I can’t recall when or where I first heard The Orb‘s “Little Fluffy Clouds,” though I can most certainly confirm that no chemical substances were involved. I happened upon the ambient-house classic for the first time in eons only a few days ago, and what a wonderful, creatively constructed piece of music it remains.
“Little Fluffy Clouds” takes its title from the track’s prominent vocal sample, pulled from a promotional interview Rickie Lee Jones recorded for her 1989 album, Flying Cowboys. Recalling her childhood in Arizona, the singer-songwriter offers a colorful description of the skies she saw overhead as a young girl. Though the track featured at least three other uncleared samples, Jones was the only party not pleased, pursuing legal action against The Orb’s record label for unauthorized use of her voice. The matter was eventually settled out of court, but it’s a little ironic, since the exposure from “Little Fluffy Clouds” probably did more to bring Jones recognition than anything she recorded around that time or since.
First issued as a UK single in July 1990, “Little Fluffy Clouds” was featured on the British group’s debut album, The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, released in August 1991. “Little Fluffy Clouds” hit U.S. clubs that November, peaking at #13 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play chart the following year. Click play, close your eyes, and ride the rainbow:
Alex Paterson, who’s really The Orb’s only permanent member, is collaborating on a new project with producer Youth (with whom Paterson created the original version of “Little Fluffy Clouds”) and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Titled Metallic Spheres, the album is scheduled for release on October 4, and will reportedly feature 3D sound.
Get the necessary accessories ready.