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Album Review: Moby – Always Centered at Night

3 min read
Album Review: Moby – Always Centered at Night

Sorry Eminem, Richard Melville Hall (A.K.A. Moby) has released another album!!  Always Centered at Night is Moby’s 22nd (yes, twenty-second) studio album, with many (well…eight actually!) of the thirteen tracks being released as singles prior to the release of the album.  The first Moby album to be released through Mute Records, with each track a collaboration (much like “Resound NYC”) with, as Moby himself said, “amazing singers who might not be as well known as David Bowie….”.

Kicking off proceedings with the second single release, On Air features experimental musician Serpentwithfeet (real name Josiah Wise), and simple piano chords introduce this low key track, of which the subtle use of synth/electronics has you wondering if this truly is an acoustic track, and almost naturally has a Zero 7 feel to it.  This excellent opening track is followed by fellow single release Dark Days, where Lady Blackbird’s raspy vocals tailing off each line gives some serious Tina Turner vibes to this down tempo tribal house track, whilst we see a shift to true 1990s drum and bass beats with Where Is Your Pride? (with Benjamin Zephaniah).  We then hit a slew of what I’d consider to be classic late 90s early 00s Moby-style tracks, with Transit, where Gaidaa adds fantastic sultry tones, Wild Flame,  with fantastic vocals from Danaé over driving tribal house beats, and Precious Mind (with India Carney), which has a real old school Moby feel to it.  The old school Moby vibe continues with Should Sleep (with J.P. Bimeni), which has a real soulful groove and is very much a real instrumentation track, and I enjoyed the real deep house feel of Feelings Come Undone (featuring Raquel Rodriguez).

The first single release from the album, Medusa, was brought to us a musical age ago – June 1st 2022 – with Aynzli Jones providing the vocals on this second drum and bass track on the album… and it’s a banger!!  The album then starts to wind down, with some lovely lounge/chill tracks, Brie O’Banion delivers beautifully on the We’re Going Wrong, which has a bit of a trip-hop feel to it.  Following on Fall Back (with Akemi Fox) has a real sense of beach club Ibiza (think the Café Del Mar albums), while penultimate track Sweet Moon (with Choklate) has a great looping guitar rift.  Rounding off the album, is the spine tingling Ache For, with José James delivering hauntingly beautiful vocals and a simple piano and some strings giving the song a real uniqueness on the album… and indeed for me they saved the best for last – my favourite song on the album.

In Always Centered at Night Moby has delivered a real smorgasbord of styles, some of which you would think were typically Moby, and others, not so much.  The concept of every track being a collaboration with a selection box of talented, but relatively unknown group of artists works in keeping the tracks varied and fresh. My main concern is listener outreach – people who may like the freshness of the tracks may avoid listening because Moby is an established name, and assume this is just going to mimic Play (25 years old this year, by the way), while people who do know Moby’s music at a cursory level might not love the album precisely because it isn’t like Play!!  Maybe next album could be released under a Pseudonym!!