The Orb - Bicycles And Tricycles
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The Orb
Bicycles And Tricycles

You'd think that when a group was as well known as The Orb, their releases would come out at roughly the same time all over the world, but that wasn't the case with Bicycles And Tricycles. Released in Japan almost a year ago now, it has certainly taken its time in getting out to the rest of the world. Although I admittingly have lost some interest in the group over time (and especially with their last full-length Cydonia), The Orb will probably always be one of those groups I have to sort of peek in on and keep track of simply because they were one of the first modern electronic artists that I really found myself loving and pulling me further into the genre.

Other than a couple tracks, Bicycles And Tricycles is basically what you've grown to know and love from the group, too. Thick basslines gurgle and rattle while somewhat dub-influenced beats help to rattle the speakers even more while trippy melodies pan and flange and occasional spoken samples creep up in the mix. The disc opens with the stellar "Orb Is," a track that opens with washes of muted trumpet before cracking off into a delicious groove that twists and growls for the rest of the track. The following "Aftermath" is one of the big offenders, though, as the group once again thinks they can work things out by adding a vocalist to the mix and instead the track feels entirely out-of-place on the disc. While the instrumentation on the track is pretty swell, female rapper Me Soom T simply clutters the track and takes it to mainstream land without adding much of anything.

"The Land Of Green Ginger" is another in the long line of tracks that seemingly uses lost samples from a kids record as a backdrop for creating tripped-out tracks with recontextualized words that end up playing right into their hands. Although the group doesn't do anything groundbreakingly new over the course of the rest of the release, they manage to do things quite well. "Gee Strings" is a straightforward track that's more on the dancey side but manages to keep some surprises while "Tower Twenty Three" is one of their deep, dubstatic tracks that never seems to get old when they do it as well as they do. One of the only other major stumbles on the release is when they sample themselves on "From A Distance" and package it in an obvious surrounding of overbearing beats and once again try to encorporate vocals (and once again it just doesn't work too well). In the grand scheme of Orb albums, it lands as slightly better than their last effort Cydonia, but n9t nearly as good as classics like Orbus Terrarum.

rating: 6.510
Aaron Coleman 2004-07-15 00:00:00