The Orb (sometimes credited as simply Orb) is a British electronic music band known for pioneering the genre of ambient house. The Orb is heavily influenced by dub music, and much of their later output has been in the electronic dub category, more so than ambient house.
The group was formed in 1988 by Dr. Alex Paterson (full name Duncan Robert Alex Paterson) and Jimmy Cauty (one half of The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu and later The KLF). The Orb’s first release was the acid house anthem “Tripping on Sunshine”.
In May 1989, The Orb released the “Kiss EP”, which was heavily influenced by New York’s KISS FM. Paterson began DJing around London, England at this time when he met Paul Oakenfold. At Oakenfold’s behest, Paterson began DJing at Land of Oz, the chill-out room at Heaven.
Paterson mixed samples of BBC nature recordings, NASA space broadcasts and everything in between into the music of ambient pioneers such as Brian Eno. Around this time, Paterson met Steve Hillage and Hillage later contributed guitar to the Orb’s “Blue Room” single. In return Paterson worked on Hillage’s System 7 project.
In October 1989 The Orb released the 22-minute single “A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld”, which contains large chunks of Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You”. The single managed to reach the lower end of the UK chart. Although Paterson and Cauty had been working on a debut album, the two split in April 1990. Cauty removed Paterson’s contributions to the album and released the remainder as “Space”.