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Moby - Hotel

Review: Jack Foley

MOBY is something of a prolific performer. He has made dance records, and rock records, and ambient records, and heavy metal records.

He has written classical music for movies and had platinum albums in almost every country in the western world.

He has DJed in clubs for 100 people and headlined Glastonbury for 125,000 people.

He has played punk rock in tiny bars in Germany, and he has performed at the closing ceremonies of the Olympics for an audience of 2 billion people.

He has had albums that have sold less than 100,000 worldwide (1996's Animal Rights), and albums that have sold in the millions (1999's Play and 2002's 18). While his debut solo release, Go, in 1991, was voted one of Rolling Stones' top 200 records of all time.

His latest album, Hotel, certainly continues the Moby tradition of making beautifully eclectic records, running the gamut from quiet instrumentals (Hotel Intro, Homeward Angel) to anthems (Spiders, Lift Me Up), to uplifting electro-disco (Very), to ballads (Forever).

Yet Hotel differs from his most recent efforts, Play and 18, in that it is completely sample-free, relying mostly on his own understated vocals as well as those of Laura Dawn.

As such, it takes some getting used to. Moby's voice isn't the strongest and its presence on virtually every track takes some adjusting too.

As does the more electro-synth flavour that has its roots more in the 80s than anything forward looking.

But give it a few listens and fans will probably agree that Hotel marks a worthy progression of his considerable talents.

It boasts several stand-out tracks, including a deeply under-stated cover version of New Order's Temptation, which brings Dawn's soft vocals to the fore, and the feel-good vibes of Beautiful, which features some sharp guitar bursts and an instantly catchy chorus.

Lead single, Lift Me Up, is a suitably upbeat dancefloor filler with political undertones, while Spiders is another which builds to a memorable chorus thanks to its uplifting, melody-strewn chorus.

And while there's less of the ambience this time around, or the sound that saw his material cruelly labelled as elevator music, he signs off with a beautiful nod to the past in the form of the beautifully mellow Homeward Angel, which has the ability to put you in a trance.

Hotel might not have the instant accessibility of 18 or Play, but it will doubtless become another important chapter in Moby's volume of work and is well worth checking into.

And that's not bad for an artist who still makes all of his records at home in his bedroom!

Track listing:
1. Hotel Intro
2. Raining Again
3. Beautiful
4. Lift Me Up
5. Where You End
6. Temptation
7. Spiders
8. Dream About Me
9. Very
10. I Like It
11. Love Should
12. Slipping Away
13. Forever
14. Homeward Angel

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