The Orb


Written by Kim Wilson
Photos and illustrations by Various
31 Monday 31st October 2011

So, how did this all begin?

I used to work as a roadie with Killing Joke. Someone had to DJ in between the bands. I met Jimmy [Cauty, co-founder of The Orb and one half of The KLF] back in 1988 when I worked for EG Records (owned by Brian Eno) and we began to DJ at squat parties and so on.

Is The Orb just essentially you and some friends?

Yes. I have been there since the beginning. I mainly work with Youth and Thomas Fehlmann these days but there has been so many of us over the years. I also belong to High Frequency Bandwidth and Screen plus Root Masters.

Do you think the industry has changed much since you first started?

We are in a musical maelstrom. What’s new today will be old in a few weeks. I still buy lots of CDs from the internet though, as most of the record shops have gone.

If we didn't know better, we'd think this was a promotional postcard for some kind of holistic drug chapel. Actually, do we know better?

Did you think The Orb would have such a rave-based identity?

The Orb were one of the first to start doing all-night parties with the likes of Oakenfold and Weatherall. The Orb also came up with the term ‘ambient house’, which takes the likes of Chicago House and mixes it with the ambience of the [Brian] Eno rhythm.

Had you sound tracked other films?

Yes, The Orb recorded Plastic Planet, an environmental film. And HFB had been nominated for a BAFTA for our music with Pixel Junk Shooter.

What finally encouraged you to make C Batter C: A box set containing the ‘Battersea Bunches DVD with the various remixes?

It’s a celebration of life. My dad passed away when was I was only three and my brother, Martin became like a father to me and then he sadly died in 2001. This film is a celebration of their lives and the richness that is London – a town that was built by Romans, centuries ago. My aunt Lil, who recorded the film back in 1956 came down to see the screening last year. She loved the film but didn’t much like the music.

Did it take long to complete this?

Ages. Mike Coles from Malicious Damage is a very old mate. I had this idea of merging Aunt Lil’s film over a modern London skyline. Mike was fantastic at merging the old Super 8 footage with the modern digital images. It was a real labour of love, getting friends, such as Gaudi and Mary Jane Cole to do remixes. C Batter C was born when Thomas and I produced this seventeen minute track and the film was set to that music, with added vocals from Sue and Jenny, my cousins who were there on that summer day back in 1956.

Does the soundtrack contain any gems, like 'Fluffy White Clouds'?


Was ‘Blue Room’ (a near-40 minute track which entered the British charts at #12 and peaked at #8) made as a bet?

We used to receive these 12” from the States, full of forty minute mixes, so we decided to take up the challenge and make as long a song as possible for the British charts, it was 39 minutes and 58 seconds long. The law has since been changed; the limit is now twenty minutes. So, ‘Blue Room’ is going to be the longest song in history. Unless they change the law again.

Tell me about the Minnie Riperton tune?

‘A Huge Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworlds (Loving You)’. The funniest thing was I was with my mum when I first heard ‘Loving You’ on the radio and I said Minnie had such a high voice. My mum clipped me round the ear hole and said it sounded like a man! Years later Jimmy and I were looking to make a last track of the night tune: one you could fall asleep to or go to bed with, so to speak. One that’s all sort of smoochy!

What other collaborations have you done?

The Orb were once on Top Of The Pops with Take That and years later when Robbie Williams had gone solo we made a tune together: ‘I Started A Joke’. It’s a remix of the Bee Gees.

What’s in the pipeline?

Next year, there is going to be an ORB/LSP album with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. It’s called ‘The Orbserver’, we recorded it in the Star House, east Germany. And hopefully an opera in 2013, if we are still here.

And finally, if you could have written one tune, any tune?

World Is A Ghetto’ by War


C Batter C is out on the 11th of November, via Malicious Damage Records. Find out more on The Orb's official site.

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  • Guest: 123
    Tue 07 - Aug - 2012, 17:49
    FACT mix...
  • Guest: news
    Fri 03 - Feb - 2012, 16:02
  • Guest: boomboomboom
    Tue 17 - Jan - 2012, 12:02
  • Guest: onsalenow
    Sat 12 - Nov - 2011, 15:06
  • Guest: KWilson
    Sun 06 - Nov - 2011, 13:05
    I did not and would not have selected these pictures!
  • Guest: commonsense
    Wed 02 - Nov - 2011, 14:17
    Those pictures are whack
  • Guest: pictureexpert
    Tue 01 - Nov - 2011, 21:43
    What a odd choice of picture - the look sorta homosensual