Album-length despite featuring just three tracks, the Orb's contribution to the Peel Sessions series represents one of the most eagerly awaited releases in the entire catalog. It draws from two sessions held less than a year apart: at the first, broadcast on December 19, 1989, the duo performed just one track, a 20-plus-minute version of "A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From the Center of the Universe"; the second, on October 13, 1990, brought "Back Side of the Moon (Tranquility Lunar Orbit)" and "Into the Fourth Dimension: Essenes in Starlight" into play, all three monstrous blobs of shifting ambience into which Alex Patterson and company hurl a wealth of samples, effects, and mood changes.
It is their debut session that remains the most remarkable, even in the light of all that the Orb have since accomplished. Patterson recalled, "I just started throwing all these samples at Jimi Cauty -- waves, birdsongs, jets, old sci-fi play excerpts, those 'aahs' off Grace Jones' "Slave to the Rhythm," and Minnie Riperton's "Loving You." [He] did this great live mix really quick -- I think it was the best mix we ever did of that."
The session caused an immediate stir; indeed, for months to come it remained the most-requested session for repeat broadcast, and was still being talked about when the Orb, now comprising Patterson and System 7 cohorts Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy, returned to the BBC ten months later.
By comparison, this second session is less remarkable -- but only by comparison. Again, the sheer improvisational genius of the performances is boggling; many listeners have, over the years, become immune to the stark beauty of the Orb's early recordings, sated by so many below-par imitations. Recorded when the music was still young, these sessions remind listeners how fresh it really is.