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The Orb: “Back Side of the Moon” (The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld, Big Life 1991)

I have a confession to make. I’ve never heard this album in its entirety before. In fact, in the mid-90s, when The Orb grew in prominence, I was decidedly anti. I was an industrial angst teenager who came of age to the sounds of Skinny Puppy, Cold Meat Industry, Throbbing Gristle, and Coil. So I always had dismissed this album and The Orb in general as wanky, drug-addled “ambient” noodling (my taste for ambient music already was rooted in more serene and drone territory, as it still is typically), with cheeky tracks like “Fluffy Little Clouds” doing little to sway my opinion at the time. Fast forward to 25 years later, and I’m appreciating their older albums with different ears. Thomas Fehlmann’s sterling discography of solo material was ultimately the tipping point that encouraged me to give them another chance. I dig the spacious sprawl of tracks like this one, drawing on elements from ambient music, dub, and dance music to envisage a different world.