The Orb’s psychedelic catalog of hymns has been intruging audiophiles for nearly two decades, and on the group’s newest release ….The Dream, Alex Paterson uses sonic innovation to guide listeners through complex neurological transmutations that exist beyond the realm of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Reunited with longtime friend and collaborator, producer Martin “Youth” Glover, Paterson trades the fluff and poppy sound prevalent on more recent work with the lounge friendly dubtempo sound of The Orb’s Adventures in the Ultraworld. The lush panaoramic sounds of “Vuje De,” High Noon,” and “Mother Nature” demonstrate how the cross polination of beautiful orchestrations and technology can turn sound into an experience. In retrospect, though, it is unfair to review ….The Dream track by track because the album was not designed in that fashion.
Most albums today are not really albums. They function like compilations due to the fact that single track downloads and ringtones are more in demand by consumers today than full length LPs. To fully comprehend ….The Dream one must recognize it as a singular entity that recreates itself at various key points in the sequence. For example, when moving from a bright area to a dark area your eyes require an adjustment period in order to function properly. Pupils that fail to contract going from a light to dark environment make it nearly impossible for the brain to understand its surroundings, and the same thing goes for one’s ears in reference to this album. Without listening to “The Dream,” “Vuje De,” and “Something Special,” grasping the concept behind “A Beautiful Day” becomes an arduous task. Haphazardly skimming tracks on …The Dream can make particular soundbites like “I’m Invisible!” on “The Truth is..” seem bizarre and out of context.
While …The Dream acts as a sonic playground, engulfed by mesmerizing sound collages and multi-faceted narratives, it is definitely an album that requires your full attention. That’s not to say that any normal Joe looking for a new sound can’t purchase this album and revel in its brilliance. This just means he’ll have to become an active listener to absorb the entire experience.
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