Monday, April 21, 2008

Moby: Last Night

Written by Fumo Verde

I’ve heard some jams from Moby on KCRW over the years and thought I would take a stab at reviewing his latest CD Last Night. I was never into the rave scene or into clubbing all night long (although believe me, I love the drugs), but that thumping bass line vibrating the floor along with masses of hot sweaty people does nothing for me. Though I never attended any of these types of parties I do have to say the music, at an audible level and with a fat bowl burning, always gave me great ideas for surf videos.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that I know each lick or track Moby sampled from, but they all had a late ‘80s/early ‘90s feel. “Every Day is 1989” says it all right there with a Gloria Gaynor-type of howl singing “Every Day I Got To ….” This hook, of which the last part I can’t make out, is mixed over a quick-tempo, high-pitched electric snare drum sound pushing the beat. I can just see it now, glow sticks waving around the blacklight-lit dance hall, someone puking over in the corner from some bad X. I’m glad I listen at home. Did this track bring me any vision for a great surf video? No, and neither did the very next one “Live for Tomorrow,” just another Flashdance flashback with too many of the same lines repeated over and over and over. But the jam after that, I did like.

On “Alice,” the first sound begins with the slow entrance of a singular voice, “My head keeps turning/ Turning like Russian Roulette / Thoughts are like bullets/ I can not do this/ Do this/ Do this.” It caught me, and the next thing I know I was dropping into a sick barrel somewhere tropical. With a hypnotic hook being broken by quick fire rapping, jumping back to the hook, it breaks again with a more climatic tempo that peaks then drops you back into that hook once again, which drifts into an even slower rap to finish off the jam. As the music closes, all I’m dreaming of is the soft shoulder of the wave and making my exit. I also enjoyed “Sweet Apocalypse,” an all-synthesized instrumental. What gives this jam its outer orbital funk is the sound of a single keyboard repeating the signal given to the mothership in the movie Close Encounters, just as “Mothers of the Night” feels like it’s all the break-up music from those John Hughes’ films I grew up watching.

The only other track I liked was the “hidden” track, which sounded like an after-hours jazz club. From what I gathered this album was a night out on the town and if you are the type of person who parties from ten p.m. to eight a.m., then you could see this whole night unfold before you. For someone like me, who if I do stay awake late it’s because of the History Channel or CSPAN, it just sounds like a bunch of re-mixes I already heard. I checked around to see what other critics thought, and they are bashing the shit out of it. I didn’t think it was that bad of an album; as for background music, it’s great to screw to.

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