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What surrounds ambient music? Most music comes with a sheaf of commentary attached (on the sleeve and via the media), but what's to be said about the Orb? They are not pop stars. The thing about ambient music and ambient musicians is you never know which one's really meant to be in the background. So while the pair, Kris Weston and Alex Paterson (right), who make up The Orb try to avoid publicity, their music becomes more and more the focus of attention. Which is nice for them. Orb albums are eagerly-awaited - even last year's Live '93 was a treat - and there's another one out next Monday, a 'little album' called Pomme Fritz (six tracks, lots of bad food puns, a mere 44 minutes of electronic jamming). (In fact, there's something a bit longer due in October.)

But how are you supposed to listen to it? And what do you say to your friends afterwards? 'Nice bit of stereo balancing? You can try making it the context - make it the soundtrack to your bath, or a car ride through the country - or you can perch on the edge of your Parker Knoll and play spot the sample ('Ooh, there goes a bit of Can. . . .'), but neither are very satisfying. There are no little fluffy clouds in this one. It's much harder work than that. This is their least straightforwardly rhythmical record to date, so dancing is out of the question, unless you're double-jointed. Even when the Orb play live, people tend to lie down. The only thing left to do is to create your own commentary as the record goes along. Talk all over it. Apparently, it's already being played on Radio 1.

Pomme Fritz is out on Island/Inter-Modo on Monday

(Photograph omitted)

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