The art of playing records has always been uppermost in the mind of Dr Alex Paterson, even when enjoying chart-busting success with The Orb there. Not necessarily to make people dance, although that went without saying, or to show how great a turntablist he was, although that seemed effortless. The good Doctor's forte is catching a mood and building it, depending on the crowd: whether turning a chillout environment into a soul-massaging magical place, galvanising a pack of dancers into escalating frenzy or even sparking unexpected laughter with a well-chosen oddity.
Two main influences initially inspired Alex to take to the decks: the extra-terrestrial dub coming out of Jamaica in the 70s which shook the walls of London blues parties, and New York radio's pioneering mastermix DJs on KISS FM and WBLS whose tapes were like currency in the early 80s. Dub pushed the barriers into other galaxies while the mastermixers thought nothing of popping Daffy Duck onto some prime downtown electro-boogie.
Throw in the crucial element of Alex's punk background, having roadied for apocalyptic marauders Killing Joke, and it means anything can happen and nothing is impossible.
Alex started spinning at late 70s squat parties, livening up the Transcentral shindigs at Brixton's infamous Barrier Block between 1983-88, inventing ambient house alongside soon-to-KLF Jimmy Cauty in the chillout room of epoch-making acid house parties at Spectrum and Land Of Oz, then letting the amorphous aural anarchy of The Orb give him the world stage on which to stretch his limitless flights on a battery of now-available technology. But, ultimately, two decks and a mixer were still his obsession and he was equally at home dubbing it up with sonic boundary-pushing scientists like Adrian, Lee 'Scratch' Perry and Mad Professor or bolstering names like Orbital and Underworld. His sets on Primal Scream's revolutionary Screamedelica tour [along with another old co-conspirator Andrew Weatherall] are the stuff of legend [Alex also catapulted their 'Higher Than The Sun' heavens-wards].
The global success of The Orb and the 90s electronic dance music explosion opened up new opportunities for Alex to take his contagious inner DJ visions to the world stage and play alongside such luminaries as Berlin's Thomas Fehlmann, Aphex Twin and Cluster. Now, with The Orb pulsating in truly fine fettle and his new High Frequency Bandwidth project, Alex is on an unstoppable creative roll. But still those decks beckon with their big round eyes. This is an incredibly healthy time for great underground music of all kinds while the past yielded some titanic sonic secrets. Dr Alex Paterson is still the messenger to take any kind of party to new heights and beyond