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The Orb Featuring Lee'Scratch' Perry – TheOrbserver in the StarHouse

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“I’ve got something to say,” intones Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, as ‘Ball Of Fire’, the opening track of The Orbserver in the Star House, starts to rise off the launch-pad. Amid horn samples and a stuttering, mechanised groove, it’s a beguiling opening to Perry’s intriguing collaboration with ambient house luminaries The Orb.

Of course, it’s also not especially true: he doesn’t have much to say. Most of Perry’s utterances are dub platitudes or endearing, crazy-uncle nonsense. However, the man’s presence is such that it doesn’t seem to matter – his sheer benevolent presence drifts through these songs like stoned clouds of pixie dust.

Meanwhile, The Orb offer up a variety of minimal grooves, ranging from Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry-esque dub (funny, that) to the sort of sci-fi-tinged ambient house with which they made their name. While some tracks are a tad vanilla (‘Go Down Evil’), dubbier tracks like ‘Police and Thieves’ fit Perry perfectly. Things get even more interesting on the more spaced-out compositions such as ‘Soulman’, with Perry set adrift in a Solaris -esque mecha-dreamworld. In short ...Star House is a woozy delight of a collaboration.

7/10 stars

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