New Album: The Orb & Youth Present Impossible Oddities

October 14, 2010

The early 90s seem to be making a bit of a return at the moment; Primal Scream are playing Screamadelica live again (and are on the Cornflakes ad (you always had the feeling Gillespie was fake)), some of that lovely deep house from then is sounding great, loafers are back, and The Orb and Youth are releasing ‘Impossible Oddities – The Story Of WAU! Mr Modo’. Alright that doesn’t join up quite as it should (excuse – I have flu), but the point is stuff from then is starting to sound and look good again. I guess it always happens across generations. Perhaps its nostalgia, perhaps the fact that some of it was flipping great.

Back then I was working for Guerilla Records. I lost a load of records one day when out and about so called Wau! Mr Modo to see if they could send me another copy of The Orb’s ‘A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain…’ as I couldn’t find the one I’d lost. The next day a whole box of 12’s turned up via courier full of white labels and versions I’d never seen before. Tons of records. That care and ‘being kind where you can’ attitude was something that I tried to take on as it was a great thing to be on the receiving end of. Point is, I liked WAU! Mr Modo for life. So buy this album. You need it.

Also on top of that, The Orb soundtracked our lives (or quite a large part of it) for sometime there. It was perfect to get stoned to and perfect for the car on the way home from the club. It was a soundtrack we could all agree on. Around the early 90s The Orb did a few all nighters at the Brixton Academy which coincided with our lot really getting into acid – a good fit. They had the sound wired all around so speeches would come from the back left, bass from the right and generally it all went down as you’d hope it would when feeling slightly out of it. In the next few years they did a benefit for the miners in Sheffield (where the label was based) with Primal Scream which we traveled to and popped in to say hello to Adam Modo (the other part of the label alongside Youth and Alex Patterson). All I remember through the haze is that he was a big bloke and the gig was great.

So the music itself… They always knew what they were doing as a label. It was always pretty out there, still is I guess, and even the pop moments like Zoe’s ‘Sunshine On A Rainy Day’ started off being pretty cool before going off to hit the charts. Then you had the early Orb releases which are getting better and better with age – a UK take on the German cosmic scene for the acid house generation. The compilation brings various releases together with the first track on the album being the demo of ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’. It sounds more like a 90s cut and paste record in this version. There’s lots of early mid-tempo house tracks (piano riff and weird noises) that sound good and Sun Electric’s underground sleeper ‘O’Locco’ appears. Shame there isn’t more actual Orb recordings but I guess Big Life own the rights to it and something happened along the way. To round-up, as a look at the eclecticism that was around before the likes of Mo’ Wax took it jazz this is a good place to start. Space is the place and all that…

‘The Orb and Youth Present Impossible Opportunities: from underground to overground: the story of WAU! Mr Modo’ is out soon on Year Zero. CD1 and 2 come unmixed with the the third being an Orb mix.


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