Always-experimental, Moby’s latest release ‘Resound NYC’ sees the American producer once again reworking a selection of songs from his musical history and follows a similar sonic approach to 2021’s ‘Reprise’.
The music pioneer’s 20th studio album is a thoughtful reimagining of the tracks he composed and released between the years 1994 and 2010 in New York City. A pivotal time for the enigmatic and consummate musician, and this period is arguably the most defining era in Moby’s illustrious musical life.
Similarly to ‘Reprise’, Moby has undertaken a classy reworking of some of his most definitive songs (which sit alongside a cover of Neil Young’s ‘Helpless’, in fact) but this isn’t some straight shooting overblown orchestral extravaganza which would have been a ‘safe’ sonic approach. It takes the ‘orchestral overhaul’ theme and throws it out of the window. Sure, there are those signature orchestral flourishes, but you will also find influences of gospel, blues, jazz, pop and even a hint of lo-fi on ‘Slipping Away’ which sounds almost Bowie-esque at times.
The result? Intriguing juxtapositions where tracks are elevated by strings and lush orchestral sound fused with reverb-laden keys and funk-inspired guitars. Moby may be reflecting and revisiting his past, but he’s also reimagining his future at the same time and his latest body of work is a stellar showcase of the incredible scope and relevance of Moby’s musical talent.
‘Resound NYC’ has a fantastic line-up of collaborations with jazz musician Gregory Porter who also worked with Moby on ‘Reprise’, Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson, the exquisite Lady Blackbird, amongst others as well as lesser-known, but equally talented vocalists like Danielle Ponder and P.T. Banks who shines on the bewitching ‘When It’s Cold I’d Like To Die’ from 1995’s ‘Everything Is Wrong’.
A stylish yet sad reinterpretation which thanks to the soaring strings and pleading vocals rendered me to tears. It’s otherworldly, impassioned and is possibly the most emotional reworking on this 15-track album. This beautifully sad, acoustic-led number is heightened by the heartbreaking vocals of P.T which along with the soaring strings effortlessly delivers the poignant lyrics with strength and fragility.
Moby composed a bespoke orchestral approach for each song on the album and this has demonstrated a considered evolution of his own work, especially so with ‘In My Heart’, the album’s opening track which features some stunning vocals from Gregory Porter. Originally released as part of 2002’s ‘18’, this is uplifting, dance-fueled and intoxicating. Porter’s voice is timeless and his rich vocals marry with the resounding percussion and rock beats.
Ricky Wilson from the Kaiser Chiefs shows his playful side on the sultry yet funk-laden ‘South Side’ from 1999’s seminal powerhouse ‘Play‘ which is reminiscent of Prince and Primal Scream. Ricky also takes on the vocals for ‘Perfect Life’ which has had a changeup in both synths and percussion. These subtle changes give the track originally from 2013’s ‘Innocents’ a brand new lease of life.
Other standouts include the fantastic ‘Walk With Me’, featuring Lady Blackbird and the richly-textured ‘Extreme Ways’ which features Doug Mandagi from the Temper Trap. Nicole Scherzinger and Marisha Wallace’s vocals work together beautifully on ‘In This World’ creating another moment of magic on this album. ‘Signs Of Love’ sung by Moby himself is simple, yet effective without the need for too much sonic window dressing.
The haunting, gospel-inspired ‘Walk With Me’ featuring the acclaimed jazz/blues singer Lady Blackbird is captivating and haunting as is the beautiful cover of Neil Young’s ‘Helpless’ (the only non-original on this album) which really captures the emotion which is sung by Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins and Damien Jurado.
‘Resound NYC’ feels almost stripped back and intimate, despite the orchestral flourishes and sumptuous textures and these reworked versions of classic Moby songs have been altered enough to give them a fresh sound without losing the heart and appeal of the originals.
Words: Emma Harrison