The Orb

Okie Dokie It's the Orb on Kompakt

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Absurd title aside, Okie Dokie marks the Orb's absolute absorption into Cologne's Kompakt label, following a series of 12" releases and compilation appearances dating back to late 2002. The principal factor is Thomas Fehlmann, a longtime associate and Kompakt elder statesman whose presence is felt on every track, consequently inhibiting Alex Paterson's whimsical impulses. There are no incongruous vocal appearances, silly spoken bits, or lumbering dubwise squibs. All the unnerving flights of fancy and widespread deficiencies that made Cydonia and Bicycles & Tricycles the slightest Orb albums have been washed away, exchanged for a stern focus and a series of productions that are also consistent for their even level of quality. The Orb's assimilation into the label is such that the best cross references aren't their albums of the recent past, but Kompakt's Pop Ambient series, Fehlmann's own Visions of Blah, and Triola's Triola im Fünftonraum instead, all of which carry some of Paterson's DNA. The sequence here flows as well as that of the Triola album, with transitions so smooth that it would be easy to misjudge the dynamic range of rhythms and sounds. Half the tracks originate on 12" releases and Kompakt 100, but they're typically tweaked in some form and fit ideally into the album's scheme, so those who are familiar with the overlap shouldn't feel shortchanged. "Lunik TM" is the most drastic rework, featuring an effectively detached guest vocal from Schneider TM that appears over the original's ambient skank. "Cool Harbour" appeared on a single and Schaffelfieber 2, but its breezy grind is a welcome return, bridging "Beatitude"'s twinkling trudge to "Traumvogel"'s gorgeously graceful modern-day amalgam of Gas, Tangerine Dream, and Global Communication. Okie Dokie is a prime, stimulating example of what can happen when innovators find themselves inspired by younger producers who have been deeply influenced by their work.

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