Little Fluffy Clouds

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"Little Fluffy Clouds"
Single by The Orb
from the album The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld
B-side Alternate mixes
Released 16 November 1990
Format 12", cassette, CD
Genre Ambient house
Length 4:27 (Album version)
Label Big Life
Producer(s) The Orb
The Orb singles chronology
"A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld"
(1989)
"Little Fluffy Clouds"
(1990)
"Perpetual Dawn"
(1991)
Clip from The Orb's "Little Fluffy Clouds", featuring vocal samples of Rickie Lee Jones.

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"Little Fluffy Clouds" is a single released by the English ambient house group The Orb. It was originally released in July 1990 on the record label Big Life and peaked at #87 on the UK Singles Chart. The Orb also included it on their 1991 double album The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld. "Little Fluffy Clouds" was re-released several times with different b-sides, with its 1993 re-release reaching #10 in the UK.

Production[edit]

Alex Paterson had previously worked with Jimmy Cauty as The Orb. Upon Cauty's departure from The Orb, Paterson began work on "Little Fluffy Clouds" with ex-Killing Joke member Martin "Youth" Glover.[1] However, because of other production obligations, Glover did not become a permanent member of The Orb. Kris "Thrash" Weston joined The Orb soon after. Weston mixed and engineered several versions of "Little Fluffy Clouds", including the version on The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld.

Samples[edit]

25 seconds of "Electric Counterpoint III Fast" performed by Pat Metheny. Composed by Steve Reich.

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"Little Fluffy Clouds" is centred on clips from an interview with Rickie Lee Jones[2] in which she recalls picturesque images of her childhood. Critics and fans sometimes attribute the odd nasal tonality of Jones' voice to drug use, though Jones later claimed that it was the result of a heavy cold.[3] The samples are widely believed to have come from a conversation between Jones and LeVar Burton on the children's television programme Reading Rainbow.,[1] but in fact originated from an interview disc that was issued with some promotional boxed copies of her album Flying Cowboys. The interview was not actually conducted by Burton at all.[4]

Interviewer: "What were the skies like when you were young?"
Jones: "They went on forever – They - When I w- We lived in Arizona, and the skies always had little fluffy clouds in 'em, and, uh... they were long... and clear and... there were lots of stars at night. And, uh, when it would rain, it would all turn - it- They were beautiful, the most beautiful skies as a matter of fact. Um, the sunsets were purple and red and yellow and on fire, and the clouds would catch the colours everywhere. That's uh, neat 'cause I used to look at them all the time, when I was little. You don't see that. You might still see them in the desert."

Jones' record company was upset at the unauthorized use of her voice and pursued the issue in the legal system.[1] However, when Jones herself heard it, she is reported to have disagreed, saying: "What the hell you doin'? This is good!"[5] Big Life chose to settle out of court for an undisclosed sum of money for use of her voice on The Orb's recording.

The song also uses a harmonica sample from Ennio Morricone's The Man With The Harmonica (from the film Once Upon a Time in the West) and parts of Electric Counterpoint, a piece for multitracked guitars composed by Steve Reich and recorded by Pat Metheny. Reich was "genuinely flattered"[6] by The Orb's use of his work and instructed his record company not to sue.[7] Alex Paterson also suggested that the drum track is sampled: “If anyone actually knew where the drums on 'Little Fluffy Clouds' came from, they'd all just die, but I'm not at liberty to tell. Record companies have always warned me, ‘Don't tell anyone where you got your samples until we get them cleared!’”.[8] He later said that the drum track was sampled from Harry Nilsson's album Nilsson Schmilsson.[9]

Commercial reception[edit]

"Little Fluffy Clouds" reached #87 on the UK Singles Chart and was a dancefloor success.[1] After the popularity of following Orb albums, "Little Fluffy Clouds" was re-released several times, including a 1993 edition which peaked at #10 on the UK charts.

Tracklisting[edit]

7": Big Life / BLR 33 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Little Fluffy Clouds [seven inch mk 1]" (4:05)
  2. "Little Fluffy Clounds [ambient mk 1]" (4:29)
  • Released November 1990

12": Big Life / BLR 33T (UK)[edit]

  1. "Little Fluffy Clouds [dance mk 2]" (8:26)
  2. "Into The Fourth Dimension [edit]" (7:03)
  3. "Little Fluffy Clounds [ambient mk 1]" (4:29)
  • Released November 1990
  • Into The Fourth Dimension mix also called "essenes beyond control" version
  • also released on CD - BLR 33CD

12": Big Life / BLR 33R (UK)[edit]

  1. "Little Fluffy Clouds (drum & vox version)" (7:10)
  2. "Little Fluffy Clouds [seven inch mk 1]" (4:05)
  3. "Into The Fourth Extension" (9:05)
  • Released November 1990
  • Remix 12"
  • Reissued November 1993

CD: Big Life / BLRD 98 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Little Fluffy Clouds [seven inch mk 1]" (4:05)
  2. "Little Fluffy Clouds [dance mk 2]" (8:26)
  3. "Into The Fourth Dimension [edit]" (7:03)
  4. "Little Fluffy Clounds [ambient mk 1]" (4:29)
  • Re-released 1 November 1993

12": Mercury / 865139-1 (US)[edit]

  1. "Little Fluffy Clouds [Cumulonimbus Mix]" (6:10)
  2. "Little Fluffy Clouds [Dis joint don't argue mix]" (6:38)
  3. "Little Fluffy Clouds [Seven Inch MK 1]" (4:05)
  4. "Little Fluffy Clouds [Inner Master Mix]" (3:58)
  5. "Outlands [Fountain of Elisha]" (8:00)
  • Released November 1991

CD: Mercury / 865139-2 (US)[edit]

  1. "Little Fluffy Clouds [Seven Inch MK 1]" (4:05)
  2. "Little Fluffy Clouds [Inner Master Mix]" (3:58)
  3. "Little Fluffy Clouds [Cumulonimbus Mix]" (6:10)
  4. "Little Fluffy Clouds [Dance MK 2]" (8:26)
  5. "Little Fluffy Clouds [Heavyweight Dub]" (6:30)
  6. "Outlands [Fountain of Elisha]" (8:00)
  • Released November 1991

Remixes[edit]

There have been an extensive number of remixes of "Little Fluffy Clouds" due to its popularity. Many mixes were created by both The Orb and other artists. Most of these have appeared as B-sides on Little Fluffy Clouds or other singles by The Orb. All remixes listed are by The Orb unless otherwise noted.

  • Youth & Thrash - Dance MK II (8:26)
  • Ambient MK I (4:28)
  • Pal Joey - Cumulonimbus Mix (6:10)
  • Coldcut - Dis Joint Don't Argue Mix (6:38)
  • Coldcut - Inner Master Mix (3:58)
  • Coldcut - Heavyweight Dub (6:30)
  • Youth - Drum & Vox Version
  • Thrash - seven inch mk 1
  • Tokyo 2.7.93 - From Live 93
  • Danny Tenaglia - Downtempo Groove (8:35)
  • Danny Tenaglia - Detour Mix (10:15)
  • Adam Freeland & Kevin Beber - Tsunami One Remix (7:57)
  • Jutta Jaw, OTP - One True Parker Mix (5:52)
  • Hellpass - Little Cheeky Clouds

In addition, a version arranged for strings was released by the group Instrumental on their 1999 album Acoustek.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Bush, John. "The Orb Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2006-10-09. 
  2. ^ "The Orb's Samples". Melody Maker. October 1993. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  3. ^ McCusker, Eamonn (2003-10-15). "The Orb - Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld". CD Times. 
  4. ^ Goodes, Grant (1999-02-16). "Rickie Lee Jones Sample in LFC Confirmed". KLF Online. 
  5. ^ Thomson, Brian (1999-03-13). "Crafty Scales / Copyright issues.". Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  6. ^ "Steve Reich". The Wire. 1996-11-01. 
  7. ^ Martin Johnson. "Classical Composer Steve Reich Gets Remixed and Loves It". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2006-10-11. 
  8. ^ Silva, Joe (2001-02-01). "Living in Orblivion". Remix Magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-05-07. 
  9. ^ Thomas, Rich. "In About Four Seconds A Teacher Will Begin To Speak—Dr. Alex Paterson Of The Orb". Interview. 

External links[edit]