The Orb Cydonia

This is an album that his been in the can for a year and a half. Rather than aging quickly, as so many electronic records do, Cydonia is supported by strong ideas drawn from ambient house, dub, breakbeat and minimalist composition. Cydonia doesn't sound groundbreaking, because they've explored these ideas before, to some extent. Dr. Alex Patterson and co. have always been excellent songwriters, and their material remains listenable whether three or ten years old. While this is no huge departure from Orblivion, if anything this new CD matches even better with their earlier material. The catchy first single, "Once More," would mix quite nicely into "Perpetual Dawn." There are some serious dub riffs on bass, as usual - is Jah Wobble back for another go around? "A Mile Long Lump Of Lard" has an irresistible momentum with its guitar-like modulating synth figures. The album as a whole has a whiff of Future Music Magazine about it: it sounds high tech, smooth and a little sterile. Perhaps Dr. Alex is getting a little less freaky as the years go by: the sampled voices are not as funny as they used to be and the dub effects are not as likely to rip your head off as before. This is only a deficiency for the first few spins, after a while Cydonia's more subtle virtues are revealed. It won't impress the hell out of you at first, but will likely go into your heavy rotation for months. (Universal)