steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
info opinion

The Orb

"Bicycles & Tricycles" CD

Sanctuary Records

Genres: electro

Sep 6 - 12 2004

If you listen to the start of Bicycles & Tricycles, and then skip ahead to the end, you'll notice they are two very different entities.  This is The Orb's first album in three years, and it seems as if Alex Patterson and co wanted to fit as much as they could on here.  The resulting panoply of styles and genres is quite enjoyable - everything is done with gloss and precision - but the album sometimes seems to lack cohesion, becoming a bit disjointed due to its own eclectic nature.

Bicycles & Tricycles starts off with straightforward, jazz-infused electro ("Orb Is (Shopping Version)") before dipping right into very Red Snapper-esque, female-vocals hip-hop ("Aftermath (Featuring MC Soom T").  Next comes some tremendously atmospheric electronica ala "Little Fluffy Clouds" ("The Land of Green Ginger") and a bit of funky club techno ("Gee Strings").  "Prime Evil" then follows in full Dust Brothers force, sounding very much like a track on the Fight Club soundtrack.

At this point, between tracks six and seven, the album really changes. The album becomes much more atmospheric, and, in turn, profoundly dark.  "Abstractions (Trance Pennine Express)" and "Kompania (Grooved Ware Mix)" show a particular devotion to ambient effects and a certain experimentalism.  The results are different - and less immediately accessible than the album's more straightforward songs - but, the change is actually quite successful, in a unconventional way.  Finale "Dilmun" really seals the deal; it's a moving, shifting wave of daring ambience.

Overall, Bicycles & Tricycles is a pretty unique record for The Orb.  Its varied, eclectic style is unconventional but hardly problematic.  Don't bother with expectations, as they'll only be broken - if you love electronic music, this should already be in your collection. 


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by Amazon, released 2004]