- 28 May 21
Moby looks back on 30 years with selection of reimagined classics.
With a vast and varying discography built up over the last three decades, Moby has decided that a little retrospection is in order.
Although he has failed, in recent years, to replicate the globe-dominating success of his early work, there's no denying that at his best, the electronic icon has crafted more than his fair share of transcendentally beautiful music. Now he's rising to the occasion – enlisting the Budapest Art Orchestra to help reimagine some of his most celebrated songs with fresh new arrangements.
It's an organic approach, centred around acoustic and orchestral instrumentation – but Reprise offers more than just a stripped back tribute to the glory days. Rather, the arrangements here are often just as lush and grand as his original recordings. It's not all sweeping strings either, with the new version of 'Go' opening to irresistible rhythms.
The timing of the project is apt – ditching the electronic dance music elements while clubs remain shuttered. But Reprise also finds Moby purposefully opting for a sound that's decidedly more natural and human, at a time when physical contact is being increasingly replaced by technology.
At its best, this creates moments of blindsiding emotion and cleverly paced power. Occasionally, however, Reprise lacks the ground-breaking excitement of the originals. For instance, despite solid contributions from Gregory Porter and Amythyst Kiah, the polished new rendition of 'Natural Blues' loses the raw power of Moby's 1999 version, which sampled a 1937 recording of Alabama folk singer Vera Hall.
Even so, there's an overarching authenticity running through Reprise that prevents the orchestral direction from falling into the gimmick trap. For fans steadfast, lapsed or new, Reprise is a worthy celebration of some of Moby's finest work.