Album of the Week: The Orb – No Sounds are out of Bounds

There’s something comforting in the fact that the Orb is still releasing music. The Alex Paterson endeavour has always represented something unencumbered, music that never gets weighed down in time, trend or style. Although the Orb was tagged early on as an Ambient project through classic tracks like Little Fluffy Clouds and Blue Room, their music incorporated elements of dub and world influences, underpinned by themes taken from science fiction.

The allure of the Orb was always about complete escapism, and their music offered a journey through music, moving parallel with the rave culture of the nineties, but at the same time living beyond the constraints of the dance floor too. Records like “The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld ” and “U.F.Orb” were albums that you could put on at home at the end of a night out and today they life on as electronic music classics, right alongside the artists that inspired them like Kraftwerk and Brian Eno.

Paterson has always toed a unique line in the margins of electronic music and working with the likes of leftfield characters from Jimmy Cauty (The KLF) and Lee Scratch Perry to Thomas Fehlmann, the Orb has hardly conformed to any singular stylistic traits in electronic music through the years and it continues to do so today with the latest album,  “No Sounds are out of Bounds.”

Combining elements of dub, ambient music and electronica, the Orb’s latest album lives up to its name. Artists from diverse corners of music namely Jah Wobble, Roger Eno (Brian’s little brother) and Hollie Cook make guest appearances on the album as if to drive this point home. Pieces like “Pillow fight @ shag mountain” come together like an abstract collage, refusing to lay down roots in anything concrete that could define the sound of the album.

There’s a happy, melodic temperament to the record however, something that has always manifested itself in the Orb’s music. Any conceptual science fiction themes eludes us on listening to the album, but that sense of a journey is still very palpable on “No Sounds are out of Bounds” and it feels that Paterson and co. has travelled to the furthest recesses to find these sounds and bing them together for this album. They’ve not covered any new ground as the Orb, but have found yet another new point of convergence for the disparate sounds that inform the project.