Jimmy Cauty - Ambient House, 1988–1992

Ambient House, 1988–1992

In the late 1980s, Cauty met Alex Paterson and the duo began DJ-ing and producing together as The Orb. Paterson and Cauty's first release was a 1988 acid house anthem track, "Tripping on Sunshine" released on the German record compilation Eternity Project One. Eternity Project One also featured a collaborative track between Cauty and future Orb member Kris Weston. The following year, The Orb released the Kiss EP, a four-track EP based on samples from New York City's Kiss FM. It was released on Paterson and Glover's new record label WAU/Mr. Modo Records, which Paterson and Glover created out of a desire to maintain financial independence from larger record labels. After spending a weekend of making what Paterson described as "really shit drum sounds", the duo decided to abandon beat-heavy music and instead work on music for after-hours listening by "taking the bloody drums away". Paterson and Cauty began DJ-ing in London and landed a deal for The Orb to play the chill out room at London nightclub Heaven. Resident DJ Paul Oakenfold brought in the duo specifically as ambient DJs for his "The Land of Oz" event at Heaven. Though initially The Orb's Monday night performances had only several "hard-core" followers, their "Chill Out Room" act grew popular over the course of their six month stay at Heaven to the point that the small room was often packed with around 100 people. The Orb's performances became especially popular among weary DJs and clubbers who sought solace from the loud, rhythmic music of the dancefloor. The Orb would build up melodies using multitrack recordings linked to multiple record decks and a mixer. They incorporated many CDs, cassettes, and BBC sound effects into their act, often accompanied with pieces of popular dance tracks such as "Sueño Latino". Most often, they played dub reggae and other chill out music which they described as "Ambient house for the E generation."

Throughout 1989, Paterson, Cauty, and Martin Glover developed the musical genre of ambient house through the use of a diverse array of samples and recordings. The culmination of their musical work came towards the end of the year when The Orb recorded a session for John Peel on BBC Radio 1. The track, then known as "Loving You", was largely improvisational and featured a wealth of sound effects and samples from science fiction radio plays, nature sounds, and Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You". For its release as a single on record label Big Life, The Orb changed the title to "A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld". In 1990, Paterson and Cauty held several recording sessions at Cauty's studio, Trancentral. Out of these sessions came The KLF album Chill Out, on which Paterson appeared in an uncredited role. The Grove Dictionary suggests Chill Out to be the first ambient house album. When offered an album deal by Big Life, The Orb found themselves at a crossroads. Cauty preferred that albums by The Orb were released on his KLF Communications label, whereas Paterson wanted to ensure The Orb did not become an offshoot of The KLF. Due to these issues, Cauty and Paterson split in April 1990, with Paterson keeping the name The Orb. Cauty removed Paterson's contributions from the recordings in progress and released the album as Space on KLF Communications.

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