On June 16th, momentum continues for Alex Paterson’s Orbscure records, with the new album by Chocolate Hills – his duo project with Paul Conboy.
Purveying world class melodic ambience and plenty beyond, colours in this high-fidelity-headphone-wonderland range from languid chill, kitsch exotica, library music, space age pop, ye olde folk and even drum and bass – all seasoned with (in)appropriately random plunderphonics from Paterson’s infinite goodie bag. Loosely based around a nautical journey to the Bermuda triangle and back, this is a fantastic voyage, but seas remain calm – more ‘Life Aquatic’ than ‘Moby Dick’. Tracks gently bob and float on bass which is roomy and buoyant like the hull of a ship, whilst luxuriously fluffy clouds meander overhead, before their vessel dives deep below to marvel at aquatic delights, guided by sonar.
Paul Conboy’s approach as a member of cult analogue tinkerers Metamono – who use no computers, only old pre-digital gear – has carried over into his new joint venture. Both groups write, record and perform at same time, then later edit for release. For ‘Yarns from the Chocolate Triangle’ Paul set himself and Alex up with assorted gear, including a record deck, synths and drum machines, then the pair recorded the raw version of the album on the fly. These long live jams where then then discreetly augmented, embellished and edited, with a nip and tuck in Logic.
As well as releases as A.P.E. on Dorado and Far Out recordings, TV and film scores plus his ongoing membership in Metamono, Conboy recorded three albums as part of Bomb The Bass, with whom he also toured Australia jointly with The Orb. On a boat trip over to Bali, Paul made Paterson pancakes, and their friendship was sealed. Having stayed in contact, many years later the duo began an exploration of ideas with their 2019 debut ‘A Pail Of Air’ on Painted World records (who’ve also released records by Nik Turner from Hawkwind, Youth, Roger Eno and Jaz Coleman). So far the duo have performed a low key gig at Paterson’s unofficial lair The Book And Record Bar, plus a bigger stage at the Roundhouse, alongside Leftfield, GAS, Ulrich Schnauss and System 7.
Clearly making a lasting impression on Alex, the duo’s name was first referenced on The Orb’s own ‘Chocolate Hills Of Bohol’ remix of their single ‘Assassin’ in 1992, which was the same year Alex got blown away when visiting the prehistoric geological formations and enchanting jungles of the Bohol province in the Philippines.
Chocolate Hills ‘Yarns from the Chocolate Triangle’
Vinyl / CD / download / stream
Release date: June 16th
- ‘Leaving Plymouth’
- ‘Saragossa Wells’
- ‘Centre of the Triangle’
- ‘End of Part 1’
- ‘The Barn’
- ‘Compass I Fell In Love’
- ‘Cracking Kraken’
- ‘Home (The First of the Last)’
Stay tuned at Electronic ConnectFM Tracks of the Week selection and Listen to Chocolate Hills’s new music first