Review Summary: Eco-friendly nostalgia party...
Moby celebrates his 30th anniversary under the moniker this year. He passed through several polarizing phases throughout his career, confusing at times even dedicated fans. Nevertheless, the artist stuck to his guns, marching forward on his own terms. The past decade saw him becoming a tad predictable, so unexpectedly, he branched out, alternating from downtempo to punk infused new wave, trip hop, as well as hours-long, droning ambient journeys. Out of all, the vitriolic Void Pacific Choir LPs, coupled with some of his most aggressive music yet were a breath of fresh air. The sobering slap in the face came with 2018’s Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt
, maintaining that momentum through a contrasting, subdued, post-apocalyptic vibe.
The latest material, All Visible Objects
throws us back to the early ‘90s, when techno, house and rave parties were at their peak. While not apparent from the album artwork, this record is middle-aged Moby’s take on those times. There is more focus on melody, however, thumping beats and mesmerizing synthesizers recreate that vibrant atmosphere. The lyrics concern today’s political and social issues, but this time we’re allowed to dance and spread some love too. ‘Morningside’ opens this nostalgia trip with sampled vocals, steady percussion and spine shivering keys build-ups akin to his first hit, ‘Go’. Also, the Roxy Music tune, ‘My Only Love’ was reworked into a trance pop anthem, complete with pristine chamber piano touches, paranoid-sounding leads, topped by Mindy Jones’ mournful vocals. During the middle stretch, the more powerful techno grooves of ‘Refuge’ or ‘Power Is Taken’ are interspersed with warmer club bangers like ‘Rise Up in Love’, ‘Forever’ & ‘One Last Time’. The fast-paced, cyclic beats, high-pitched noises, alongside echoed samples boast those lovely, euphoric feels.
Usually the latter half of Moby’s albums represent a gradual comedown, embellished with lush or melancholic ambient cuts. On All Visible Objects
he managed to fend the habit by leaving us a number of immersive instrumental epics. Still, he totally resist it and included ‘Separation’, a gorgeous piano segment, augmented by waves of mellotron leads. On the other hand, the 10-minute opus, ‘Too Much Change’ can be seen as the transition to late night partying. The beat is there, however, you start experiencing some emotional lows. Then, you drain your remaining energy dancing during ‘Tecie’ and the title track. On these two songs, Moby went all in with the synthesizers. They grow in intensity with each passing minute, becoming dominant (as if a blurry soundtrack to a drug-fueled epiphany). Headphones definitely help, due to the encompassing, huge, layered sound.
Overall, All Visible Objects
acts as a love letter to the early ‘90s techno/trance/rave scene, albeit in a pop-instilled way. Moby pays his respects to the respective era, blending various sounds from his discography into what plays like a smoothly sequenced, nostalgia party mixtape. Unfortunately, there is nothing as punchy as ‘Feeling So Real’, but I appreciate how the man created a cohesive journey. In fact, this is one thing he successfully improved during the past few years. I believe Richard Hall still finds ways to offer interesting music after 30 years of activity and this LP deserves to be digested by as many people as possible.