Three decades after The Orb more or less invented ambient house, the bliss-out entity is still going strong. With original member Alex Paterson joined on the decks by mixing engineer and long-time collaborator Michael Rendell, what the pair forsook in terms of The Orb’s usual stunning visuals, limited here to showing on a couple of television screens, they gained with the Spiegeltent’s intimacy, its timeless, colourful surroundings disguising that this was an early evening show slap-bang in a town square.
Spiegeltent, Paisley ***
Sustaining a woozy, hypnotic groove, cheekily titled new track Pillow Fight @ Shag Mountain was infectious, while the ghostly sci-fi soundscape of Ununited States, with its solitary, keening horn, served as a creeping, low-key introduction to their 90-minute set. More up tempo, Rush Hill Road had a poppy dub vibe that meandered somewhat into reggae.
Yet while the new sounds earned wide appreciation, unsurprisingly with a mature crowd, doubtless there the first time around, it was the classic tracks that elicited the strongest reaction. Chief amongst these was their pulsing, huge crossover hit Little Fluffy Clouds, the harmonica, the rips from nature and Rickie Lee Jones’ wistful spoken vocal still penetrating after all these years. Equally resonant, layered with myriad samples, was the psychedelic, white noise guitar of the otherworldly Blue Room. Despite putting in a decent shift however, The Orb quit the stage somewhat abruptly, presumably because of noise curfew, a bit of a shame for anyone hoping for an encore.