Album Reviews

Voodoo Child – Baby Monkey

UK release date: 2 February 2004

Voodoo Child - Baby Monkey Part of the fascination with Moby has been his myriad of contradictions: the pacifist anti-corporate, radical vegan who, thanks to his Play album, became the darling of Madison Avenue advertising agencies; the blissed-out master of dreamy ambient sounds who likes nothing better than getting down to a bit of thrash metal every now and again, as on the largely forgotten Animal Rights album.

Aware of his current mainstream status and, who knows, perhaps feeling uncomfortable with being the darling of drive-time, Moby has reverted to the Voodoo Child moniker that he first used in the early ’90s for a dancefloor techno record of the same name. This was followed up with the long out-of-print End Of Everything album, similarly aimed squarely at the clubs.

Moby says this new album was inspired by a night spent at a party in a Glasgow at the end of 2002. Not the hospital stay that normally follows such occasions, but the music played by the DJs, that reminded him of how much he loves “hard, sexy, straightforward dance music.”

By making the album as Voodoo Child, Moby says he could by-pass the usual promotional brouhaha that now surrounds his projects, leaving him free him to focus exclusively on making an “underground” dance record. That’s as maybe, but the mere action of attaching his name to the album creates all manner of expectations, and while it may have been Moby’s intention to make an underground dance record, much of this album sounds like the kind of clinical, quasi-Vangelis electronic wallpaper music that has made his reputation, rather than the experimental, avant garde record that presumably was his intention.

The best tracks are Light Is In Your Eyes and Obscure, tracks which, in fact, hark back to former glories, in particular the excellent Everything Is Wrong album. Less successful are Gotta Be Loose In Your Mind, Last, Unh Yeah and Strings (he obviously laboured long and hard over the song titles) that are presumably meant to be cutting edge, but instead evoke that sinking feeling of a geography teacher desperately trying to “get down” with the kids. He’s certainly on much safer ground with the chilled out Synthesisers that closes the album, and this would not have been out of place on either Play or 18.

If Moby wanted this record to be anonymous then he has certainly succeeded. Unfortunately, it’s for all the wrong reasons…

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Voodoo Child – Baby Monkey