The Orb return with a new EP on the Kompakt label called “Alpine”.
“Alpine” is split in to three tracks “Morning”, “Evening” and “Dawn”. The third of these was included on the 2016 edition of Kompakt’s annual “Pop Ambient” compilation, a gently drifting track with plenty of bells and yodels. A diversion from the sounds of Moonbuilding 2703 AD (and its presumably ongoing remixed companion EPs), but it sat nicely with the other tracks.
“Alpine Dawn” sounds pretty much how you’d expect an Orb track with this title to sound. It’s pleasant and doesn’t go anywhere in particular. It’s a bit trippy. The other tracks on this EP, as you’d guess from their titles, do not add a great deal more to the mix. “Morning” evolves out of the same blissed out atmospheres as “Dawn” but churns into something a little more awake halfway through - probably in reaction to that cheesy yodel sample.
“Evening” then takes that crunchy dubby beat and runs with it. It’s probably a better beat than any of the rather fiddlier affairs on “Moonbuilding 2703AD”, perhaps it’s not too serious and perhaps because it’s just evolved naturally out of another bit of music. While “Moonbuilding 2703AD” was a welcome return for their longer-form experiments, “Alpine” shows that they sometimes need about twenty minutes to get where they are going. Nevertheless, it bodes well for the future that they can still produce these beautiful slabs of engaging music seemingly out of nowhere. There’s life in the old Orb yet.