With Moby’s Porcelain: A Memoir book becoming a reality, it only makes sense that a compilation album featuring the music he’s talking about accompanies it. With songs of his own creation and those he liked to use in his DJ set appearing in this collection, Music From Porcelain acts as an integral part of his own memoir, as well as a collection of songs for fans of the earlier days of Moby to enjoy separately.
The entire spectrum of Moby’s music during the 90s receives its fair share of attention on Music From Porcelain. The extended house styles of Mobility and the Woodtick mix of Go! Make for a slow start to the compilation, but as it moves into the rave style of Ah-Ah and eventually into house music on Feeling So Real things begin to even out. Electronic rock gets its feature through That’s When I Reach For My Revolver, and the memoir’s title track Porcelain rounds out the collection. As a collection, it showcases Moby’s eclectic, eccentric style very well, and largely features his stronger songs. The likes of God Moving Over the Face of the Waters’ grand yet slow-burning angelic soundscape and Come On Baby’s screeching electro-rock afterwards is an awkward transition between two very unfitting songs, but they mark the compilation’s most awkward stage.
It’s an obviously dated collection, very much a reminder of its era and how radically different it was from modern music, but acts as a fitting retelling of Moby’s story. Its second disc, compiling songs from other artists that he used to use in his early DJ sets, is an even broader portrayal of the era as it was, especially when it comes to Moby’s own inspirations. From hip-hop tracks such as Run-D.M.C.’s Pause and A Tribe Called Quest’s Scenario to house ones like Dream Frequency’s Feel So Real and Joey Beltram’s Energy Flash, the level of variety is much lower yet overall more consistent. While it potentially relies more on the memoir than the first half of the compilation, with their main tie to Moby being explained in greater detail there, it has its merits.
Music From Porcelain makes sense as a compilation, but also has a rather limited scope in who it’s targeting. Fans of Moby and 90s music in general will easily receive Moby’s intended portrayal of the 90s that he remembered and experienced and appreciate it at full value, especially if used in conjunction with the memoir. Considering Moby’s legacy and popularity throughout his career, however, this doesn’t act as much of a hindrance. Music from Porcelain is a solid collection of a small section of musical history that will surely excite fans of its era.