Review: The Orb feat. Lee Scratch Perry – More Tales from the Orbservatory
Published on June 6th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
First thing’s first: which is the preferred styling of Lee Scratch Perry’s artist name? Should ‘Scratch’ be in quotation marks – ie. Lee “Scratch” Perry – in order to indicate its nickname status? Or inverted commas, perhaps? A cursory google shows the inconsistency of styling that really should be more closely scrutinised by PR/webmaster types who either take it upon themselves to decide whether or not a particular band should be prefixed by ‘The’ or not, or couldn’t give two hoots either way.
Maybe ‘Scratch’ should be scrawled upside down, in yellow crayon and jagged bubble writing? It might more accurately reflect the 77-year-old’s enduring inscrutability across More Tales from the Orbservatory, his second album in collaboration with UK electronic staples The Orb.
Sifting through Perry’s hilarious, football-related witterings over the top of “Fussball” – which, incidentally, sounds like a juddering, dubby reimagining of some Selected Ambient Works-era Aphex Twin thing – it proves too tempting to speculate on just how great it would be if Perry formed a band with Mark E. Smith. Or just give them each a megaphone and free rein of our streets, cackling and haranguing passers by with their semi-coherent streams of consciousness. Now that’s a town that Rocksucker would happily take up residence in.
That we’ve spent two paragraphs prattling on about name styling and an imagined collaboration is indicative of how little there is to report here. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just entirely compliant with expectations: “Africa” clinks, chuffs and crinkles its merry little way through Perry’s scatterbrained ramblings, while “Making Love in Dub” also throws some nice cross-sensory percussive things into the mix, and after six tracks of roughly the same basic thing – the delightful whirring electronics in “Don’t Rush I” notwithstanding – we are then served up instrumental renderings of each, which seems to miss the point a bit.
More Tales from the Orbservatory is more diverting than it is something to genuinely recommend, hitting various dubby, beatsy sweet spots and coming across as relatively content to exist as a mere curio. There’s nowt too much wrong with that, really, but you wouldn’t mention it in the same breath as either artist’s best works.
Rocksucker says: Two and a Half Quails out of Five!
More Tales from the Orbservatory is out now on Cooking Vinyl.
You can buy More Tales from the Orbservatory on iTunes and on Amazon.