Moby

Last Night

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On Last Night, Moby is as blissfully out of touch with modern club music as he is current. As he explains (of course) in the album's liner notes, he has been in the thick of New York City club culture since the early '80s, and he takes the opportunity here to pay tribute to a number of dance music strains that have fallen in and out of fashion -- in a couple cases, they've recently fallen back into fashion -- including some angles he hasn't taken in well over a decade. The sturdiest, most appealing tracks tend to be where Moby breaks out with some highly energized combination of rollicking pianos, stabbing keyboards, and random divas, mixing and matching rave, Hi-NRG, and disco: "Everyday It's 1989," "Stars," and "Disco Lies" (featuring a vocalist who is nearly a dead ringer for a young Taylor Dayne) would've had no place on any of the last five Moby albums. What is long maligned and what is trendy sometimes occurs simultaneously, as on "I Love to Move in Here" (featuring Grandmaster Caz), a mid-tempo house track that can be sub-categorized as both hip-house (inciting wicked flashbacks for most haters of either component) and Balearic (as it causes that loosey-goosey, anesthetized-but-still-beaming sensation, prevalent in several of the hippest dance tracks released during 2007 and 2008). The poorly timed, not-so-appealing moments -- "257.zero," "Alice" -- with their distant transmission spoken bits and droning raps, might sound in step whenever the Soul Jazz label gets around to releasing rarity compilations with contents resembling Astralwerks' late-'90s compilations for MTV's Amp program. The disc's latter 20 minutes, containing contemplative, string-laden tracks, would be as suited for the Pure Moods series (i.e., beside Yanni, Dave Koz) as past tracks "Porcelain" and "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters." A good number of Moby fans who began to follow the producer's moves well before Play will be inclined to think of Last Night as the best Moby album since Everything Is Wrong. That the album involves several unself-conscious, rush-inducing tracks (rather than the once-expected token track or two) is enough for that opinion to have validity. Ditto the sensible and drastic reduction of Moby's own vocals.

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