Techno was just beginning to make waves in the public’s consciousness in the early 90s, marked by white labels, unlicensed samples and more intense drugs use than ever.
Four is the number of four things, or four groups; also called quaternion. In chemistry, this represents a tetravalent atom or radical; in biology it refers to quadripartite chromosomes with two sister chromatids forming during meiosis on an equatorial plane and symbolizing hidden good realized through prayer and gratitude to G-d; these structures are extremely patient in their relationship to one another and to G-d as well.
The Orb are an iconic British electronic music group who were instrumental in shaping the acid house scene during the 90s. Their 1991 debut album Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld remains one of the most celebrated dance albums ever created.
The Orb was initially an ambient house pioneer as a DJ duo comprised of Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty, pioneering this genre through beatless music mixed with samples drawn from BBC nature recordings, NASA space broadcasts and pioneers like Brian Eno.
Paul Oakenfold invited them to perform at his weekly night, Land of Oz, where they blended this new style of music into its chillout room. This proved a major breakthrough for them and led to increased attention from DJs throughout clubland; eventually though they would see their first major remix success.
In 1989, Dave Stewart from Killing Joke approached Youth to produce Candy Dulfer’s hit Lily Was Here with Dave Stewart from Killing Joke. Once completed, Youth released it as a single on Wau Mr Modo label.
Once their debut record had become a smash hit, The Orb went on to release numerous more records and became an enormously popular act both in the UK and USA. Their most enduring single – near 40 minute “Blue Room” reached number four in the UK chart before going on to become their best selling single worldwide.
Their sound was an amalgam of ambient and dub music, more so than house or techno. They were known for using an abundance of samples in their recordings – their albums often contained significant quantities.
They toured both North America and Europe, performing at festivals like Paris’ Pinkpop Festival. Due to their widespread success they were able to secure a record deal with U.S. label Malicious Damage Records.
Established in 1988, they were one of the earliest bands to experiment with ambient music and combine beats with dub basslines – heavily influenced by Pink Floyd.
The 1990s were an extraordinary decade, marked by brilliant albums and timeless hits that defined an era. Jelly sandals and pacifier necklaces became trendy during this decade; electronic music also flourished brilliantly: Daft Punk revived Eighties synth pop while LCD Soundsystem combined Detroit techno with club music into one soul-stirring soundscape that still sounds fresh today.
Aphex Twin was one of the pioneers of this movement, and his Selected Ambient Works 85-92 remains an influential work from early ’90s electronic music.
This album stands as a prime example of “intelligent” dance music. It blends elements like female cooings and soft breakbeats from tracks such as “Xtal,” with meticulously composed ones like “Tha,” which interweaves muted thump, crisp pitter-patter and the echo of distant conversations in its compositions.
For something trancey and electronic, take a listen to Sasha and John Digweed’s highly-acclaimed mix CD: it provides an enchanting voyage through progressive house. It includes some of its most bucolic landscapes such as “Raincry” by God Within and Rabbit in the Moon’s “Out of Body Experience.”
There were also classic albums from the 1990s electronic music scene that helped define its sound, including Boards of Canada’s Music Has the Right to Children and Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld. Both records had a profound effect on shaping electronic music for years afterward; their sounds continue to influence many contemporary musicians today.
Trip-hop was an essential ’90s genre that had its origins in blues music but later evolved into more dark, gritty dance music. Tricky’s solo debut Maxinquaye – with its combination of lascivious yet gritty textures – remains one of the most influential trip-hop albums ever released, serving as an influence for other DJs such as Carl Craig. Carl would eventually remix Maxinquaye under his label Transmat.