As electronic music becomes ever more aggressively hyped and marketed—it's the Next Big Thing, don'tcha know—the seventh album from Alex Paterson's ambient-house band Orb reminds us that the still-ill-defined genre has been around for ages. And listening to Orblivion, Orb's first album in two years, you're also reminded how mind-altering and compelling the group's music can be: Here, Paterson and his compatriots create a lengthy, languorous sonic swirl of quirky effects, sluggish beats, assorted odd noises, and samples of everything from a scientific tract to an apocalyptic religious sermon to a weather report to a computer-mutated voice of doom. Orblivion has a few silly moments—and like all of Orb's albums, it tends to fade in and out of your consciousness—but it's innovative and hypnotic enough to help cement Alex Paterson's rightful place near the fore of his newly trendy genre.

Advertisement