The Orb

Once More [#1]

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Comedic ambient house has customarily been frowned upon in music's litter box: the abstracted Eno-isms sound interminable to the ears of hedonistic club soldiers and, coupled with the genre's more bonker attributes, its very same absurdities often force the aloof downtempo crowd to sniff and roll many an eye. For awhile, the Orb were actually one of the few electronic pioneers to be embraced by both poles. It didn't last long, of course, which makes it a small shame that "Once More" -- the band's first follow-up material in almost six years -- will likely land with a thud. Vivid, dreamlike calls by Japan's Aki Omori float over the Orb's usual beveled surfaces, attempting to reconfigure the ambient dub soundscape yet only ending up with "Blue Room" for Olive admirers. A notable remix by Mark Pritchard puts a little breakbeat sass into the lackluster squalor and Bedrock (John Digweed) meddles enough to let it transform into some trance mutant, but one can't drive away the feeling of the single being less a return tour de force than an ambivalent trip home.

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