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Something that BBC Four's recent tribute to the astonishing musical developments of 1991 has thrown into focus is that the rave generation was never built to last. Good thing nobody told them that, eh? If they had, we'd have been denied all kinds of Prodigy magic, modern clubbers wouldn't squeak with glee at the merest hint of a rejigged old-school classic, and we certainly wouldn't be sat here enjoying the 10th Moby album.
You'd think he'd be more celebrated for reaching such a landmark. Instead, he tends to find critical affection blunted by the triple whammy of ubiquity, dilettantism and a lack of quality control. This isn't wholly fair: the first charge may have applied in the immediate wake of Play, but hasn't exactly been the case since; and the second isn't a pejorative as such (in fact, that anyone could have Thousand, That's When I Reach for My Revolver and Porcelain on their CV is wholeheartedly laudable). And the third? Well, after the disappointment of Wait for Me it's a relief to say that's being addressed, and with some style.
This isn't Moby at his danciest, though. Instead, this set recalls the work of another titanic electronic Richard, namely Aphex Twin's underappreciated Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Like that record, Destroyed is a curiously sprawling affair, heavily reliant on tone and texture and located squarely in its own hazily delineated environs. It doesn't so much spring into life as pad into focus, with opener The Broken Places soldering blurry melancholic chords onto a percussive heartbeat; later, the astounding Stella Maris dispenses with beats altogether, wandering with disconsolate desperation around an ancient and elegant church before being bathed in a corona of redemptive strings. When You Are Old casts Mr Hall as a luridly caped conductor, straining over devastating organ hypnosis even as he encourages a fiercely-restrained orchestra to chime gnomically in. These are among the most beautiful works he's ever produced.
But that still isn't enough, and so it is that the ravenous, ramshackle pop instincts that have led Moby down so many curious paths kick in, in intriguing ways. He may never have claimed much kinship with shoegaze in the past, but After, The Day and Lie Down in Darkness, though sadly not appearing in quite that order, serve as an evocative instruction and a deliberate hurtle away from a vocalised meaningfulness. This attitude bears further fruit via the cracked robotics of Be the One, Blue Moon, and the relentless drum crescendo of The Violent Bear It Away, which takes both piano and rave dynamics and strands them somewhere within earshot of Zola Jesus.
All in all, Destroyed feels like both a return to the darkness from which Moby emerged in the first place, and perhaps his most year zero offering to date. Alright, so that year might actually clock in somewhere around the two-decades-ago mark; but, contrary to all expectations, that actually looks set to render this among his most enduring endeavours yet.
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Top Customer Reviews
Disc 1: Original CD - good/excellent 'ambient Moby' CD - we all know and love.
Disc 2: CD of extra material (55mins)
Good supplement, some of which has previously been released on Moby.com. Particular highlights are the extended/different versions of 'the broken places, lie down in darkness and the day'. [N.B. this disc is available on Spotify]
Disc 3: DVD of music videos, interviews and live performances
Another good supplement. The live performances worth seeing and add a new dimension to the tracks.
A bit disappointing that the bass sound wasn't as good as in the 'Wait for me' live DVD, but hey-ho.
Music videos for:
1. Be The One
2. Lie Down In Darkness
4. The Day
5. Victoria Lucas
All available on moby.com
Saatchi & Saatchi Hello Future Video challenge: 10 videos (listed in Amazon description under Disc 4...)
Wilcox live sessions (Guitar and violin)
2. The Day
Main Square Festival performance from Arras, France in July 2011
1. Raining Again
4. Lie Down In Darkness
6. Disco Lies
Plus interviews with his imperial Mobyness.
I find that the DVD is a good way to chill-out before going to sleep!Read more ›
"Destroyed" itself is yet another Moby record. A sort of sad, electronica Neil Young, Moby puts out a new record every two years or so, tours frequently, and now mines a fairly refined template : in the DVD that comes with this expanded version, the secret is out - these are often songs written and recorded in the middle of the night in hotel rooms across the world. "Destroyed" is another solid Moby album, much like the previous twelvty or so he has put out. A record with a handful of upbeat disco material, then moving to a more considered, reflective late night comedown. The template, and his sound, has barely moved in a decade since "Play".
With the death of the physical single as all but a fetish object has made this release the only way to obtain the extra songs we used to call b-sides. Here, on the second CD, are eleven songs from the thousands Moby has recorded over the years, mostly unheard - there's also a beautiful orchestral version of "The Day" (and alternate mixes of "Lie Down In Darkness", and "The Broken Places"). On the other hand, some of these new songs do outstay their welcome. "Washing" is at least two minutes too long, riding as it does on sparse instrumentation that becomes well, as boring as washing itself.Read more ›
Which is why this album works so well, because it really does sound like laying awake in the middle of the night and feeling dislocated from reality. I don't have the words to technically describe the music, only how it makes me feel. And like so many of Moby's albums it plugs directly into the very essence of who I am. I cannot imagine anyone with any sense of soul would not simply love this.
These songs were created due to two very large factors: Moby has had a chronic case of off and on insomnia for years, and he has always made music to push the boundaries of what is definable as music. On these merits, Moby has both succeeded and failed. Yes, it's an ambitious project, but it hurts my brain because I get normal REM sleep and following his path down the semiconscious hallways of his mind's eye will hurt you if you're not ready for it.
15 songs adding up to just under an hour:
1. The Broken Places - right off the bat you are slowed down to a snail's pace, but just quick enough for you to see the blurs of the lines on the road, and to notice the harshness of the neon lights against the blackest of night from your hotel room. It's creeps up on you quietly, and with all the odd intention of someone trying to show you the world still is alive and breathing after the 3am hour, but just in another subtle way.
2.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great to have the double CD set as now I can play the main CD along with the extra CD , I love it .Published 17 days ago by Mr. Robert Lismore
Moby rarely disappoints and doesn't here.
Buy with confidence.
Typical Moby- one , maybe two absolutely great tracks then a load of so-so stuff but I like to have the whole CD rather than cherry pick some MP3sPublished 11 months ago by Tony I
i have to admit, i had to listen to this album about five/six times to fully appreciate it; for at first, having only really listened to Play and 18 before, I thought it was awful! Read morePublished 14 months ago by marie shutt
Wasnt my cup of tea, he has slowed right down on the music of this, Went and resold it on discogs.Published 18 months ago by Skunk Mantra
Arrived within 2 days with the Usual good Packaging !!
Love Moby's innovative Music and this album is no Exception !!
So much New material and each track a Dream ! Read more