MALI RAIN ...We Shall Return To The Sea (3rd Stone)

No information with this one, so we’ve just got to make a few assumptions and generalisations out of basic prejudice: back-to-earth images on cover? Well, it’s a picture of a fossil actually, so yes, check. Track titles that could be chosen at random from an edition of Computer Shopper? The likes of "Simms" and "Koan" seem to have taken care of that. Much namedropping of people more famous than they’ll ever be in the credits? Banco De Gaia, Pentatonik, Astralasia and Planet Dog are all present and correct. Are we getting warm yet?

It could go one of two ways. Either Mali Rain are the biggest fraudsters in the history of ambient house, or they genuinely and honestly haven’t heard any Orb albums ever, because to be peddling the same tired old blueprint that Dr Alex and Thrash perfected over five years ago before rejecting it in favour of pursuing the essence of true musical awfulness strongly suggests the former. Why, they’ve even got a track called "Tranquility Bass", and yes, it does use exactly the same NASA (I assume) dialogue samples that The Orb plastered over just about everything they recorded back in 1991.

There’s nothing particularly offensive or otherwise disagreeable about "...We Shall Return To The Sea" - apart from one or two of the solos, which sometimes sound like someone trying to recreate American TV cop show themes using only a scratty Casio keyboard and one finger - but given that it basically sounds like an uninspiring remake of what remains, even today, a defining benchmark album in the cruelly curtailed history of ambient house neither is it really worthy of your attention. The unfortunate irony is that if the Orb could make an album like this nowadays I’d probably be praising it to the skies.