The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld

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The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld
The Orb - Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld.jpg
Studio album by The Orb
Released 2 April 1991
Recorded Berwick Street Studios
Genre Ambient house, dub, breakbeat
Length 109:41
Label Big Life
Producer Alex Paterson, Andy Falconer, Kris Weston
The Orb chronology
Kiss EP
The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld
Singles from The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld
  1. "A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld"
    Released: 21 October 1989
  2. "Little Fluffy Clouds"
    Released: 16 November 1990
  3. "Perpetual Dawn"
    Released: 24 January 1991
Deluxe Edition
Cover of a 2006 reissued 3-CD deluxe edition

The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld, a 1991 ambient house concept album, is the debut full-length release by electronic music collective The Orb. The album's framework is of a two-hour psychedelic trip through music genres and studio electronics, produced to "push the threshold" of live stage performance. The double album is a continuous progressive composition consisting of several tracks advancing the journey concept. It is composed of vocal samples and sound effects interspersed with original music. There are three versions, a 109:41-minute UK release (US cassette copies this track list), a 70:41-minute US release and a 182:05-minute UK deluxe edition reissue that was released in mid-2006.


The Orb have always primarily been composed of one individual, Alex Paterson, along with numerous and varied individuals assisting throughout the group's recording career.[1] Paterson's late 1980s and early 1990s chillout DJ sets in Paul Oakenfold's Land of Oz night in the club Heaven are thought of by those involved as legendary[2] and included collaborations with another ambient house pioneer Jimmy Cauty. Paterson said of these events:

"We'd build melodies up by overdubbing and mixing multiple tracks and then take an eight track (or was it a twelve track?) into Heaven, just linking it up to three decks ([turntables]), loads of CD players, loads of cassettes... we used to keep it very, very quiet. We never used to play any drums in there. It'd be, just like, you know, BBC sound effects, really... four or five hours playing really early dub reggae... For All Mankind [a documentary of NASA's Apollo missions, with a soundtrack by Brian Eno]. We had white screens so we could put up visuals as well. We had home movies of ducks in the park. We'd go for everything. It was all layering on top of each other."[3]

Following success in the singles market (including 1988's Tripping on Sunshine and the Kiss EP and A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld both in 1989),[4] Paterson and Cauty started work on their first album but split in 1990 due to disagreements about releasing The Orb's material on Cauty's record label KLF Communications.[5] While Cauty released his portions of the planned album as Space[6] and resumed his partnership with Bill Drummond as The KLF. Paterson moved on to his next collaboration Little Fluffy Clouds in Autumn 1990 with Killing Joke's Youth. The track was recorded by an 18-year-old studio engineer and future Orb collaborator Kris "Thrash" Weston.

In April 1991, the Orb released The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld for an audience familiar with their groundbreaking singles and several John Peel radio sessions.[7] The album was received in the UK and Europe with critical acclaim. The album rose to position No. 29 in the UK Album charts. By mid-1991, The Orb had signed a deal to release the album in the US but were forced to edit the double-disc 109:41-minute UK release down to a one disc 70:41 minutes. The full double-disc version and cassette were later released in the US by Island.

Album covers[edit]

US Cover

The two covers are primarily distinguished by the outing of the Floydian Battersea Power Station on the cover of the US version. The images are attributed as follows (in the lining):


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars[9]
NME 8/10[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[11]
Select 3/5[12]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[13]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 9/10[14]
Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Melody Maker UK Top 30 Albums of 1991[15] 1991 22
NME UK Greatest Albums of All Time[16] 1993 45
Spin Magazine US 90 Greatest Albums of the '90s[17] 1999 82
Muzik UK Top 50 Dance Albums of All Time[18] 1999 7
Virgin UK The Virgin All-Time Top 1000 Albums[19] 2000 222
Pitchfork Magazine US Top 100 Records of the 1990s[20] 2003 100
Slant Magazine US 25 Greatest Electronic Albums of the 20th Century[21] 2003 4

Track listing[edit]

UK (and US cassette)[edit]

Side one
No. Title Music Length
1. "Little Fluffy Clouds" (Earth Orbit One) Alex Paterson, Martin Glover 4:27
2. "Earth (Gaia)" (Earth Orbit Two) Alex Paterson, Kris Weston 9:48
3. "Supernova at the End of the Universe" (Earth Orbit Three) Alex Paterson, Steve Hillage, Miquette Giraudy 11:56
Total length: 26:11
Side two
No. Title Music Length
1. "Back Side of the Moon" (Lunar Orbit Four) Alex Paterson, Steve Hillage, Miquette Giraudy 14:15
2. "Spanish Castles in Space" (Lunar Orbit Five) Alex Paterson, Jake le Mesurier, Guy Pratt 15:05
Total length: 29:20
Side three
No. Title Music Length
1. "Perpetual Dawn" (Ultraworld Probe Six) Alex Paterson, Eddie Maiden 9:31
2. "Into the Fourth Dimension" (Ultraword Probe Seven) Alex Paterson, Andy Falconer, Paul Ferguson 9:16
3. "Outlands" (Ultraworld Probe Eight) Alex Paterson, Thomas Fehlmann 8:23
Total length: 27:10
Side four
No. Title Music Length
1. "Star 6 & 7 8 9" (Ultraworld Nine) Alex Paterson, Tom Green, Hugh Vickers 8:10
2. "A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld" (live mix Mk 10; Ultraworld Ten) Alex Paterson, Jimmy Cauty, Minnie Riperton, Richard Rudolph, Simon Darlow, Stephen Lipson, Bruce Woolley, Trevor Horn 18:49
Total length: 26:57


UK: 2006 deluxe edition reissue[edit]

Tracks details[edit]

Instrumentation and samples[edit]


Musicians and engineers[edit]

Personnel as per discogs.[23]

  • Alex Paterson - producer, engineering, mixing
  • Jimmy Cauty - producer ("A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld")
  • Steve Hillage - producer ("Supernova at the End of the Universe", "Back Side of the Moon")
  • Miquette Giraudy - producer ("Supernova at the End of the Universe", "Back Side of the Moon")
  • Andy Falconer - producer ("Into the Fourth Dimension"), engineering, mixing
  • Thomas Fehlmann - mixing
  • Youth - producer ("Little Fluffy Clouds"), mixing
  • Kris "Thrash" Weston - engineering, mixing
  • Guy Pratt - bass ("Spanish Castles in Space")
  • Eddie Maiden - producer ("Perpetual Dawn")
  • Greg Hunter - assistant engineer
  • Tim Russell - engineering, mixing

Release history[edit]

Year Type Label Catalog
2006 CD Island/Universal 948,002-2
1994 CD Big Life/Island Red 535005
1994 CS Big Life/Island Red 535005
1994 CD Big Life BRDCD5
1991 CD Big Life 314-511034-2
1991 CS Big Life 314-511034-4
1991 CD Big Life 511034
1991 CS Big Life 511034

Recording details[edit]

  • The Coach House, London.
  • Do Not Erase, London
  • Marcus Studios, London.
  • Soho, London.
  • Mit Cafe.
  • Berwick Street Studio, London.
  • Brixton, Southside.
  • Outer Space, Inner Space
  • Trancentral, London. Cautys/KLF studio


External links[edit]


  1. ^ Prior to The Orb, Paterson was a roadie for Killing Joke, and worked in Brian Eno's EG Records.
  2. ^ Paterson's "White Room chillout sets are mentioned here
  3. ^ David Toop Ocean of Sound. London: Serpent's Tail, 1995
  4. ^ The singles are detailed here
  5. ^ There is some evidence to indicate they split because of artistic differences, Paterson viewed himself as a musician, Cauty as a DJ and there was some concern that Cauty was treating The Orb as a side project.
  6. ^ There are direct parallels between Space and Adventures but Cauty removed Paterson's attribution from the credits
  7. ^ The "Maida Vale" Peel sessions are listed here
  8. ^ Bush, John. "The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld – The Orb". AllMusic. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-857-12595-8. 
  10. ^ Sherman (13 April 1996). "The Orb – Adventures Beyond The Ultra World". NME. Archived from the original on 17 August 2000. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  11. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 604–05. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  12. ^ Harrison, Andrew (March 1991). "The Orb: The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld". Select (9): 76. 
  13. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (August 19, 2002). "The Orb: The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld". Slant Magazine. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  14. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 
  15. ^ The full Melody Maker 1991 Top 30 list is available here
  16. ^ The full NME 1993 Greatest Albums list is available here. You have to scroll down to the 1993 section
  17. ^ Retrieved from the Internet Archive here
  18. ^ Full list is here. Scroll down, list is very long.
  19. ^
  20. ^ Full list is available here
  21. ^ Full article available here
  22. ^
  23. ^ "The Orb – The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld". discogs. Retrieved 10 September 2016. 


  • Weisbard, Eric; Craig Marks (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.