In The Orb's early DJ events in the 1980s, Paterson and Cauty performed with three record decks, a cassette player, and a CD player all of which were mixed through an Akai 12-track mixer.
The Orb began performing regularly at the Brixton Academy in the early 1990s, where they used the high ceilings and large space for their "well-suited amorphous sound", frequently performing their newest and more experimental pieces there. Andy Hughes took Weston's place at live performances after the 1993 tour, though Weston did reappear for The Orb's concert at the rainy Woodstock '94. Though The Orb's performances use much onstage equipment and many props, Paterson prefers to present The Orb as "a non-centralised figure of amusement on stage".
The Orb used ADAT recorders for performances from 1993 to 2001 and utilised large 48-track decks, which Paterson described as basically being a "studio onstage". They hooked synthesisers, such as the ARP 2600, to MIDI interfaces to recreate specific sounds that appeared on their albums. The Orb's methods of studio music creation changed as well. For more recent albums such as Cydonia, The Orb used inexpensive equipment such as Korg's Electribe products, which Paterson described as employing more of a "bedroom techno" approach. Despite their use of laptops during performances and in-studio computers, Paterson says that he still cherishes vinyl and does not find purchasing CDs or downloading music to be nearly as satisfying.
Sampling and remixingOne of The Orb's most notable contributions to electronic music is their idea of blurring the distinction between sampling and remixing. However, The Orb "obliterated it" and reassembled only a few fragments for their remix, much to the chagrin of Jarre, who reportedly refused to release it;
Other artists have become agitated due to The Orb sampling their work, though Paterson jokingly suggests that "they don't know the half of it." Paterson says that he finds a "beauty" and a "cleverness" with slipping unlicensed samples into compositions without anyone recognizing it. Even though fans often try to guess the origins of many of The Orb's samples, Paterson states that they are rarely correct and that they would "die" if they discovered, for example, where the drums on "Little Fluffy Clouds" originated from. He has said that record labels have cautioned him, "Don't tell anyone where you got your samples until we get them cleared!".
The Orb has used a wide variety of audio clips from sources ranging from McCarthy era speeches to prank phone calls by Victor Lewis-Smith to David Thewlis' apocalypse-driven rant from the film Naked.
The Orb has been a prolific remixing team, having completed over 80 commissioned remixes since 1989. Though Paterson maintains that much of The Orb's remix work is done to support other artists, he admits some of their remixes for major artists were performed so that The Orb could "pay the bills".
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