home
news
features
demos
live listings
album reviews
forum

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Back to main page

The Orb Featuring Lee 'Scratch' Perry
Orbserver in the Star House (Cooking Vinyl)

The Orb Featuring Lee 'Scratch' Perry This has come in for a bit of a trashing in some quarters with barbs aimed at Lee Perry’s lunatic stream of consciousness ramblings - which is frankly a bit like complaining about the sun coming up in the morning. So might we suggest, for those of you that either don’t like the Orb or don’t get on with Scratch being something of a teapot, don’t bloody listen, the rest of you should immerse yourselves immediately in Alex Paterson and Co.’s lush ambient dream-house dub fug whilst smiling indulgently whilst one of the music kingdom's great eccentric’s lays some skewed wisdom on your bonce.
Drew Bass

buy this album

******************************************************************

Orbital
Wonky (ACP Recordings)

OrbitalOne of the few dance acts to successfully make the leap from the dance floor to the festival arena Phil and Paul Hartnoll seemed to run out of steam with 2004’s Blue album (indeed it could be argued that they didn’t release a fully satisfying album after 1999’s The Middle Of Nowhere) and in consequence called it a day, concentrating on solo projects - Phil releasing Madness And Me with Long Range and Paul the underrated The Ideal Condition. But eight years on and the brothers have worked it out, rediscovered their muse and released an album that is infinitely better than it has any right to be. A very welcome return indeed.
Drew Bass

buy this album

******************************************************************

Osibisa
Heads (Repertoire)

Osibisa Many older readers will doubtless first recall being drawn to London based afro-rockers Osibisa due to their first two Roger Dean designed album covers Osibisa (’71) and Woyaya (’71) - although this, their third album, was designed by Mati Klarwein, known for his Abraxas and Bitches Brew covers – and then been blown away by the groundbreaking amalgam of western rock, African percussion and jazzy brass. This was the final album featuring the classic line-up, and probably their last great record and if nowadays this doesn’t sound quite as mind-boggling to young rock fans as it did at the time it still stands up really well.
The Oracle

buy this album

******************************************************************

Sinead O'Connor
How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? (One Little Indian)

Sinead O'Connor Oh thank the lord. Having been a massive fan of Sinead’s early shouty, angry efforts like Lion and the Cobra this writer was despairing of ever meeting that gorgeously demented skinhead ever again. Of course this isn’t as full on in-yer-face as something like ‘Jerusalem’, however it is a very, very welcome return to form. Yes she’s as barmy as a bagful of jesters hats, and yes she has spouted some awful twaddle over the years (bless her bum sex obsessed little noggin), but the pop world is full of blokes who do much the same and nobody gives them the stick O’Connor get’s. In short the best thing she has put her name to in years.
Ruby Palmer

buy this album

******************************************************************

Oneida
Absolute II (Jagjaguwar)

OneidaThe final instalment of the bands 'Thank Your Parents' trilogy (following Preteen Weaponry and Rated O) wherein drummer Kid Millions motorik clattering is notable by is absence, the four tracks consisting of darkly pulsing ambient washes, glitchy electronics, throbbing bass and distorted vocals, beamed in from the outer-reaches of the Krautrock Diaspora. Any search for melody or conventional song-writing is doomed to failure, and it’s hard to imagine just what occasion would suit the playing of such an avowedly ugly beast, but there is method and purpose here even if the results are very, very challenging indeed.
Ruby Palmer

buy this album

******************************************************************

Tom Odell
Long Way Down (Columbia)

Tom Odell Reasons not to like Tom Odell; if you’ve heard the single ‘Can’t Pretend’ there’s no denying he’s very talented but he looks about eight years old and as that wasn’t enough his debut album Long Way Down is the Brits Critics Choice Award 2013 winner! So it has to be so much major label funded fluff right? Sadly no, as Tom proves to have rather more about him than one good song as this album (including his two other singles ‘Another Love’ and ‘Hold Me’) sounds like a cross between Elton John and the Cure, and if it's not all killer material 'Supposed To Be' really doesn't work, it's still early days for this, very, young man.
Ray Harper

buy this album

******************************************************************

Mike Oldfield
Incantations: Deluxe Edition (UMC)

Mike OldfieldOriginally released in late 1978 on Virgin Records Incantations was the first Mike Oldfield release to be divided into more than two movements and was originally released as a double album, but, due to the prevailing winds (supplied in the main by punk rockers bottoms), it received something of a critical mauling which, in retrospect, seems a little unfair as this easily ranks up there with Ommadawn and Hergest Ridge and is, in places, truly outstanding with the extra CD of singles and shorter edits a welcome addition. Be warned though early pressings include a glitch in the re-mastering on Part 4, at about 12 minutes 37.
Ray Harper

buy this album

******************************************************************

The Orb featuring David Gilmour
Metallic Spheres (Columbia)

The Orb featuring David GilmourA collaboration between the archdukes of contemporary ambient and the Pink Floyd mainstay would have been on many people’s wish-list, but it took a charity single in aid of alleged computer hacker Gary McKinnon’s fight against extradition to the US to bring them together. From a one-off Gilmour session, Youth and Dr. Alex Paterson have diced, sliced and shaped a 48-minute suite that contains some of the most straightforwardly pretty music of their entire career. Gilmour’s guitar rarely assumes centre-stage, but adds immeasurably to the warm ambient wash that ebbs and flows throughout this exquisite album.
David Davies

buy this album

******************************************************************

Ozzy Osbourne
Scream (Columbia)

Ozzy OsbourneYou’d be hard pushed to find a long term Ozzy fan who would place any of his solo output up there with the first four Black Sabbath albums, but then Ozzy has been a benchmark for soap opera reality nonsense now for such a long time now that only the most naive of fans would be expecting anything here to exhibit the same bone crunching welly as heavy metal anthems like ‘Iron Man’ or ‘War Pigs’ and, needless to say, they would once again be disappointed. That said there are any number of solo Ozzy fans around and if you loved No More Tears you’ll almost certainly dig this, the rest of us will just have to dig out the old Sab's vinyl.
Ray Harper

buy this album

******************************************************************

Mike Oldfield
Hergest Ridge (Mercury)

Mike OldfieldSo just how the hell do you follow a massive success like Tubular Bells – and lest we forget on the 14th July 1973 Tubular Bells entered the British album charts where it remained for a mind boggling 264 weeks? The truth is you can’t. All you can do is carry on regardless but this really is worth hearing if only for the 1,000 distorted guitars featured on 'Part Two' (and the inclusion of the original demo’s). Critically lambasted it nonetheless reached the top of the British album charts and remained there for three weeks before being deposed from the number one spot by, yup, you guessed it, Tubular Bells.
Ray Harper

buy this album

******************************************************************

Ocean Colour Scene
Songs From The Road (Ruf Records)

Ocean Colour SceneOcean Colour Scene's ninth studio album marks the 21st anniversary of their formation and long term fans will not be disappointed, in fact this could be one of the most coherent albums they have released since Moseley Shoals. Of course detractors will once again point at the retro nature of the set (OCS have always worn their influences proudly) but in essence this is a case of it ain’t broke, and their old mucker Paul Wellers more experimental recent outing has certainly influenced what is a pretty eclectic set of songs. If you didn’t like ‘em before this won’t change your mind, fans and 'don’t knows' should give it a listen.
Ray Harper

buy this album

******************************************************************

Oh No Ono
Eggs (Leaf)

Oh No OnoThe second album (although their debut on Leaf) from this Danish quintet – Aske Zidore (guitar, vocals), Malthe Fischer (vocals, guitar), Nis Svoldgaard (bass, vocals), Nicolai Koch (keyboards) and Kristoffer Rom (drums) – who formed in 2003 and are proper pop stars in their homeland. Sounding not unlike a psychedelic space-jam between The Flaming Lips and Animal Collective produced by Phil Spector Eggs is seriously jammed with ideas, often in the space of one song, and whilst not all of it gels there is more than enough going on here to make you keep jabbing at the play button to reveal ever more layers.
Ray Harper

buy this album

******************************************************************

The Orb
Baghdad Batteries (Malicious Damage)

The Orb Those amongst you who hanker for the days when clouds were fluffy and the Ultraworld could boast rulers with large pulsating brains will be delighted to hear that Dr. Alex Patterson - once again working with Thomas Fehlmann (who was absent for 2007’s The Dream) – has rediscovered his woozy ambient roots and the vast majority of this revisits the psychedelic dub-centric territory beloved of chill-out rooms and spliff-head bedsits. Paterson’s desire to explore new territories are both desirable and welcome but for many of us this is where he does his finest work and Baghdad Batteries is right up there with their debut and U.F.Orb.
Drew Bass

buy this album

******************************************************************

Oneida
Rated O (jagjaguwar)

OneidaFollowing hot on the heels of Preteen Weaponry, the first in Oneida’s ‘Thank Your Parents’ triptych comes triple album (yup that’s triple album) Rated O and what a wondrous beast it is from the dubbed up clanking of opening track ‘Brownout In Lagos’ to the slow building (over twenty minutes of building in fact), psyched out krautrock of closing track ‘Folk Wisdom’ this lunatic sprawl takes the bands love of building on repetition and just keeps ramping up the ante. Occasionally things career off into unfocussed cacophony but then Oneida are really pushing the limits here, and when it works (as much of it does) it’s fucking mesmeric.
Ruby Palmer

buy this album

**********************************************************************

Orbital
Orbital 20

OrbitalBoth a twenty year anniversary compilation (with, yup you’ve guessed it, twenty tracks) and a timely reminder that the brothers Hartnoll are once again working together (hurrah!) Orbital 20 is the perfect introduction to anyone who missed the most consistently excellent of the late ‘80s dance acts the first time around. There are certainly no complaints about the choice of material (‘Halcyon’, ‘Lush 3’, ‘Chime’, ‘Belfast’ and ‘Impact’ are all dance classics), and although there’s very little in the way of new material for older fans there are some new live versions and Tom Middleton’s remix of ‘Halcyon’ is a very welcome inclusion.
Drew Bass

buy this album

******************************************************************

Oasis
Dig Out Your Soul (Big Brother)

OasisTaking Oasis to task because their new album sounds not unlike their previous albums is a favourite journo ploy (along with ‘it’s not as good as the first two’), and is a bit like complaining that The Rolling Stones only ever sound like The Rolling Stones! If you want wild invention you’ve got Radiohead, if you want reliable, hook laden, riff heavy Beatles for the noughties rock then Oasis are yer men and the first four tracks here are as good as anything they have ever recorded. On the downside Gem Archer and Andy Bell’s efforts should have been left in pro-tools but Liam’s efforts aren’t too bad and Noel is in fine old form.
Ruby Palmer

buy this album

******************************************************************

Lothar Ohlmeier and Isambard Khroustaliov
Nowhere (Not Applicable)

Lothar OhlmeierFans of Kieran Hebden’s recent improvisational link up with free jazz drum legend Steve Reid will probably already know of the existence of this release – if you like jazz tinged experimental music then you generally develop a radar for new stuff. Three years in the making this collaboration between Khroustaliov (Sam Britton from the electronic duo Icarus), and bass clarinet player Ohlmeier is much sparser sounding than fans of either man might expect, as glitchy electronica underpin meandering clarinet lines – although things do get decidedly hairy on ‘After Sunrise’. Of course it’s not easy listening, but then it’s not supposed to be.
Paul Riley

buy this album

******************************************************************

William Orbit
Strange Cargo II (Capitol/IRS)

William OrbitWilliam Orbit (or William Mark Wainwright or Billy Bubbles depending on when you first met the man) is probably best known for his work on Madonna's Grammy snaffling, multi million selling, Ray of Light, and his production work on 13 by Blur, but actually he has a decent sized back catalogue of his own, this being the second in his Strange Cargo series (Strange Cargo, Strange Cargo II, Strange Cargo III. and Strange Cargo Hinterland) and is filled with exactly the sort of beat driven, ambient, world-music-tinged sounds you would have heard in Ibizan chill out joints when it was first released back in 1990, and it still works well today.
Drew Bass

Buy this album

******************************************************************

The Orb
The Dream (Liquid Sounds)

The OrbReunited once again with Youth (the pairing that gave us ambient house classics like ‘A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From the Centre of the Ultraworld’ and the sublime ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’) Dr. Alex Paterson has reigned in some of the more wilful dicking about that marred several later Orb releases, rediscovered the dubwise vibe, stoner humour and inspired sampling that made their first two albums such essential listening – even going so far as to dip back into UFOrb’s ‘Blue Room’ on ‘The Truth Is...’ - and in consequence The Dream is the best thing the Orb have released since the early nineties.
Drew Bass

buy this album

******************************************************************

Oceansize
Frames (Superball)

OceansizeCompared elsewhere to the Verve and Doves, Oceansize actually have more in common with post-rockers like Mogwai, their penchant for convoluted and twisted rhythms recalling prog alchemists like Tool or the Mars Volta, and with none of the eight tracks here clocking in at under six minutes this is avowedly radio-unfriendly territory. Less accessible than previous outing Everyone Into Position perhaps, but more fully realised then debut Effloresce, Frames is a rollercoaster of twists and turns and sounds like a band who have finally found their stride, let’s hope they’re given the opportunity to continue this fascinating journey.


buy this album

******************************************************************

Various Artists: Mixed By The Orb
The Art Of Chill 4 (Platipus Records)

Art Of Chill 4The fourth instalment in this, increasingly excellent, mix series which, given Alex Paterson’s notoriously eclectic taste (and sense of humour), was always going to be as challenging as it was chilled. So we have David Bowie and Brian Eno rubbing shoulders with the Penguin Café Orchestra and the Mad Professor, Steve Hillage (the man behind the previous Art Of Chill outing) bumping up against The City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra/Crouch End Festival Chorus and the results are gloriously off-kilter but chilled in a way that most ‘ambient’ collections completely fail to fathom. Music to immerse yourself in, not nod off to.


buy this album

******************************************************************

Yoko Ono
Yes, I’m A Witch (Parlophone)

Yoko Ono Expect many a ‘Yoko makes good album shock!’ type reviews around this collaboration/remix album, at which Yoko will doubtless nod sagely, she is after all the arty witch who ruined the Beatles right? Condescending bollocks aside these re-sculpted Yoko Ono vocal performances prove, if nothing else, that the source material is not all atonal banshee howling - ‘Cambridge 1969’, given a wonderfully demented going over here by the Flaming Lips, accepted. Beat-based reinventions abound but the likes of Jason Pierce, Cat Power and The Polyphonic Spree ensure the vocal performances are given plenty of varied backdrops to shine against.


buy this album

******************************************************************

Original Silence
The First Original Silence (Smalltown Superjazz)

Original SilenceFree-jazz, avant-noise alert! Free-jazz, avant-noise alert! If you are the sort of person who reaches for the paracetemol (or indeed a length of rope) at the mention of Albert Ayler or the Boredoms then pass right along, there’s nothing for you here. This is music for people who can no longer find what they are after in the high street, or indeed on the radio, this is music that challenges your notion of what ‘music’ is, this is music that wilts house plants and prompts neighbours to move, this is Thurston Moore, Jim O’Rourke, Nordic noise-miesters Thing and pals improvising two, long, ear-boggling tracks. Nice.


buy this album

******************************************************************

The Orb
Adventures Beyond The Ultradome:Deluxe Edition (Island)

The OrbCobbling reggae, ambient, house and spoken word samples – Dr. Alex Paterson and pals were very taken with Byrne and Eno’s My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts – together into, what was at the time, an astonishing melange, when the Orb first landed they were genuinely like nothing else around and their debut outing still sounds incredibly fresh today. Now extended to three CD’s, including a cracking Peel session and several hard to find mixes, The Orb would go on to make some great music (follow up UFOrb being a case in point), but this remains their masterpiece and as such deserves a place in every record collection.


Buy this album

******************************************************************

Ojos de Brujo
Techari (Pias)

Ojos de BrujoStylistically far more genre mashing than their previous outing Bari Ojos de Brujo are ostensibly a flamenco outfit, but that is a bit like saying Eno only does ambient, as jazz, reggae, hip hop (raps courtesy of Faada Freddy, from Senegal's Daara J.), Eastern vibes and even the odd blast of rock weave their way into this heady stew of Latin tinged gumbo. Apparently nothing beats seeing this lot doing their thing live but, unless you are heading out to Madrid in the very near future (or were lucky enough to catch ‘em at the La Linea Festival ’06 in London) then this is a pretty damn good second option.


buy this album

******************************************************************

Oceansize
Everyone Into Position (Beggars Banquet)

OceansizeAnother export from the musical breeding grounds of Manchester, this particular five piece hailing from the big noise camp. No, that’s an understatement, this is immense noise, sky-scraping, goose-bump inducing, momentous noise, the sort of noise you only get when three people hammer hell out of their guitars at once. Naturally enough there’s some quiet bits dotted around (all the better to make the big stuff more prodigiously colossal), and enough twiddly bits to qualify for inclusion in the new prog movement, but the most important thing is all this mayhem is controlled, barely in places, but controlled nonetheless, and we love it

Buy this album

******************************************************************

Oasis
Don’t Believe The Truth (Big Brother)

OasisChances are, if you are a big Oasis fan you will already have this, and if you are one of the legion of naysayers who believe the band peaked around the release of their second album, you won’t. The undecided's amongst you however may be interested to learn that Don’t Believe The Truth is actually something of a return to form, not least because Gallagher senior has finally relinquished control a little, allowing the other three to pitch in their best ideas, and to pretty good effect. Once again it’s great fun playing spot the influence, and the lyrics veer from catchy to laughable, but on this evidence Oasis are far from a spent force


Buy this album

******************************************************************

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Back to main page


Features

features
Interviews with Supergrass, Ryan Adams, Mark Josephs and our features archive.
more

****************** Live listings

live listings What's on and where Check the listings for all the latest news on where to go and why
more

******************
Demos

Possibly the most important demo page this side of a recording contract.
more

******************
DVD Reviews

features
Our roundup of all the latest DVD releases, top notch or bottom drawer we watch ‘em and then let you know if they’re fit to pop in yer slot
more

****************** Class act


A full page monthly retrospective look at the most Influential acts from the last fiftyyears.
more


Web site designed, built and maintained by Craig Goult at XUNY in association with CaPhun Ung at Phyo.net