The Orb: New Album with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry


From the moment The Orb‘s multi-hued spacecraft careered off the launch-pad, this has been a collision begging to happen: a full collaboration with Lee “Scratch” Perry, one of reggae’s greatest pioneers and personalities.

Recorded in Berlin over the last few months, The Orbserver in the Star House sparks with a rare magic as Dr. Alex Paterson and long-time Orb member Thomas Fehlmann construct a panorama of perfect, stripped-down backdrops for the Upsetter’s inimitable pronouncements, righteous declarations and sweet vocals.

The album’s inception can be traced back to 2004 when Dr Paterson played a DJ and toaster set with Lee in Mexico. “I had an amazing time being that close to the great man,” enthuses Dr. Paterson. “I played a dub set, Earl 16 was Greg Dread’s toaster, Mad Professor had his ladies, then there was the legendary Lee Scratch Perry; he’s a genius who expresses the future within the present times of anguish, hope and unity.”

Scratch’s vocals glide distinctively over bass-heavy monsters such as “Soulman” and “Man In The Moon”, the most overt Orb-dub behemoth on the set, while “Don’t Rush” takes the ridim form then dismantles it in subterranean sonic catacombs. House grooves inflect “H.O.O.” and “Ashes”, while a funky slide bass-line percolates under “Thirsty”. “Hold Me Upsetter” sparkles with lovely bass-string interplay and Congo brings in rolling banks of African percussion.

Both parties rework one of their classics; “Police And Thieves”, the track which Perry produced for Junior Murvin in 1976, is turned into a dubwise vocal vehicle, while The Orb’s “Little Fluffy Clouds” is reshaped as the hallucinogenic dancehall clatter of “Golden Clouds”.

The mouth-watering prospect of a true master working with long-time acolytes who tuned into his unique wavelength long ago, blossoms and explodes on The Orbserver in the Star House, which, in the best Scratch and Orb tradition, often takes music to where it’s never been before.

Click below to download the track “Hold Me Upsetter” off the new album.


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