Dec 2022 01

Album CoverRoland & Albert and The Orb
Album: Roland & Albert Meet The Orb Upcountry in Uganda
Category: Electronic / Ambient / Leftfield
Label: Orbscure Recordings / Cooking Vinyl
Release date: 2022-03-17


Roland & Albert and The Orb have released a brief EP of what at first seem to be merely pleasant songs, but instead prove to be complex and layered excursions into collaborative world music. There are no liner notes to speak of for this digital-only release, which is a shame, because it means listeners must guess who Roland and Albert are and what they contributed. Fortunately, after some lucky DuckDuckGo-ing – Roland Van Campenhout is an established blues guitarist from Belgium, and Albert Ssembeke is a multii-nstrumentalist and vocalist from Kampala, Uganda, son of the royal court musician for the last king of the Kingdom of Buganda.

While “Squirrels in Jumpsuits” begins with a typically Orbian oddball sample, Roland & Albert’s talents make what follows among the funkier grooves The Orb has put its name on. On all four tracks, Van Campenhout and Ssembeke provide a firm bedrock for both their own improvisations and what The Orb’s Alex Paterson and Michael Rendall bring to the table as producers. Van Campenhout’s guitar work on “Bachwezi Buganda” veers from simple riffs into long wails, with single notes sustained and bent into the texture of the song, while Ssembeke begins the song with a frenetic rhythm that gives way to a downtempo drum pattern as the song goes on. The title track has the organic feeling of an open air jam, with The Orb adding layers of electronic percussion and treatments that never overwhelm the other performers. “Radio Active Camel Hair” winds up the collection with a delicious polyrhythm that is over too quickly, punctuated by the singing and evocative stabs of guitar; this last song should be a single.

Roland & Albert Meet The Orb Upcountry in Uganda continues The Orb’s current trajectory of accessibility after the bounce of The Abolition of the Royal Familia. Giving Roland & Albert top billing on this release shows the legendary electronic duo’s willingness to provide a platform to musicians who may be established but little known outside of their own countries. Along the way, this EP reveals just how fun these collaborations can be. There should be more.
Track list:

  1. Squirrels in Jumpsuits
  2. Bachwezi Buganda
  3. Roland & Albert Meet The Orb Upcountry in Uganda
  4. Radio Active Camel Hair

The Orb
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Orbscure Recordings
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Cooking Vinyl
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Justin Roby (c.pollard)

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