Moby back with ‘innocent’ sound

The 11th addition to the discography of electronica/dance artist, Moby, was released last Tuesday. The new album entitled “Innocents” was 18 months in the making and features guest appearances from Cold Specks, Damien Jurado, Wayne Coyne, and Mark Lanegan. 

Richard Melville Hall, the man behind the name, has released several albums along the years. Arguably, his best album was the 1999 release “Play.” The new album is, however, the first time Hall worked with a producer, in this case Mike “Spike” Spent. Spent has done production work for Massive Attack, Beyonce, and Madonna. The collaborative efforts helped bring more variety to Moby’s music and established some promising groundwork for future material. 

 Most of the songs on “Innocents” are created from sampled sounds placed chromatically in a sort of rhythm combined with the build-up in volume of the background audio and synthesized notes. One might think that an album with twelve songs like this would seem boring to listen through. 

In “Innocents,” particularly the single “A Case For Shame,” there seems to be this constant sound like that of a cry of pain and at the same time a strength to suffer through that pain. It could be the reason for the characters on the cover to be wearing animal masks and the fitting title that expresses Hall’s strong passion for animal rights.

The music is very airy and sends the listener on a glide through the clouds. Each song stays true to that theme of innocence and the guest appearances make for a whole new characterization for each track. “Almost Home,” the third song off the record, features indie guitarist and songwriter, Damien Jurado who adds his own sound to the mix. Lead singer from the Flaming Lips, Wayne Coyne, joins in on the song “The Perfect Life.” Hall said he intended this song to be a collaborative effort with Coyne recalling back to when the two met while on the European tour for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Moby and the Flaming Lips opened for the Peppers back in 1995. 

“The Flaming Lips have evolved in this very open, celebratory band when they play live,” said Hall to Rolling Stone. “And that was the perfect vibe for what I was imagining for ‘The Perfect Life.’” The song features a celebratory chorus of multiple voices and upbeat piano chords to go along.

Mark Lanegan, known for his vocal-work for Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age, lent his voice for the album in the song “The Lonely Night.” The association of the deep grungy rasp of Lanegan’s melody was probably what made this song stand up more on the album coming pretty close with Cold Speck’s contribution in “A Case For Shame.”

The instrumentals have a progressive rock approach to them such as in “A Long Time” in which a sampled sound of a woman’s chanting is synchronized over that phase of audio. It has a sound that is almost heavenly and suggests hope or a light at the end of a tunnel, or a rich valley on the other side of the tall hill. Hall is also a photographer and shot all the pictures for the album including the cover. 

Moby had a three-day tour from Oct. 2, 3, and 4 all performed at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. He did not want to do a full world tour but instead did a three-night show. The Friday show was streamed online and consists of his only live performance for this year and the next.