By: Chad Murray
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Released on October 14, 2016 via KOMPAKT
Beaming down to you from The Orb, is possibly the finest ambient album of the year; a mind-melting, trance-inducing spell and yet another excellent contribution to electronica from The Orb.
Chill Out World is a collation of beautifully recorded samples, excellently produced pads and textures and mind-blowing soundscapes that can transport the listener into a different world. Sometimes people get over-zealous and worship an artist like they can do no wrong and have never done anything even slightly mediocre, but in the case of The Orb, they are yet to release something shit. That is a testament to them as artists, that in all this time there is excellence that eludes most artists, that what they do is well crafted and orchestrated, that they sew together a seamless whole that whilst being reliant on the smaller parts being individually splendid, cannot be fully appreciated out of context.
The album starts on comfortable ground with soft eastern-sounding ambiance easing the listener in with soothing delicate percussion; to some this could be an uninspired or cliched start but, it is clear to me that it’s just a familiar footing to set things off; the breakdown of the track is a great indication of the unpredictability of the album and the enchanting tranquilliser rhapsody it features is evident of that. This is along with the group’s own brand of sampling carries the listener from ‘First, Consider The Lily’ to ‘Wireless MK2’; a track built on hypnotic dazes of orchestral instrumentation and somber piano delays. The use of mallets and keys creates a mystical element to the piece that further adds to this part of the album being some tripped-out aural accompaniment to a vision quest; also known as taking a bunch of hallucinogens and dehydrating yourself into blissful delirium whilst it masquerades as clear thought. Listen to the simmering pads and distant horns in ‘Siren 33’ and tell me it doesn’t like some whacked-out beatnick’s mind trawling through the desert.
‘4AM Exhale (Chill Out, World)’ seems to mark a new chapter in the album and I imagine it is some sort of reference to the KLF’s ‘3 AM (Eternal)’ from their incredible album The White Room. The track seems closer to The KLF’s sound and arguably the sound The Orb are more well-known for producing. The climax of the track has a nice modern twinge to it that reminds me of the likes of James Blake and The XX who are probably the most famous purveyors of that production style today. The mellow transition through the ‘5th Dimension’ to ‘Sex (Panoramic Sex Heal)’ is beautiful.I haven’t yet reached this point in the album without melting. I become liquid Chad; weightless and liberated like standing naked in the wind on a hot summer’s day or smoking a fuck load of purple kush and getting in bed with some teddies.
‘7 Oaks’, I would say, moves the album closer in the direction of modern hip-hop, I like to think it’s ambient Kendrick Lamar or Anderson Paak, it makes me think of my friend Martin. And a song that reminds you of a friend is a song that connects. ‘Just Because I Really Really Luv Ya’. The percussive elements of this part of the album shines through with the sampling and the bold oblique tone that runs through them that makes me think of some weird film noir cigarette smoking scene. I should mention that this is a highly introspective listen. So, naturally, I’m just letting you know pretty much everything I’m thinking. All stream of consciousness aside, there is something really alluring about this track and I think the name does in a weird way help conjure the mystique of the track. I imagine the video with Bjork playing all of the instruments whilst standing in a clearing of some forest whilst peacocks strut around her in time with the music. The delicate caressing of harps in the song I guess is what does it.
More numbers to digest, more relaxing bird sounds and smooth samples of people talking to chill you out and massage your pineal gland. ‘9 Elms Over River Eno (Channel 9)’ I imagine is referencing Brian Eno but I know fuck all about geography, so there’s that. It does a good job of unwinding into the final track easing the percussive elements in a slow decline from their rise to prominence whilst also including yet another dazzling high end melody. ‘The 10 Sultans of Rudyard’ closes the album. It’s The Orb at their most soothing; which is pretty much like saying do not listen to this whilst operating heavy machinery because you will go to fucking sleep.