The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld, a 1991 ambient houseconcept album, is the debut full-length release by electronic music collective The Orb. The album's framework is of a two-hour psychedelictrip 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 and 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 tracklist), 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. 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 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."
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. 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.
A vocal sample of John Waite, presenter of Face the Facts ("Over the past few years to the traditional sounds of an English summer, the droning of lawnmowers, the smack of leather on willow, has been added a new noise.")
"A Conversation with Rickie Lee Jones" by Rickie Lee Jones, an interview from a promotional CD which came with some copies of her album Flying Cowboys. This sample was the subject of litigation.
^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.
^There are direct parallels between Space and Adventures but Cauty removed Paterson's attribution from the credits