Baby Monkey

Voodoo Child

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Baby Monkey Review

by John Bush

Moby's Voodoo Child project has been the repository for various musical ideas he's taken an interest in, usually on a personal level: house early in his career, ambient techno during the mid-'90s, and for 2004's Baby Monkey, what he terms "straightforward electronic dance music." Prompted by a great night out in Glasgow, along with his subsequent wish to make an enjoyable record that wouldn't be scrutinized by fans and critics (who expect something specific from a Moby record), these 12 tracks hark back to his early-'90s genesis as a producer. They also sound nothing like straightforward electronic dance music as it exists in 2004. For Moby, straightforward means highly melodic, blandly rhythmic, and reproducible mostly on boards he could've owned (and probably did own) a dozen years earlier. After an opener whose blues-vocal sample is probably a sop to his Play/18 audience, he floats a set of tracks that substitute a little old-style Chicago acid and Detroit strings for the rave euphoria of his earliest productions, but often sounds virtually identical to a generic dance record circa 1992. A few tracks rise above, like "Electronics," which possesses a charming vision of chiming techno reminiscent of Orbital's early Kraftwerk fixation. Nearly everything else here, though, is remarkable only for its slavish devotion to early techno, despite the obvious lack of ideas and lack of progression that marked mainstream dance before an avalanche of stylistic influence -- from drum'n'bass to disco, hip-hop to R&B -- overwhelmed the "purists" in the mid-'90s.

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