First off, if you're a fan of the Orb and you don't own this album yet, don't bother reading this review, just go buy this album now. If you've never heard of the Orb, but would like to heard more ambient electronic music with a twist, go buy this album now. Basically, this is an album that you should own, but now that you've read this far, you might as well finish this review.
I've been listening to the Orb ever since their debut album The Orbs Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, and I've always liked their style of electronic music that really can't be easily thrown into a category. Over the course of 4 albums (and tons of singles, remixes, and unreleased tracks that find their ways onto different compilations), they've created a sound that really is their own within the genre. With their sort of psychedelic / ambient / techno / dub mix, they've not only inspired others, but have managed to do something new and exciting with each release. While I wasn't the most keen on their mini-album Pomme Fritz, I've still found myself going back and listening to it many times and finding something new almost every time.
Which brings me to what I feel is my favorite Orb album thusfar. In the course of 7 tracks and almost 80 minutes, they've once again created musical landscapes that will begged to be listened to over and over again. The disc starts out with the semi-familiar (if you own their double live CD Orb 93) "Valley" and "Plateau," and even these tracks have been given the usual changeroo into something different and new. The third track "Oxbow Lakes" starts off with a simple piano, but goes through about 4 more incarnations before reaching an end point. The next three tracks on the disc mark a bit of a change in tone on the album, though, as "Montagne D'Or" moves through 7 minutes of spaciness before really breaking loose with a clanging. "White River Junction" and "Occidental" also seem a bit more menacing than the average Orb track, as they go more on the offensive with harsher sounds and almost beats. The album closer is the 16-minute epic "Slug Dub" built around a strange sample from an old childrens record and provides the perfect cap on another awesome album by the group. Even though none of the tracks clock in at under 7 minutes, and most of them surpass 10, there's always something interesting going on.
Did I mention that you should own this album?