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The Orb - Little Fluffy Clouds [Ft.] Rickie Lee Jones [HD Video]

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Published on Sep 6, 2013

"Little Fluffy Clouds" is a single released by the British ambient house group The Orb. It was originally released in July 1990 on the record label Big Life and peaked at #87 on the UK Singles Chart. The Orb also included it on their 1991 double album The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld. "Little Fluffy Clouds" was re-released several times with different b-sides, with its 1993 re-release reaching #10 in the UK.

It ranked number 275 in NME's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Pitchfork Media ranked it at number 40 on their list of the Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s

Alex Paterson had previously worked with Jimmy Cauty as The Orb. Upon Cauty's departure from The Orb, Paterson began work on "Little Fluffy Clouds" with ex-Killing Joke member Martin "Youth" Glover.[3] However, because of other production obligations, Glover did not become a permanent member of The Orb. Kris "Thrash" Weston joined The Orb soon after. Weston mixed and engineered several versions of "Little Fluffy Clouds", including the version on The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld.

"Little Fluffy Clouds" makes extensive use of clips from an interview with Rickie Lee Jones[4] in which she recalls picturesque images of her childhood. Critics and fans sometimes attribute the odd nasal tonality of Jones' voice to drug use, though Jones later claimed that it was the result of a heavy cold.[5] The samples are widely believed to have come from a conversation between Jones and LeVar Burton on the children's television programme Reading Rainbow,[3] but in fact originated from an interview disc that was issued with some promotional boxed copies of her album Flying Cowboys. The interview was not actually conducted by Burton at all.[6]

Interviewer: "What were the skies like when you were young?"
Jones: "They went on forever – They - When I w- We lived in Arizona, and the skies always had little fluffy clouds in 'em, and, uh... they were long... and clear and... there were lots of stars at night. And, uh, when it would rain, it would all turn - it- They were beautiful, the most beautiful skies as a matter of fact. Um, the sunsets were purple and red and yellow and on fire, and the clouds would catch the colours everywhere. That's uh, neat 'cause I used to look at them all the time, when I was little. You don't see that. You might still see them in the desert."
Jones' record company was upset at the unauthorized use of her voice and initially sought to pursue a claim via the legal system.[3] However, when Jones herself heard it, she is reported to have disagreed, saying: "What the hell you doin'? This is good!"[7] Big Life chose to settle out of court for an undisclosed sum of money for use of her voice on The Orb's recording.

The song also uses a harmonica sample from Ennio Morricone's The Man With The Harmonica (from the film Once Upon a Time in the West) and parts of Electric Counterpoint, a piece for multi-tracked guitars composed by Steve Reich and recorded by Pat Metheny. Reich was "genuinely flattered"[8] by The Orb's use of his work and instructed his record company not to sue.[9] Alex Paterson also suggested that the drum track is sampled: “If anyone actually knew where the drums on 'Little Fluffy Clouds' came from, they'd all just die, but I'm not at liberty to tell. Record companies have always warned me, ‘Don't tell anyone where you got your samples until we get them cleared!’”.[10] He later said that the drum track was sampled from Harry Nilsson's album Nilsson Schmilsson.,[11] and others have specifically identified this as a sample from the Nilsson track 'Jump Into The Fire', slowed down approximately from 45 to 33 rpm

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