Ambient electro legends The Orb hope to rekindle memories of unforgettable nights in Aberdeen when they headline The Lemon Tree.
The driving force behind the psychedelic groundbreakers Alex Paterson fondly remembers shows at the Pelican Club in the 1990s.
The Orb were one of a number of artists to play the sadly now long closed venue on Market Street, under the old Metro.
Renowned as one of the best clubs in not just the United Kingdom, but Europe, the Pelican Club hosted unforgettable performances by top stars such as Ritchie Hawtin (Plastikman), Jeff Mills, Dave Clarke, Andy Weatherall and Surgeon.
Alex will return to the Granite City with Le Petit Orb show at The Lemon Tree on Thursday – a set dedicated to smaller club settings.
Prior to the performance Alex will conduct a question and answer session as he journeys back through his career using his autobiography Babble On An’ Ting as the reference.
Then when the lights go down, and the music starts, Alex aims to rekindle the energy and joy of those Pelican Club years.
He said: “I remember the Pelican Club very fondly as they were fantastic nights.
“Long may nights like that continue in Aberdeen.
“I’m really looking forward to playing up there again and it’ll be a great night.
“I’m coming to Aberdeen to do a really good gig, talk about my book and surprise the world that I am still alive at more than 60-years-old.
“And hopefully still doing it and doing it well.”
Now 62 Alex formed The Orb in 1988 with Jimmy Cauty, who would go on to find worldwide fame and chart success with KLF and Justified Ancients of Mu Mu.
The ambient house of The Orb was the logical progression from the soundscapes of Brian Eno, Manuel Göttsching (Ash Ra Tempel), Tony Conrad, Cluster and Harmonia.
Debut release A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld was hugely influential when emerging in 1989.
Debut album The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld followed in 1991 and spawned the hit single Little Fluffy Clouds.
The following year U.F.Orb reached the top of the UK albums charts.
Since that initial major impact, The Orb continue to innovate and influence with 16th studio album Abolition of the Royal Familia released to acclaim last year.
Aberdeen to get preview of new material
Aberdeen is the first show on the UK tour and Alex revealed Granite City fans will get the first sneak preview of new material.
He said: “We will do a new The Orb album for 2023 and take it from there.
“We are working on that already and it will be done probably by the spring.
“We might even play a couple of those tracks live in Aberdeen.
“Just to give the people in Aberdeen an idea that we are always trying to be ahead of ourselves rather than be ahead of a game we don’t play in.
“We only want to be ahead of ourselves.”
Alex’s autobiography, written in close collaboration with Kris Needs, is out now and journeys through his time as a roadie for Killing Joke, DJing, recording with Jimmy Cauty, topping the charts with The Orb and many, many more fascinating tales.
He said: “People can stick their hands up and I will answer a few questions as well.
“I had a book come out and it is a way of going on tour, to promote something.
“So I said why not promote the book.”
Ambient house but not ambient nature
However chilled out Alex’s ambient house is, there remains a burning anti-establishment drive at his core.
Although now into his 60s there is no sign of mellowing or slowing down, especially when he surveys the current political and socio-economic climate.
*** Le Petit Orb (Live) ***
UK Tour + Alex Paterson in Conversation
Alex Paterson, along with Michael Rendall and deepvisual on projections, head out across the UK and Ireland this Autumn to perform a selection of The Orb’s finest recordings. pic.twitter.com/BZLttQ8V6o
— The Orb (@Orbinfo) September 15, 2021
He said: “It’s chaos at the moment.
“It’s quite scary and we are talking about the future for everyone here.
“It’s Big Brother. They might as well give us pocket money and take all our wages – for the poor people.
“Meanwhile all the super-rich and elite carry on doing what they want not caring about anyone else – which they are really good at.”
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Primal Scream, Brian Eno, David Gilmour, Jah Wobble
During more than 30 years at the forefront of The Orb Alex has collaborated with a host of musicians including Primal Scream, providing a mix to Higher Than The Sun on the genre-spanning Screamadelica.
In 2012 he collaborated with dub legend Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry on the album Observer in the Star House.
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, who was scheduled to play The Lemon Tree on November 11, sadly passed away in August this year at the age of 85.
Rest in peace our good friend Lee "Scratch" Perry.
He was the heart of our album "The Orbserver In The Star House".
"The upsetter the dub original specialist & chemist of the most high . The disco devil has left Babylon , lee will be forever in my heart 💜 " – Alex Paterson pic.twitter.com/DS9OF1tRDt
— The Orb (@Orbinfo) August 29, 2021
Other collaborations include ambient pioneer Brian Eno, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and former Public Image Limited bassist Jah Wobble.
UK ripe for a new music revolution
During the coronavirus lockdown, Alex remained creative and busy with the launch of a record label – Orbscure Recordings as well as working on his book.
The first release on the label was from Sedibus (Alex in collaboration with Andy Falconer).
He believes the United Kingdom is fresh for new, challenging music.
He said: “There is so much poverty and if you listen to sixties soul music like Marvin Gaye it is so relevant to what is happening now.
“It is all chaotic.
“It does make for good music though. Punk came out of lots and lots of power cuts.
“It’s all coming – just like punk. We’ll be wearing flares to really rub it in – it is going back to the seventies.
“Big moustaches as well… wait, no I won’t go there.”