1. Aphex Twin
Although Selected Ambient Works 85-92 was released less than a year after The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld, it's hard to imagine acid house mastermind Richard D. James' seminal record being as warmly received without the breakout success of the Orb's full-length debut, which paved the way for atmospheric electro music that's tailor-made for the morning after.
Moby would much rather you enjoy his music on a yoga mat than in the throes of a good ol'-fashioned drug bender, but there's no mistaking where his marketable formula of fuzzy synth pads and weird samples atop shuffling dance beats is rooted. As great as "Porcelain" may sound while shopping for chinos, know that the Orb never intended its progeny to become millionaires by churning out background music for J. Crew stores in the suburbs.
3. Boards of Canada
The lurking dread of detuned synths and melted-VHS-tape ambience is Boards of Canada's calling card by now, but no feelings would be hurt if the Scottish IDM duo was to be reductively described as "the Orb with dying Moogs and even creepier samples."
Starting as a shameless send-up of Boards of Canada's more danceable numbers, Bay Area producer Scott Hansen's audio-visual project Tycho has steered into more crowd-pleasing territory by dialing up the disco beats, adding shimmering U2 guitars and employing a band of Zoolander bros to make it work live. Throw in a trippy video reel—a component the Orb saw as vital to the immersive psychedelic overload of its early shows—and you've got a modern-day version of the Orb's warm and groovy post-rave DJ sets that are beloved by stoners and clubbers alike.
As the story goes, Radiohead's Thom Yorke was downright sick of being in a rock band following the runaway success of 1997's OK Computer. He fell deep into an IDM rabbit hole, emerging in 2001 with the sounds of Autechre and Aphex Twin in his head and a tasteful approximation of their austere electronica all over Kid A. Though tangible flourishes of the Orb's spacey sounds are scarce beyond the Brian Eno homage "Treefingers," a direct line can be drawn between the Orb and the artists whose influence saved Radiohead from rockist ruin.
SEE IT: The Orb plays Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., with Magic Sword, on Thursday, Oct. 27. 9 pm. $20. 21+