Entranced by Little Fluffy Clouds

Trance—according to the dictionary, it means “a state of partly suspended animation or inability to function; a somnolent state (as of deep hypnosis); a state of profound abstraction or absorption.” As a musical genre, it’s not generally my cuppa, but on occasion, when I thought no one would notice, I’ve tracked down a trance channel on internet radio for background music while working late at night. The driving beat is as effective as caffeine, and the repetitive, often nonsensical, lyrics require no attention and therefore cause little or no distraction.

Still exulting in my web stream from San Diego’s KPRI, I’m hearing lots of really weird stuff. No; not the regular playlist–that’s pretty normal, albeit top-quality, rock. But when they cut to local commercials, the web stream instead cuts to ‘filler’ music. It seems to be someone’s 5-CD changer set to random. I’ve heard Traffic’s “Glad” from “John Barleycorn” four times in three days; something or other by Joe Satriani (to paraphrase a joke about bagpipe tunes, when you’ve heard one Satriani recording, you’ve heard ‘em both) way more often than I care to, some blues I don’t recognize but intend to sooner or later, and a trance-ish track which has tranced its way onto my playlist.

The Orb's 'Little Fluffy Clouds CD singleAfter a voiceover intro sounding like a BBC-TV ad, a man’s voice asks “What were the skies like when you were young?” to which a youngish sounding female voice responds at length:

“They went on forever. When I, when we lived in Arizona the skies always had little fluffy clouds in them. And they were long and clear and there were lots of stars at night. And when it would rain they would all turn . . . they were beautiful, the most beautiful skies as a matter of fact. The sunsets were purple and red and yellow and… on fire. And the clouds would catch the colors everywhere. That’s unique, ’cause I used to look at them all the time. You don’t see that.”

After hearing it in toto three times in two days, I realized I was starting to enjoy it. A quick Google search for the oft-repeated phrase ‘little fluffy clouds’ led right to the source: The Orb.

Rickie Lee JonesThe Orb is a long-standing English group which has gone through multiple transformations, and is apparently still going strong. Their website provides precious little information, but much is available elsewhere if you dig for it. I’ll at least dig for some fluffy white clouds.

Oh; the youngish female voice on the ’91 release? Rickie Lee Jones. I guess 36 is young-ish, but then, when you make a living with your voice, it’s no surprise if it even sounds good just describing fluffy white clouds.