On March 27, 2020, Cooking Vinyl will release Abolition of the Royal Familia the 17th album by THE ORB, formed prolific electronic godfather Alex Paterson and his rotating roster of collaborative cohorts. It forms part two of a pair – a continuation of the same “anything goes” ethos as the previous, critically-acclaimed 2018 longplayer No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds.
This new offering marks the first album with Paterson and Michael Rendall as main writing partners, with the new blood having risen-up-the-ranks from a member of The Orb’s touring band, to a studio engineer, and now graduated to half of the fully-fledged core duo. For this new offering, the pair also took over production duties from Youth, who corralled sessions for the last LP.
Abolition… features guest turns from Youth, Roger Eno, Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy (from Gong and System 7), On U-Sound’s David Harrow, Alex’s dog Ruby, a 17 year-old trumpeter named Oli Cripps (who was working a Saturday job in Alex’s local record shop when the pair met), his cousin Leyton on whistle, real strings courtesy of Violetta, and a whole lot more (listed below).
With its provocative, mafia-alluding title, Hogarth/Chapman Brothers-inspired cover by artist Pure Evil and a no-longer-present sample of Prince Charles (removed for litigious reasons), it’s clear that Abolition.. continues The Orb’s recent run of records which protest against the establishment, albeit in their own roundabout and idiosyncratic way.
1. Daze (Missing & Messed up Mix)
2. House of Narcotics (Opium Wars Mix)
3. Hawk Kings (Oseberg Buddhas Buttonhole)
4. Honey Moonies (Brain Washed at Area 49 Mix)
5. Pervitin (Empire Culling & The Hemlock Stone Version)
6. Afros, Afghans and Angels (Helgö Treasure Chest)
7. Shape Shifters (In Two Parts) (Coffee & Ghost Train Mix)
8. Say Cheese (Siberian Tiger Cookie Mix)
9. Ital Orb (Too Blessed to Be Stressed Mix)
10. The Queen of Hearts (Princess of Clubs Mix)
11. The Weekend It Rained Forever (Oseberg Buddha Mix (The Ravens Have Left the Tower)
12. Slave Till U Die No Matter What U Buy (L’anse Aux Meadows Mix)
The album is in part inspired by and in retrospective protest of the royal family’s historical endorsement of the East India Company’s opium trade, which was hugely damaging to India and caused two wars with China in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Humor, samples, deep ambience, cerebral throbbing dub, classic house, the white island, hip hop, psych and heart-breakingly beautiful contemporary composition are recognizably present, as is, perhaps less expectedly, a proudly pop element.
The journey commences in a light mood with the breezy Balearica of “Daze”, whose psychedelic video tells the tale of Alex’s dog Ruby and what happens when she gets her snout in Orb-branded honey. Blasting off in her doghouse/rocketship that she commandeers with Alex and Michael, she lands on the moon and promptly gets on the dance floor at the Atomic Dog disco before returning to Earth to her master. A “trip” indeed.
“Daze” is followed by cowbell heavy, rude bass-powered “House of Narcotics” – both of which feature Andy Cain (of Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald’s house gems “I’m Your Brother” and “A New Day” fame). Incidentally, the House of Narcotics is apparently what other countries called our royal family, during the aforementioned opium years.