The Orb featuring Lee Scratch Perry: The Orbserver In The Star House (CD, Cooking Vinyl, August 2012)

I admire The Orb. I own a couple of seminal works. In practice, I don’t listen to them all that often. And I’m highly sceptical of their more recent efforts. I think they fell into the ambient sandtrap: the genre is inherently loosely structured, but there’s an elusive something which saves the good stuff from being incoherent and inconsequential… The Orb had it, and they lost it. I feel kind of the same way about Lee Scratch Perry. So, I listened to samples of this record more out of curiosity than expectation. And I was very pleasantly surprised. I think a big part of it is that, in his late seventies, he’s clearly having huge fun: he just rambles in a supremely relaxed fashion, he oozes charisma, and I can’t help feeling happy with him. The Orb’s ambient loops and squiggles are a great counterpoint, and make so much more sense with Perry’s vocals to play off and around. I guess the most immediately noteworthy tracks are Golden Clouds (which starts with a husky-voiced woman asking “So, Mr Perry, what were the skies like when you were young?”, and does feature a guest appearance from the famous Steve Reich loop, but is very much it’s own song) and Police & Thieves (which is rather closer to a cover version). But there’s just as much pleasure to be found in Perry advising “If you tirsty, drink some water”, and heading off from there. This is a disarmingly charming record, and it’s really great to hear two such talents bringing the best out of each other and producing work that stands proudly with their classics.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Dub / Reggae.

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