KEXP Documentaries: Psychedelics – The Orb


Hello KEXPers, DJ Michele Myers here. I host a radio show on KEXP every Saturday from 3-6pm. The rest of the week, my job at KEXP is to make radio documentaries. Our current doc series is Psychedelics, where we have (so far) traced the path of psychedelic music from the 60’s up through today. With features on The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, The Beatles, Sly and The Family Stone, Pink Floyd, Spiritualized, The Flaming Lips, Animal Collective and…

This past week we told the story of The Orb. This UK band started out in DJ world – as part of the electronic music explosion of the late 80s and early 90s. The founding member of The Orb, Lx Paterson, was a DJ who started recording his own samples and changing them into drum beats, or adding sounds like airplanes, animals breathing or footsteps in the snow to the mix of his songs.

The Orb’s music quickly became its own genre “ambient house” and these songs were played after raves in back rooms and urban apartments in places called “chillout lounges”, where partiers would recuperate after a night of dancing.

During our interview I asked Lx Paterson what he thought about the use of ecstasy and other drugs during the rave era. He said, “Well it’s no worse than a nation of 400 million on Prozac, surely…”

Listen here to the full documentary, packed with music from The Orb:

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You can check out all our KEXP Documentaries online in the On Demand section at KEXP.ORG. Our future series are going to be on: Civil Rights Songs, Alt-Rock Heroes, First Ladies of Jazz, Hip Hop Now and Poets. If you have ideas for stories or want to vote for your favorite subject to be covered, please email me at

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