Music for Hippies

Music for Hippies
Tangerine Dream Ricochet
In the Post 86 section, Penguin has just put up the Orb’s first (1989) record. I don’t have any Orb music, but listening to the first track – Loving You: Orbital mix – it sounded eerily familiar. (and beautiful and haunting). Eventually I worked out that it sounded like Tangerine Dream – their 1975 album Ricochet.

Tangerine Dream Alpha Centauri

Tangerine Dream? Now that is what I call music for hippies. Is this strange? That you can go from 1975 straight to 1989 in one smooth movement – as if there was nothing in between.

Although Penguin says:

The Orb seemed to me a progression of the Club Dog club vibe, with artists like Another Green World and Webcore. The Spiral Tribe and Bedlam Sound Systems, who I have DJ’ed with. Also the Whirl-y-Gig set up, continued this spirit for me personally later on in the 1990’s.
I often wonder if Kill Your Pet Puppy was written in 1989 instead of 1979 what would the front cover have written on it?
In 1979 the cover stated ’Ants/Tuinol/Crass’. I would guess that the cover for 1989 would probably have read ‘The Orb/Ecstasy/Spiral Tribe’!

But then where did Club Dog come from? I can’t place it in time, but I do remember going a couple of times, but having kids -Sky: 1983, Elizabeth: 1987, AL junior:1990 and Callum:1991 – restricted access to such interesting places. From 1988 onwards my main source of music was listening to and taping stuff from ‘acid’ house music pirate stations.

Though did see Ozricks Tentacles play at Greenlands Farm, Glastonbury in 1985 and I think they did a bit of synthesiser doodling – but have never heard them since…

OK, rather than waffle on – how did a group like The Orb emerge in 1989 playing music which (at least to an old hippy like me) sounded / still sounds more like Tangerine Dream circa 1975?

Final note – on Radio Two (?) there was a programme about ‘psychedelic music’ a few years ago and it ended with The Orb’s ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ as an example of modern psychedelic music. There is a video for it here

Tangerine Dream are still going and have a web site here.

  1. betab
    February 29, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    my theory – for what it’s worth – is that the connection is dub. If roots reggae provided the non-adrenal-overdose to the thrashy end of punk, it makes sense that the increasingly spacious, increasingly cut up and reformed dub feel should be reinvented with entirely studio and keyboard based twiddling as an alternative to the hyper end of acid house. And then there’s the Androids of Mu strand – all the same people I knew who had that also had at least some tangerine dream – can – underground stuff as well which would get dug out in 3am mellower moments

  2. Nic
    February 29, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Some of my takes on this very interesting post…

    The reason, perhaps Al, why you can theoretically move from 1975 to 1989 with nothing inbetween is both an example of the way in which cults seek to erase the immediate past (to enter a ‘Year Zero’ position which further validates their existence as “the only thing that matters right now”), and the increasing tendency within culture to return to its previous manifestations and mutate them into subtly shifted combinations…

    I would see Club Dog coming out of the following environs:
    – The early-to-mid 1980’s ‘Sixties / psychedelic’ revival
    – Increased interest in the ‘Free Festival’ scene as a ‘lifestyle’ response to
    the excesses of the Thatcherite milieu…

    Thinking of the ‘Psych Revival’:
    The early 1980’s were very much characterised by music which looked backwards to the past (from the ‘smooth jazz’ cult around Sade to the ‘Hit Factory’ sensibility detected in many of that periods overtly ‘Pop’ chart hits)…

    The underground strand of this tendency led backwards to the as-yet unsullied territory of Rockabilly (as part of the late 1970’s ‘Ted Revival’ which quickly mutated into Psychobilly as it merged with the tailend of Punk) and to 1960’s garage Punk (‘Nuggets’, the ‘Pebbles’ LP’s, the scene in London, etc) which is an easy stepping-stone for more ‘psychedelic’ music….It also incorporated the interest in the factory / velvet Underground which underpinned much of the ‘Indie’ music of the decade…

    In the mid-1980’s, this sense of nostalgia also affected the music made by ‘Hippies’. Bands like Ozric Tentacles, Webcore, The Ullulators and the Oroonies were looking backwards into their record collections, and combining elements of the more ‘spacey’ sections of early German ‘Hippy’ music (Faust, Can, Amon Duul, Tangerine Dream, neu, harmonia, Guru Guru) with the metronomic rhythms of ‘Krautrock’ (Neu, early Kraftwerk, early Can – and some of Steve Hillage’s work in the 1970’s) and the availability of synthesiser technology…
    All of these elements – the metronomic rhythms, psychedelic sounds and an interest in synthesiser technology – combine to move towards the sphere of the nascent ‘Acid House’ music , and facilitate an easy osmosis…

    This flow in music ties into the developments on the social sphere…
    When the ‘Free Festivals’ were under increasing pressure (the ‘Battle of the Beanfield’ can be seen as a demarcator of a radical shift), there was a re-focus on parties in the cities (or at least in land nearer to the cities) – such as Pullens festival – which again drove this sub-culture towards the nascent ‘Dance’ sub-culture – and led on to elements like Club Dog…As the party was stopped in one area, the party people just moved on to wherever the next party, the next buzz was located…
    I remember in 1987: a bunch of people who had been ‘Hippies’ suddenly (almost overnight) became ‘Ravers’…There was something in both sub-cultures that meant that had a strong affinity (beyond the obvious appalling taste in clothing 🙂 )…

    At the same time, the ‘failure’ of ‘Anarcho Punk’ had focused many people of the ‘Traveller’ lifestyle which seemed to provide an exciting new possibility. This was – in essence – an extension of the ‘lifestyle Anarchist’ position, and people left the cities (and – by implication – the ongoing conflict there) to explore a more personalised lifestyle…
    The later harsh realities of this lifestyle meant that (from a cynical point of view) many of the ‘Travellers’ were more than happy to be involved in the ‘Free Party’ scene as it meant a means of raising an income…

    Thinking of the Orb:
    Paterson is a self-confessed Hippy, and The Orb represents (in some ways) his own conscious return to his musical roots…
    Along with his acknowledgment (as betab pointed out) that people required a contrast to the more insistent BPMs: in a scene defined (at least partly) in formal terms by the more ‘up’ BPMs, it seems inevitable that the only other place to go is to reduce the BPMs or eliminate them altogether (as KLF did)…

  3. Tony Puppy
    Tony Puppy
    March 9, 2008 at 11:23 am

    The Orb emerged from the parties held by Jimmy Cauty at his home in Camberwell in the late eighties/early nineties.

    Jimmy had an old synth at his house, with which party-goers used to have fun making farty and squelchy noises. Then Alex Patterson came along, and could make the synth produce music, the ambient movement was born.

    Originally the Orb was Alex and Jimmy, but through fear of it being seen as a KLF side-project it became Alex’s solo project.

    These sort of parties were prelevant in Camberwell and Stoke Newington at the time where rock met rave.

    Once whilst being interviewed about Punk for a tv programme I tried to introduce the concept of the Orb as a continuation of anarcho-punk. This was cut from the broadcast version as the interviewer wanted me to talk about Green Day and Lincoln Park.

  4. danmac
    March 9, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    been meaning to post about this for a while. there’s loads and loads of links here.
    was lou from dirt the lou who ran the well known early acid night rip at clink st? need confirmation on that.
    genesis p famously making the jack the tab lp without ever having heard any acid
    acid sound systems at the mutoid parties in battlebridge rd
    the travellers were indeed quick on the uptake as paul wilson will testify – lots of west country / middle england soundsystem action though not welcomed by all on the traveller scene
    london squat parties moving from bands to djs from the late 80s to early 90s
    all the many many free / squat party soundsystems spiral tribe / bedlam etc including
    top chap chris liberator aka chris hagar – mentions the wapping autonomy centre in this bio and nights i put on in 91 / 92 called shrape / urge:
    a lot of the other acid techno djs were old anarchos a couple from back to the planet
    jeno was one of the english emigres who kick started the west coast rave scene talked about drumming in an anarcho band in interviews – anyone know which one? he was linked with the squats down in royal college street where mixmaster morris and the shamen lived in the late 80s – i played metal percussion at some of their synergy nights
    phil hartnoll from orbital regularly named crass as inspiration.
    going back a bit earlier mark moore mentions the kings cross punk squats here:
    i also remember reading an interview with someone fairly unlikely like ashley beedle name checking kill your pet puppy – can anyone help out with this.
    anyways i know there’s loads of you with stories to tell – fire away….

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