Little Fluffy Clouds

Little Fluffy Clouds

Infobox Single
Name = Little Fluffy Clouds

Artist = The Orb
from Album = The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld
B-side = Alternate mixes
Released = 1990
Format = 12", cassette, CD
Recorded =
Genre = Ambient house IDM
Length = 8:25
Label = Big Life
Writer =
Producer = The Orb
Certification =
Chart position = *#87 (UK Singles Chart)
*#10 (UK Singles Chart)(re-release)
Last single = "A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld" (1990)
This single = "Little Fluffy Clouds" (1990)
Next single = "Perpetual Dawn" (1991)

"Little Fluffy Clouds" is a single released by the ambient house group The Orb. It was originally released in 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.


Alex Paterson had previously worked with Jimmy Cauty as The Orb. However, upon Cauty's departure from The Orb, Paterson began work on "Little Fluffy Clouds" with ex-Killing Joke member Martin "Youth" Glover.cite web|url= |title=The Orb Biography |accessdate=2006-10-09 |last = Bush |first = John |publisher = Allmusic] 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" is centered around clips from an interview with Rickie Lee Jones [cite journal|journal=Melody Maker|title=The Orb's Samples|url=|year=1993|month=October|accessdate=2008-08-28] in which she recalls picturesque images of her childhood. Critics and fans sometimes attribute the odd nasal tonality of Rickie Lee Jones' voice to drug use, though Jones later claimed that it was the result of a heavy cold.cite web|work=CD Times |url= |title=The Orb - Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld |date=2003-10-15 |last=McCusker |first=Eamonn] The sample comes from "A Conversation with Rickie Lee Jones", an interview featured on a promotional 2-CD edition of the "Flying Cowboys" album.

: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 colors 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 was upset at the unauthorized use of her voice and pursued the issue in the legal system. 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 multitracked guitars composed by Steve Reich and recorded by Pat Metheny. Reich, unlike Jones, was "genuinely flattered"cite news|title=Steve Reich |work=The Wire |date=1996-11-01] by The Orb's use of his work and instructed his record company not to sue.cite web|title=Classical Composer Steve Reich Gets Remixed and Loves It|url= |publisher=Barnes & Noble |author=Martin Johnson |accessdate=2006-10-11] Alex Paterson has also mentioned that fans would "die" if they discovered where the drums on "Little Fluffy Clouds" originated from.cite web|work=Remix Magazine |last=Silva |first=Joe |date=2001-02-01 |title=Living in Orblivion |url=]

Critical reception

"Little Fluffy Clouds" reached #87 on the UK Singles Chart and was a dancefloor success. After the popularity of following Orb albums, "Little Fluffy Clouds" was re-released several times, including a 1993 edition which peaked at #10 on the UK charts.


7": Big Life / BLR 33 (UK)

# "Little Fluffy Clouds [seven inch mk 1] " (4:05)
# "Little Fluffy Clounds [ambient mk 1] " (4:29)

* Released November 1990

12": Big Life / BLR 33T (UK)

# "Little Fluffy Clouds [dance mk 2] " (8:26)
# "Into The Fourth Dimension [edit] " (7:03)
# "Little Fluffy Clounds [ambient mk 1] " (4:29)

* Released November 1990
* Into The Fourth Dimension mix also called "essenes beyond control" version
* also released on CD - BLR 33CD

12": Big Life / BLR 33R (UK)

# "Little Fluffy Clouds (drum & vox version)" (7:10)
# "Little Fluffy Clouds [seven inch mk 1] " (4:05)
# "Into The Fourth Extension" (9:05)

* Released November 1990
* Remix 12"
* Reissued November 1993

CD: Big Life / BLRD 98 (UK)

# "Little Fluffy Clouds [seven inch mk 1] " (4:05)
# "Little Fluffy Clouds [dance mk 2] " (8:26)
# "Into The Fourth Dimension [edit] " (7:03)
# "Little Fluffy Clounds [ambient mk 1] " (4:29)

* Re-released 1 November 1993

12": Mercury / 865139-1 (US)

# "Little Fluffy Clouds [Cumulonimbus Mix] " (6:10)
# "Little Fluffy Clouds [Dis joint don't argue mix] " (6:38)
# "Little Fluffy Clouds [Seven Inch MK 1] " (4:05)
# "Little Fluffy Clouds [Inner Master Mix] " (3:58)
# "Outlands [Fountain of Elisha] " (8:00)

* Released November 1991

CD: Mercury / 865139-2 (US)

# "Little Fluffy Clouds [Seven Inch MK 1] " (4:05)
# "Little Fluffy Clouds [Inner Master Mix] " (3:58)
# "Little Fluffy Clouds [Cumulonimbus Mix] " (6:10)
# "Little Fluffy Clouds [Dance MK 2] " (8:26)
# "Little Fluffy Clouds [Heavyweight Dub] " (6:30)
# "Outlands [Fountain of Elisha] " (8:00)

* Released November 1991


There have been an extensive number of remixes of "Little Fluffy Clouds" due to its popularity. Many mixes were created by both The Orb and other artists. Most of these have appeared as B-sides on Little Fluffy Clouds or other singles by The Orb. All remixes listed are by The Orb unless otherwise noted.
*Youth & Thrash - Dance MK II (8:26)
*Ambient MK I (4:28)
*Pal Joey - Cumulonimbus Mix (6:10)
*Coldcut - Dis Joint Don't Argue Mix (6:38)
*Coldcut - Inner Master Mix (3:58)
*Coldcut - Heavyweight Dub (6:30)
*Youth - Drum & Vox Version
*Thrash - seven inch mk 1
*Tokyo 2.7.93 - From "Live 93"
*Danny Tenaglia - Downtempo Groove (8:35)
*Danny Tenaglia - Detour Mix (10:15)
*Adam Freeland & Kevin Beber - Tsunami One Remix (7:57)
*Jutta Jaw, OTP - One True Parker Mix (5:52)
*Hellpass - Little Cheeky Clouds

In addition, a version arranged for strings was released by the group Instrumental on their 1999 album "Acoustek".


*"Little Fluffy Clouds" was used as the music to a Volkswagen commercial for the New Beetle in the late 1990s, accompanied by video of the New Beetle rotating and changing color to the beat of the music.

* Simon Munnery as his character Alan Parker created a comic parody version of "Little Fluffy Clouds" (titled Grey Clouds), featuring his voice instead of Rickie Lee Jones' dubbed over the instrumental of the track and describing the weather in Watford, England.


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