The Orb

Impossible Oddities From Underground to Overground: The Story of Wau! Mr. Modo

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Fans of the Orb with a completist bent (and there must be some of you out there) will be thrilled by the appearance of this budget-priced three-disc retrospective of material from the vaults of legendary acid house label WAU! Mr. Modo. This is effectively another way of saying "the vaults of the Orb," the equally legendary production and writing duo of Alex Paterson and Killing Joke bassist Martin "Youth" Glover; Paterson and Youth not only produced the vast majority of these tracks, but appeared as musicians on many of them as well. Featured artists include Discotec 2000, Paradise X, Mystic Knights, Blowfly, Uncle 22, and Sound Iration, among others, and the program includes a few bona fide hits (a demo version of the Orb's "Little Fluffy Clouds," a previously unreleased version of Zoƫ's lovely "Sunshine on a Rainy Day"), but mostly offers obscurities that will be of interest primarily to established fans. That said, there is plenty here that could draw new listeners into the fold: househeads will enjoy Eternity's luxuriously long "Ashram House [Extended Mix]" and Paradise X's subtly samba-inflected "2 Much [Out of This World Mix]"; those whose tastes run more to breaks and reggae will get a bigger kick out of the two versions of Indica All Stars' "Open Our Eyes" and Sound Iration's "Seventh Seal," while those whose tastes range more broadly will enjoy the third disc, a continuous DJ mix that includes some material from the first two discs as well as additional tracks and runs the gamut from house to breaks to dubwise reggae. Paterson and Youth were some of the best producers of electronic dance music in any genre during the late '80s and early '90s, and this set is a fitting monument to their significant achievements.

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