Although Moby has been fairly active, releasing stuff every now and then, not much has centered around him for the past decade or so. We guess the main story surfaced when Moby announced that he was going to sell off his massive drum machine collection (200-300 pcs or so). However, now Moby has released a new take on his old hits and this time in collaboration with the kings and queens of classical music – Deutsche Grammophon. I guess it makes a nice mark for a guy who basically was center stage on all major fashion shows across the globe when his skillful ambient pop music hit the market.
Moby has announced a new album Reprise that takes some of the classics over his careers and gives them a new musical perspective. He has teamed up with the Budapest Art Orchestra to create new arrangements for orchestra and acoustic instruments. There are also other collaborators across the album as well. The first is a beautiful reprise of his seminal track “Porcelain,” now featuring My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James.
Other guests on the album include Alice Skye, Amythyst Kiah, Apollo Jane, Darlingside, Gregory Porter, Jim James, Kris Kristofferson, Luna Li, Mark Lanegan, Mindy Jones, Nataly Dawn, Skylar Grey and Víkingur Ólafsson. The genesis for reprise first came to be back in October 2018 when Moby did his first classical collaboration with his friend Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
“Sorry if this seems self-evident, but for me the main purpose of music is to communicate emotion. To share some aspect of the human condition with whoever might be listening.” Why include an orchestra? “I long for the simplicity and vulnerability you can get with acoustic or classical music,” Moby explains in a press release.
In addition to the album, Moby will be releasing a documentary, MOBY DOC this year. The film features interviews with David Lynch and David Bowie, along with concert footage. It reflects on his turbulent personal life and the path that took him from underground punk bands to chart-topping solo artist, and from struggling addict to vegan activist.
Speaking of drum machines:
Moby’s collecting interests follow the significance drum machines have played in his life and career. Growing up in the ’70s, he was fascinated by the synthetic pulse of songs like Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” and Donna Summer’s seductive disco anthem “I Feel Love.”
“I loved anything in the real world that seemed like it could come from Star Trek,” he explains. Later, as he became enamored by the late-’80s rave culture and the innovative electronic producers that grew out of it, Moby discovered much of this new music that excited was produced ad hoc on supposedly obsolete analog drum machines and synthesizers discarded in the wake of contemporary hi-fi digital technology.
In Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt in particular, Moby explores these retro-futuristic sounds anew—reflecting sonically and lyrically on where machine meets soul in a way that evokes his timeless breakthrough 1999 album, Play.
“I just love drum machines for their simple absurdity, and didn’t know anyone else who collected them,” he says, adding that while he no longer “goes on eBay five times a day” he still aspires to “grails” like rare, early Elka Wilgamat and Chamberlin tape-loop models.
Reprise will be release on May 28 via Deutsche Grammophon. MOBY DOC will be released the same day. See the full tracklist below and pre-order reprise here.
2. Natural Blues (Featuring Gregory Porter & Amythyst Kiah)
4. Porcelain (Featuring Jim James)
5. Extreme Ways
6. Heroes (Featuring Mindy Jones)
7. God Moving Over The Face Of The Water (Featuring Vikingur Ólafsson)
8. Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad (Featuring Apollo Jane)
9. The Lonely Night (Featuring Kris Kristofferson & Mark Lanegan)
10. We Are All Made Of Stars
11. Lift Me Up
12. The Great Escape (Featuring Nataly Dawn, Alice Skye, Luna Li)
13. The Last Day (Featuring Skylar Grey & Darlingside)