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Published: 2013/06/11
by Brian Robbins

The Orb featuring Lee Scratch Perry
More Tales From The Orbservatory

The End Records

Usually, if you referred to something as “more of the same,” it would be with a shrug and an “Eh.” But in the case of the latest collaboration between The Orb and dub god Lee “Scratch” Perry, “more of the same” is a resounding (and heavily echoed with a killer bass line underneath) two thumbs up. In short, if you enjoyed last fall’s Orb/Perry outing,, The Orbserver In The Star House, then More Tales From The Orbservatory is a guaranteed smile smile smile.

Orb principals Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann once again prove they get the loony magic of Scratch. While there is a standing invitation to move something throughout the album, it never overshadows Perry’s performance: wordplay that rolls and tumbles, chasing Scratch’s muse of the moment – with a knack for seeming its most pointless and rambling just before it delivers a nugget of wisdom (or not). Don’t overthink this thing: just dig it.

Basically, More Tales is part II of The Orbserver – only a little more textured and dubbed out. The sequencing is old school and ready for vinyl: a side of new tunes and the flip all instrumentals; mixes that shift the layers around to find the grooves betwixt the existing grooves.

The album-opening “Fussball” is worthy of its position: there’s no way you’re going to hear it without being gathered in. Scratch provides his own running commentary on the fine points of the game – “Kick de ball – shuffle, shuffle, shuffle – and then you kick de ball” – while The Orb spins big, walloping bass and wumpwump all around/above/behind/beneath him. Sample bits of stadium roar appear, vaporizing just as quickly. “Kick de ball” advises Perry. Yes; yes, we will.

“Hit me with your music!” Scratch commands in the opening moments of “Africa” and The Orb obliges with a thick rhythm weave laced with threads of what sounds like breathy flute. “Don’t Rush I” takes its time setting up a neat yin/yang between The Orb’s tense-feeling soundscape and Perry’s dreamy rap. “Making Love In Dub” is as thick and gooey as you could hope for. And you can easily imagine pure white light streaming down on Perry during his “No Ice Age” sermon – mixed with flashes of red, gold, and green, of course. (“Magic! Peace!” are Perry’s last words on the track. Think about it.)

The instrumental versions that make up the second half of More Tales from The Orbservatory are fun and easy to get lost in – the kind of stuff that The Orb mastered a long, long time ago, but still offer up with the passion of rookie geniuses. If there’s anything to wish about this album, it would be to have more Scratch … but let’s not be greedy.

Eat what’s on your plate and then we’ll worry about more.

*****

Brian Robbins kicks the fussball around over at www.brian-robbins.com

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