Moby – Reprise Album Review

There’s no escaping the fact that Moby is an iconic figure in electronic music. From his early days of creating dancefloor stormers such as “Go” “Move” “Hymm” “Feeling So Real” right through the past three decades of creating a huge series of amazing, popular productions and as recent as 2020 composing some incredible ambient pieces.

Following on the current trend of orchestral-ising dance classics for stage shows and album release, this quirky character of dance has provided an inevitable re-arranging of the finest moments from his colourful career. If ever an artist’s music attached itself to this kind of re-interpretation, it is Moby’s

On first run through this album I initially wasn’t 100% sold – but then I listened again, like i do with every new album.  

To kick start proceedings on this collection full of stripped back, orchestral versions we have “Everloving” from his classic 1999 “Play” album which starts calmly then builds nicely from half way through in a very inoffensive manner and sets the tone nicely for the rest of the album to build.

Following on we are presented with “Natural Blues” which has drafted in the excellent Gregory Porter and Amythyst Kiah for vocal duties, when you listen to this a few times it really starts to build a lovely sense of emotion inside you. Track 3 takes one of Moby’s finest oldskool dance moments, the mighty “Go” and gives it a tribal drum workout with added strings and a lot more orchestral dramatics, this shouldn’t work, but actually does.

“Extreme Ways” Featuring Moby’s own wavering vocal, just adds a deeper level of heartache to what was already such a moody classic. When the strings kick again for the second half of this track they are such a contradiction to Moby’s morose vocals..but again this actually works on such a big level. The profoundly delicate anthem “Porcelain” gets a complete rearrangement and drafts in American indie rock singer Jim James and some additional euphoric strings.

I am a complete sucker for the orchestral layering of strings and pianos so for me “God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters” featuring the amazing Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson Is quite probably my pick of the album as it’s just such a monstrous highlight and goosebump moment on the album. “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad” is obviously essential to the collection and does exactly what you think it’s going to do. There are so many lovely moments that grow with every listen and you develop and understanding of what he was going for with this album.

This album will appeal to lifelong Moby fans who have mellowed slightly and wish to relive the recognisable parts that made the classics, and also a new generation of sofa listeners and chill appreciators. If you never liked Moby to begin with, this won’t make you become a fan, this is Moby, ultra-Mobied and will no doubt be appearing in a barrage of new TV commercials and US scores very soon.

I actually really like Moby and have done for 30 years now, this album has grown on me like a stubborn wart and the fact that this in-vogue style has already been done to death, does not offend me in the is Moby and this is what he does best. If these somewhat mellower interpretations bring his musical genius to a new generation and also revitalise his classics for the die hard fans, that’s a great thing in my book.

Having now listened 3 times, I like this album and really would love to see it pave the way for some more bigger productions from this guy again in the not so distant future.

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