There was once a time when Moby was able to hold his own in the world of electronic music. It wasn’t that long ago that he started his beginnings with minimalism and ambient movements in his first two endeavors, but what has garnered him acclaim has been his ability to create grand, vivacious music numbers, whether they be in the realm of traditional techno, experimental electronic (at the time “Play” released), or synth saturated notes that seem to move within his better songs then not. “Destroyed”, of course, isn’t a reinvention of the man himself. He still tries to create those serene, typical atmospheres as in previous albums. Much like Moby’s 2009 “Wait For Me”, his latest tries to re-encapsulate the mood of a darkly sheltered, electronic wave as he said it, “for empty cities at 2 AM.” For such a feat you’d expect something that plays to a sorrowful and a melodic mood, which is a road he seems to be treading more and more these days. What started for Moby in the 90s as a brash, experimental author has effectively made him someone who has lumped into a category of, dare the words be uttered? New Age music. Something so proverbially inoffensive that it lulls one to sleep; this could be said for a number of his poor attempts after “Play” – “Hotel”, a key remainder for many (second disc notwithstanding). Moby’s albums have had nothing quite as cohesive or melodramatic since then, a key element that has been missing from his work for quite awhile.
So, “Destroyed” plays out as expected – a silhouette of laid-back beats that never move toward an aggressively loud fervor or pedestrian enough not to take interest. This is wherein the problem lies for Moby. Where is the incentive for us? The recent catalogue of Moby’s records has shown a lack of actual progressivism, instead they sound a clear stagnation. His dramatics within the electronic realm aren’t nearly as gripping when he first started introducing them. “Destroyed” does reach its goal of an inherent dramatics, empty cities supposition, but just not enough to be a complete breakthrough. He still has the flair to thrill now and again as seen in “Sevastopol”, where the mid-tempos sprawl to high halfway through. This, like his last album “Wait For Me” feels quite personal, but it the music seems more universal compared to that album. It does help that Moby gets some much needed variety with guest vocals by Emily Zuzik, adding a hint of anxiety within the music, something that needed to be done by this time. It may be that Zuzik’s collaboration within this record is what sets it apart from the less than impressive “Wait For Me” or the disco-laden “Last Night”. What does manifest itself within “Destroyed” is the sense of relaxation from his previous albums that was becoming more prevalent and not nearly enough for us to be interested.
Maybe after the string of albums that have gone from pure New Age in “Hotel”, disco music no one really needed in “Last Night”, or a somewhat stale “Wait For Me”. This album, a mixture of his past work with “Play” and “18”, has a far more varied work compared to his last few albums, which was very narrow-minded in presentation. You still get flashbacks of the better days, where Moby was at his best in the late 90s. “Lie Down In Darkness” takes cues from “Play” with its dramatic violins and almost bluesy tone. “Victoria Lucas” plays to the same mindset, perhaps that is what is needed - a different take on “Play”. Not a re-hash that “18” so sufficiently did, but a mixture of his experiences with his work of this century with his ambient and varied approach that “Play” did so masterfully. One could be so optimistic as to hope for this. Moby still isn’t a quite as ordinary as many would think at this point of his career. He still has areas to explore and maybe those pieces will come together for him, they feel like they’re in play within “Destroyed”, its unfortunate that it hasn’t come thus far, but his last four albums should lead to some sort of breakthrough.
Still, “Destroyed” seems to be a more mature successor to his last foray, but it still needs a bit more work to be considered a difference maker for Moby. It does trump his last few albums that suffered from pure mediocrity in some cases, but there is still hope for those looking for another change for the electronic artist.
2. Be The One
4. The Low Hum
6. The Day
7. Lie Down In Darkness
8. Victoria Lucas
10. Blue Moon
11. The Right Thing
12. Stella Maris
13. The Violent Bear It Away
15. When You Are Old
Moby is an American electronic musician and is also the name of his live band. Born Richard Melville Hall on September 11, 1965 in Harlem, New York. Moved to Darien, Connecticut at the age of two.
He has also released music under the names Voodoo Child, Barracuda, U.H.F., The Brotherhood, DJ Cake, Lopez, On the Rim of the Wheel a Nail, and Brainstorm/Mindstorm.
Moby plays keyboards, guitar and bass guitar. He took his performing name from the novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, who is his great-great-granduncle.
Early years... read more