Dr. ALEX PATERSON

Booking: info(@)folkwisdom.net

The Orb’s frontman Dr. Alex Paterson’s formula is quite simple: he slowed down the rhythms of classic Chicago house and added synthwork and effects inspired by ’70s ambient pioneers Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream. To make the whole a bit more listenable — as opposed to danceable — obscure vocal samples were looped, usually providing a theme for tracks which lacked singing.

Paterson had worked as a roadie for Killing Joke during the ’80s, and began to be influenced by the explosion of Chicago house music in England during the mid- to late ’80s. He joined the A&R department of EG Records — the home of Brian Eno himself — and first recorded as the Orb with Jimi Cauty (who had played in the Killing Joke side project Brilliant and later gained fame as one half of the KLF). The duo’s first release as the Orb, a failed acid house anthem named “Tripping on Sunshine,” appeared on the 1988 compilation album Eternity Project One. In May 1989, the Orb released the Kiss EP, a four-tracker dedicated to — and heavily sampled from — New York’s KISS-FM. Paterson had begun to DJ in London around this time, and Paul Oakenfold recruited him to man Land of Oz, the chill-out room at his club Heaven.

Paterson’s ambient sets incorporated a wide array of samples and sound effects, ranging from BBC nature recordings to NASA space broadcasts and special effects. With those samples mixed underneath the music of ambient pioneers such as Eno and Steve Hillage, his sets became popular alternatives for dancefloor victims and worn-out club kids. Hillage happened to be in the room one night when Paterson sampled his Rainbow Dome Musick album. The two became friends and later recorded together, Hillage contributing guitar to the Orb’s “Blue Room” single and Paterson working on the debut album by Hillage’s System 7 project (or 777, as it is known in the States due to copyright problems with Macintosh).

Alex Paterson is also available with Roger Eno or with Paul Conboy of Bomb The Bass as Chocolate Hills