Cooking Vinyl

The Orb

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Dr. Alex Paterson is a Battersea resident, punk & acid house veteran, and founding member of The Orb. His career in music started in the early 1980s as a roadie for Killing Joke for whom his childhood friend Martin ‘Youth’ Glover played bass. After leaving the Killing Joke crew in ‘86, Paterson met future KLF member Jimmy Cauty and the duo began DJ-ing together as The Orb.

The duo started a residency in the chill out room at legendary London club night The Land of Oz at London’s Heaven. Their style of sonic tapestry DJing soon morphed naturally into making records. Then, in 1988 Alex and Youth put together the seminal acid house/Balearic label WAU! Mr. Modo Records.

Members of the Orb have been fluid over the years, with Alex remaining the constant throughout.  He has collaborated with Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd) Steve Hillage (Gong), Jah Wobble (PiL) and Robert Fripp (King Crimson).

In 1990 Paterson (and then Orb member Youth) released the bona-fide classic Little Fluffy Clouds, which borrowed a sample from Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, and transported it to another dimension.

1992 saw the single ‘Blue Room’ reach # 8 in the British charts (despite its playing time of almost 40 minutes). The Orb promoted this single by performing on Top of the Pops playing  a game of chess wearing space suits while footage of dolphins whilst an edited version of Blue Room ran in the background.

Longplayers The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld and U.F.Orb, are often cited as seminal classics and the latter reached #1 in the British album charts in 1992. Alex Paterson also co-wrote the peerless Higher Than The Sun by Primal Scream.

Thomas Fehlman has been recording and touring with the Orb worldwide since 1988. His creative journey began fully in 1976, when he studied at the Hamburg Art Academy (HFBK) under world-renowned artist Sigmar Polke.

Following a meeting with Robert Fripp in ’79, Thomas decided to start making music. He soon released a track on the Das Ist Scheonheit compilation, produced under the supervision of Tangerine Dream and Kluster musician Conrad Schnitzler. Following that, Fehlman founded the new wave/avant garde band Palais Schaumburg.

After 3 albums, 6 singles and around 150 concerts, Palais Schaumburg disbanded and Thomas  move to Berlin.  In 1985 he released his debut solo 12” as the sample-heavy Ready Made, released on Rhythm King.

In ‘88 Thomas founded the label Teutonic Beats, then took part in the Kunstdisco Project at the Goethe Institute in Seoul/Korea during the Olympics. In ‘89 he produced dancefloor classic Moving by Marathon, which reached # 1 in the UK dance charts. That year he also began his ongoing partnership with the Orb, when he co-produced Outlands from their Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld debut long-player.

In 1991 Thomas began a ongoing partnership with Moritz Von Oswald  – half of Basic Channel and Maurizio. He collaborated with Detroit legends Juan Atkins, Blake Baxter, Underground Resistance and Eddie ´Flashin´ Fowlkes for the equally legendary label Tresor, plus he worked on The Orb’s no.1 album U.F.ORB. Following that, in ‘93 Fehlman was one quarter of the ´FFWD´ collaborative album, also featuring Alex, Kris Weston and Robert Fripp

1994 marked Fehlman’s first output for R&S – the Flow EP, plus work on The Orb’s Orbus Terrarum album. The following year he joined Gudrun Gut´s Oceanclub line-up for a weekly residency at Tresor. Various remixes and productions followed, including Juan Atkins, Erasure, Klaus Schulze and Einstürzende Neubauten.

In ‘98 and ‘99 Fehlman released solo albums Good Fridge and Overflow 99 on Apollo / R&S,  the 12”s Blow Up Chimp and U God Embryo Battle on R&S, plus his first release on Kompakt – Kreisel no39 7. More Kompakt releases followed – the ´Making It Whistle´ 12” and album ´Visions Of Blah´.

2004 saw the Little Big Horn 12“ come out on Kompakt, plus the album Lowflow on Plug Research, before ‘05 saw album Okie Dokie, it´s The ORB on Kompakt hit the shops.

In ‘06 the 12” Emo Pack also came out Kompakt, as did 07 solo album Honigpumpe.

2008 saw Thomas recording his first soundtrack with Alex as The Orb, for the feature movie Plastic Planet by Werner Boote.

In 09 T.F. recorded the soundtrack for the documentary ´24hours Berlin´, which was screened on TV in its full 24 hour form across Europe. He also remixed tracks for Depeche Mode and Sigur Ros, plus The Orb album Baghdad Batteries was released.

In 2010 the 24hours Berlin soundtrack album Gute Luft was released on Kompakt and Thomas began work on the opera Moonbuilding with The Orb, which was commissioned by London’s Royal Opera House. Additionally he produced and staged a piece in Montreal based on Mahlers First Symphony, on invitation by the Symphony Orchestra Montreal and Kent Nagano.

2011 marked the release of symphonic piece ‘Titan One’ on Kompakt, which brings us back up to date. THE ORBSERVER in the star house will be the Orb’s 13th studio album.