'Baldy dance bloke, vegan Christian, sampled [I]Twin Peaks[/I], went metal, then went back, allegedly big in America.'...


8 / 10 'Baldy dance bloke, vegan Christian, sampled Twin Peaks, went metal, then went back, allegedly big in America.'

So reads the current entry in the rock history books for New York maverick Moby. But that's barely the half of it.

After his less than convincing foray into industrial techno metal on 'Animal Rights', as white, inhuman and sexless a record as he could manage, and 1997's more accessible 'I Like To Score' soundtracks album, now he's delving into the roots of black music for inspiration. Crazy name, crazy guy. 'Play' encompasses hip-hop beats, funky grooves, samples of old blues hollering, big house emotionalism, and slow, smouldering soul. And for a man who always decried the navel-gazing, anti-dancing snobbery of 'intelligent' techno, it seems a much more natural habitat.

Witness natural born dancefloor grooves like 'Honey' and 'Find My Baby' and the old-skool hip-hop of 'Bodyrock'. Meanwhile, on 'Natural Blues' the old-school blues crooner sounds like he always had a live rave PA element to his music. This is when Moby's much-vaunted eclecticism works brilliantly, sounding more godlike than Jesus Jones-like.

None of which is likely to top the charts or endear him any further to the dance cognoscenti. But in ploughing a unique furrow in pop music, he demands your enjoyment as much as your respect.

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