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Go to the Moby website  Moby - Play [V2 - 1999]

Buy this CD now!
Techno mixed up with country, blues and gospel samples. Sounds like a strange combination, doesn't it? Strangely enough, it works, on Moby's "Play".

Moby, born as Richard Melville Hall in 1965, has a rich history in different kinds of music. The Vatican Commandos (hardcore punk) and Awol are some of the bands he has played in, but he really got his reputation in the current dance music scene when he started dj'ing, and he became much sough-after remixer. "Everything Is Wrong" (1995) and "Animal Rights" (1996) put Moby on the dance floor map. As a convinced Christian, Moby's liner notes in the CD contain parts that condemn fundamentalism and homophobia and other "trappings" of Christianity, which is more than just an interesting reading. But it's the music I'm reviewing here, isn't it?

Moby isn't the first one to use samples from ages ago in modern dance music (e.g. Fatboy Slim). But I'm sure he is the most successful in it. Some Alan Lomax' recordings of very unknown blues artists are used brilliantly. Take the opener, the single "Honey", for example. The strange sounding but fitting vocals of Bessie Jones with catchy beat works perfect. The soulful vocals of "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad" and the melancholic piano piece create an instant hit as well. Same counts for another single from the album, "Natural Blues". Other outstanding songs must be "Bodyrock" (based on a rap sample), "South Side" and "My Weakness". The latter is a beautiful and very moving ambient alike track, which ends the album. However, my personal favourite must be "Porcelain", Moby pur sang: beautiful but simple synth arrangements, light beat, and his own vocals.

It's easy to say that Moby isn't a real musician. After all, he uses other people's samples and puts some simple catchy beats underneath them. But nobody does it the way Moby does. Nobody touches that tender spot. Nobody knows. Only Moby does. One of the highlights in dance music of 1999 is an album using blues samples from 40 years ago. A wonderful contradiction for a wonderful album.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Justin Faase
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