blue Room, Top Of The Pops ‘92
10: Toxygene, Top Of The Pops ‘97
11: Little Fluffy Clouds, Live from T In The Park
12: Perpetual Dawn, 10” TV advert

The Orb – 25 Anniversary UK Tour Dates

6th Nov Gloucester, Guildhall
8th Nov Bridport, Electric Palace
9th Nov Nottingham, Marcus Garvey Centre
10th Nov Holmfirth, Picturedrome
13th Nov Exeter, Pheonix
14th Nov Bournemouth, Old Firestation
15th Nov Hebden Bridge, Traders
16th Nov Dublin, Button Factory
17th Nov Buckley, Tivoli Venue
24th Nov Cambridge, Corn Exchange

For more information visit www.theorb.com and www.facebook.com/TheOrb.

Billy Mackenzie – Outernational – Expanded Edition

Outernational by Billy Mackenzie
Outernational by Billy Mackenzie

A timely reissue of Billy MacKenzie‘s first solo album ‘Outernational‘ plus bonus tracks. William MacArthur “Billy” MacKenzie first came to musical prominence through his involvement in the much loved band The Associates in the early 1980’s. This was his first album release after the split with fellow Associate, Alan Rankine.

The album was originally released in 1992 on Circa Records and contains the two singles ‘Baby‘ and ‘Colours Will Come‘.

This digitally remastered ‘extended edition’ CD features the ten tracks of the original album release and four bonus tracks including mixes/remixes of ‘Colours Will Come – US 60659 Mix‘ by Larry Heard, ‘Feels Like The Richtergroove‘ by Mike Koglin, ‘Look What You’ve Done – Marital Mix‘ and the beautiful ‘Because You Love‘.

The CD booklet features an expanded version of the original artwork and includes a detailed UK discography and sleeve notes.

Speaking of the ‘Outernational‘ album to Record Collector magazine in 1994 MacKenzie gave his impression of the album “I think it has a glacial beauty. It doesn’t always have to be demonstrative. Fire can burn, but so can ice. And that would direct the attention to the lyrical content as well. Some of it had a lot of religious connotations, like “Colours Will Come”. I think that it’s an emotionally detached album in some ways, but it also has a strong message. Maybe it appeared like I wasn’t trying or expressing, or that there was a block. But it wasn’t. There was a calmness and a lot of beauty in that album.

Billy MacKenzie committed suicide following the death of his mother aged just 39 on 22nd January 1997, leaving behind a lasting musical legacy.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KML_1jDPNpc

The expanded edition of ‘Outernational‘ by Billy Mackenzie is released on Cherry Red Records.

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