Sunday, 1 March 2015

Oliver: The Orb - Little Fluffy Clouds [Cumulo Nimbus mix] (1 December 1991)

"Welcome to MTV's Unplugged. A show in which some of the world's top bands perform acoustic sets, entirely unaccompanied without any electronic instruments.  Tonight, on MTV Unplugged, will you please welcome, The Orb."  (Newman and Baddiel in Pieces, 1993)

Three sentences which served for many years to reduce The Orb, and Utah Saints who were spoofed in the same programme, into figures of incompetent fun.  Totally unfair of course given the pioneering work the former had done in ambient dance.  No Orb = no Roykssop, no Lemon Jelly, no Sigur Ros etc.  You can't blame them for Chillout Vol 4 accompanying a million dinner parties.  

Although I knew of Little Fluffy Clouds, I didn't actually KNOW it until hearing this recording.  The Cumulo Nimbus mix of this track was taken from a remix album, Aubrey Mixes - The Ultraworld Excursions, which in a marketing strategy which sounds like an Eric Idle joke, was released and deleted on the same day.  However, this rarity is still available at a decent price on Discogs.

It doesn't sound massively different from the original release: a slight change in tempo, less pronounced beats, some cuts to the spoken word samples, the replacement of the Ennio Morricone sample at the start with something which sounds like the beginning of Reflections by The Supremes.  But, that beguiling, hippy girl voice recounting memories of sunsets in Arizona remains front and centre.  She sounds like the dreamier sister of Phoebe Buffay from Friends, and you can imagine her sitting in a coffee shop with an acoustic guitar over her shoulder, relating tales of her childhood between songs.  Get MTV on the line now, and get The Orb for me, tell them I've got some good news for them.

The original version - "What were the skies like when you were young?"

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