Impenetrable darkness is all around you. A voice speaks: “First, God does not exist. But don’t worry, what does exist is good, as opposed to evil. So, if you believe in God, you believe in good, and that’s as it should be. You’ll be just fine. If you believe in evil, then you probably need a whack on the back of the neck with a big fucking stick.” BANG! The loud sound comes from the dome above you, where countless stars, planets, and moons have been projected . . .
It’s refreshing that a band with a turbulent 25-year career plagued by bitter break-ups and record label issues can still come out of the gates swinging with something entirely original and compelling. Moonbuilding 2703 AD is the newest full-length from The Orb, anchored by Alex Paterson and joined by long-time collaborator Thomas Fehlmann for this release. There’s a reason these guys are known as the “fathers of ambient house.”
The format of the album — four lengthy tracks, three well over the 10-minute mark — will delight long-time devotees, because it presents the ideal environment for delving into the fleshed-out, ethereal worlds created by the duo. This is a celestial journey through pulsing house, otherworldly ambience, and J Dilla-influenced hip-hop peppered with jazz instrumentation. It’s the kind of far-reaching trip only The Orb can provide.
The tracks are less akin to traditional songs, and function more effectively as compact DJ sets that evolve fluidly through a myriad of dynamics. The choice to dress the release as a concept record makes a lot of sense, because it provides a captivating, underlying narrative that grounds their spaced-out music in something concrete and accessible. If you’re seeking celestial, experimentally progressive electronics, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)