Bless You

Various Artists

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by Rick Anderson

There are some things you can safely assume about an Orb album before you ever hear it: It will be spacy, it will be weird, it will be long (and if the overall program isn't long, the individual tracks will be). Beyond that, all bets are off. Since beginning the Orb project in 1989, Alex Paterson has reinvented it with almost every release. Now calling it, Paterson seems to be reconceiving the Orb as a remix project for the Internet age. The first disc of this two-CD set offers 12 tracks by 11 artists (two are credited to the Orb), all of them predictably spacy and weird, but most of them riding a definite beat: There is the Orb's swinging "Cool Harbour," the Squarepusher-ish "Barbie Girl" by Electric Chairs, and a gently funky little gem by Creature called "'Ow Much?," which is based equally on vintage-rock organ and a sample of a nimble-tongued auctioneer. There is also, unfortunately, the boring and extremely overlong "Firefly" by Loophead. Disc two is a bit more consistent; the audio portion is briefer and tighter (Fusionic's "Intron" is especially fine), but it also includes a CD-ROM program that features samples from the Orb catalog and miscellaneous tidbits that will be of interest to fans. Recommended.

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