The heaviest dub track is “Go Down Evil,” which has the strength of some of Perry’s early work. This is the type of music that The Clash was so inspired by in their Sandinista! days, and it is refreshing. Speaking of The Clash, one of their greatest covers was a version of Perry’s “Police and Thieves.” The song appears here with a very interesting arrangement. The opening segment is almost a “Scratch” rap. Actually, it is more in the style of the precursor to rap, “toasting.” It is a very cool version, and adds a lot to the album.
It closes with two very strong cuts. “Ashes” is really only a fragment of a song at 1:25, but it is incredible. The sound-sculptures that Paterson and Fehlmann have created are a thing of wonder, and Perry’s voice is perfect. Much the same can be said for the final tune, “Congo.” Once again, The Orb and Perry have found a way of expressing their unique talents in a way that blends together very well.
My mixed feelings about the record may be a matter of programming. Instead of front-loading the CD with the finest tracks, they are sprinkled throughout. I would give the album a B grade I suppose, and that could very well be based on what my own high expectations were. As previously stated, I believe that Lee “Scratch” Perry just gets better and better—check out his Revelation (2010) album and see for yourself.
With The Orb, I have a hard time moving past 1992. I don’t think they have recorded anything approaching the timeless beauty of Adventures in the Ultraworld or U.F. Orb in the past 20 years. So maybe it is just my problem in the end. I still think that the trip-hop stuff sounds far more dated than something like “Blue Room” though.
Fans of both artists need to hear The Orbserver in the Star House and draw their own conclusions. If you liked Orbus Terrarum or Orblivion, you may really like this one. And you can never go wrong with “The Upsetter” himself, Lee “Scratch” Perry anyway.