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An ORB Footnote
We all have our view of events and our version of the truth. This is mine... With this in mind I would like to comment on some assertions made by Thrash (Kris Weston) that I have been made aware of. It’s not my intention to start a mud slinging match, but somethings cannot go unanswered and I feel that now is the time to throw in my 2 cents. However before I start I would like to make clear that I feel myself only qualified to comment on events up to the point where I ceased to work with Alex and Thrash and so will limit myself to that period. After reading the comments on the website from Thrash regarding his time in the ORB it’s pretty obvious that he has a whole bunch of grievous problems with a lot of people from that time. Considering his comments, I guess I actually get away rather lightly when compared with others. Unsurprisingly one of his main targets is Alex Paterson, and as stated above I am not competent to comment on most of the accusations against Alex since they refer to matters after my time with the band. However I would like to come to Alex’s defense on some points. Thrash makes a big thing about the fact that Alex does not actually play a traditional musical instrument. At the time of the Ultra World Album that may have been true. However attempting to use this fact as a way to reduce and question Alex’s input as an artist is ridiculous. As mentioned already, it was Alex’s deal and Alex’s band. His dream, his concept and it was Alex that drew together the team of participants. It was through us that he expressed his wishes and made them whole. He was our conductor and mentor and to say Alex is crap because he played nothing would be the same as saying Sir Simon Rattle (England’s most prominent living conductor) doesn’t do anything because he’s not playing a violin. It was Alex who brought the beats and sounds to sample, and Alex who knew from his DJ and Production sensibilities where they would fit and how they would work. Thrash also makes a very big deal of Alex’s lack of studio technical expertise, and again at the time of the Ultra World album this is correct. Alex had limited technical studio skills, however at that point and the time of the big studio, that was normal for the artist (unlike now where it’s all as apps and plugins on your laptop). That was why people had Sound Engineers. I would also like to state the following about the recording of the Ultra World album. I DO NOT EVER actually recall seeing Thrash play a single instrument or original sound for the album. Also as far as I am aware he never actually wrote a track. He added samples and noises (almost exclusivelysupplied by Alex) to other peoples tracks and was happy to take or be given song writing credits for this. As to Thrash’s own technical skills, they were at that point limited. He could use an AKAI sampler very well, just knew enough about Notator (main music program early 90’s) to get the job done and had a real talent for energizing a mix by using the cut and solo buttons on the desk. I showed him how to use half the outboard equipment and effects. I showed him how to run a session and I can remember sitting down with him one afternoon in the studio and giving him a lesson in the A, B, C of building a gain structure so that he could do his own mixes from scratch. Thrash also complains about how often he ended up tape editing the sections of a track together while Alex slept on the studio sofa and how that made it his creative final arrangement and his alone. I almost laughed out loud when I read that and wondered if he’d some how managed to steal my own memories. The clear picture I have is of Thrash asleep on the sofa while I (with essential input from Alex) cut the tracks together. As to the notion of Thrash tape editing. I know he was familiar at that time with the use of a hardback razor blade, but I was unaware that he knew how to use it to edit tape. Thrash had a great natural talent and was a very fast learner. Considering his early aptitude I am very sure that he went on to become the tour de force in the studio that he nowadays claims to be. However he should be very careful about casting stones with regards to Alex’s input for the first album. The record could have easily been made without Thrash, but it would have never existed without Alex. After that, I’ve no idea how their working relationship developed. Turning my attention to his critic and complaints against myself. Thrash claims I was “just” the in house engineer at Berwick Street Studios. Not correct, I was a freelance Engineer managed by The Beat Fantastic, and at the time Berwick Street was one of my favorite places to work. Apparently I “slimed” round Alex to let me do a track. Not correct, very early on in the project I was asked out of the blue by Alex if I’d like to do one as well. I then wrote the track on request and my original working title was “The Divide”. Alex wanted to rename the track “Into The 4th Dimension” which I was happy for him to do as it sounded much better. As for the writing of the track, Thrash claims it’s just some classic CD’s I’d sampled and a drum loop I got from Alex. Actually there is a part at the start of the track that does come from a classical compilation I had. The drum loop Thrash refers to is from Big Paul the drummer from Killing Joke. Alex asked me if I could include it somewhere which I was happy to do as it’s a cool loop. He wanted to use that as an excuse to give Paul a writing credit on the album. The female voice is a very nice young Portuguese woman. I pulled her in off the street and asked her to read some text I’d quickly written about the rebirth of learning, love, life, etc. I don’t actually remember exactly what I wanted her to say but she did it very well and in a very sexy voice. The male voice is a nice young man called Tyrrell (Joel) Leblanc who I asked to repeat the Test Tape text as well as some of the then current news reel stuff about the Voyager space probe. Alex dropped in the long solo violin on the fly from a vinyl record and it fits perfectly from the point of view of key and timing, and is a testimony to his DJ and Production skills. All other parts such as the sequences, pads, cello, percussion and other drums I wrote and played myself. It’s all a bit more involved than Thrash’s withering description. This was all done upstairs in Studio 2 at Berwick Street without Thrash. It was taken downstairs to Studio 1 for final mixing and Thrash pushed a few buttons on the desk but had little enthusiasm for the track. Thrash also has a big beef about me never being a member of the band, as according to him what defines membership is only people who had signed a contract. Well, call it want you want. I just know that I’m officially part of the family. That’s why along with other original family members I was on stage and performing at the 2016 25th anniversary gig in London. Anyway, here’s how I remember events. During the recording of Ultraworlds I was told by Alex that I was in the band, and this happened at a meeting with Alex at his house. Thrash was not present and I never discussed it with him. It simply was not important to do so and I don’t know if Alex ever mentioned the conversation to Thrash. To be honest I had no idea what the actual status of Thrash was and I didn’t care. To me it just meant that I was a part of making the album and viewed Alex’s comment as confirmation that I was part of the ORB family. It may seem strange to some of you reading this that one can be so cavalier about these things. You may wonder why I didn’t grab a lawyer and ask for a contract at once. To understand you have to consider the context. I was young, I was care free, and it just didn’t really matter that much. I didn’t even have a contract with my management, and while the ORB was very, very cool, I also had so much other stuff going on in my life. It was all free and easy and we had a handshake between friends so as far as I was concerned the deal was sealed and I became part of the history. Thrash also accuses me of assaulting him on the last occasion we saw each other, and for no apparent reason. This is the most bizarre claim of all as I have no recollection whatsoever of attacking him. I have been known to slam a door or break some object in a fit of anger, but I am not a violent person. I’m pretty sure that the last time I did hit somebody was back in my junior school. It also doesn’t fit at all since I clearly remember the last time we met. I was living in Germany and was back over in the UK to see my management company. I had an evening meeting and dinner lined up with an American production company who were interested in me doing some work, but I still had  few hours to kill before the meeting. As I had heard the ORB were at Marcus Studios I jumped in a taxi and went over to say hello. I especially wanted to see Alex as my first solo album had just come out and I knew he’d heard it and I wanted to know what he thought. I got a warm welcome from Alex and we spoke a little about my album and some of the remix work the ORB had been doing recently. Tim Russell was on the desk as engineer and it was nice to see him as well. Our paths had crossed a few times and I knew he was a nice guy and a solid engineer. The biggest surprise was seeing Thrash. As you may have gathered our relationship at the end of my time with the ORB had not been very warm and I was really at Marcus to see Alex. However Thrash was VERY friendly, told me he had some killer Hash and invited me into the kitchen to do some buckets (look it up if you don’t know) with him. It was KILLER Hash and the bottle for the buckets was massive. We got dribbling messed up, laughed till my jaw hurt and after handshakes and hugs all round they sent me off to my American meeting almost too stoned to talk. It was the last time I would see Thrash in the flesh. I know Thrash is feeling angry about how he’s been treated since leaving the band. Even more so since he feels that History is being re-written and in such a way to push him to the edge of the picture or in some aspects even out of it. My only advice to him is learn to live with it. As so long as the ORB exists Alex is in control and he’s going to be the one promoting and protecting the band and the narative. Also just because Thrash may have been wronged somewhere along the lines it does not give him carte blanche to tell a pack of lies and indiscriminately stick the knife into everybody. I think next time Thrash feels like rubbishing Alex or Youth he should first stop and consider. Given his poor education and rabid social skills if they’d not given him a break his career would have probably never amounted to anymore than asking “would you like fries with that?”. I took a much, much earlier bath than Thrash and apart from the credits on the Ultra World album and some lines in Wikipedia I am rather on the edge of the official history. Like Thrash I have also read wonderful anecdotes in the media about creativity on tracks where I KNOW it was me that did it and not the person being written about. And... You can’t fight the Internet. Get your money when you can, move on and stop being a knob. Oh, and just in case anybody reading this is in any doubt. My love and respect for this project, and Alex as a person and an artist know no bounds.
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