moby destroyed
  • FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2011

  • Posted by: Siobhan Fludder

Many albums are constructed around a theme. Consequently, they can cater towards a certain group of people, connecting strangers together by linking a shared emotion or experience that is expressed via a compiled list of tracks. Moby's most recent album, Destroyed, takes this approach in a somewhat unique manner, as it is dedicated to all of the world's insomniacs. Though a seemingly obscure inspiration, if you have ever had trouble sleeping, you're aware that the feeling can be rather consuming and entrancing, as the lack of activity around you and resulting solitude warps the mind for a momentary reality shift and creates a world in which you are the only inhabitant. The building blocks of Destroyed were created in such a state. To capture this hidden world of nocturnal beings, Moby put together a multi-media experience in the form of a website that streamed the album along with photos of his late night observances, accessed by a map of his touring locations and corresponding images. The tracks themselves actually seem to encompass more than one would expect, considering the late night inspiration, but this does not cause too much of a hindering impact on the inescapable beauty that exists within the sounds of Destroyed.

"The Broken Places" opens the experience by contrasting a throbbing beat that picks up and slows down with a brisk and deliberate ease, throwing it against a whirring trance. "Be The One" begins the incorporation of vocal parts into the album's track list, something that is absent in the first song. While maintaining a calming sonic background to the vibrating repetition of "I was the one when you needed love", the song suddenly bursts into a pounding desperation. This kicks up the power of the lyrical indication behind the tune, shifting pretty quickly from "The Broken Places" and the lava-lamp pace that one might expect from a sleep-deprivation-themed compilation.

The two approaches are somewhat married, however, in "Sevastopol". It has the flowing consistency of the album's opener, but also provides the addition of an energized drive. In this number, one can relate to the restlessness that must have inspired the unrelenting synth that progresses throughout. While the vocals have disappeared again, they return with "The Low Hum", which expresses the buzzing undercurrent that the name suggests. It is broken up with hauntingly beautiful moments where the beat falls away and caters to the considerations of the vocal content. "Rockets", while sprinkled with a lyrical echo, has more of a pulsating approach, as opposed to the frantic nature of the other vocal tracks.

"The Day" travels even further away from expectations. Rather than adding a repetition of lines to a dipping and rising collection of beats (something that is exaggerated in tracks like "Lacrimae"), this particular song has the verse and chorus structure that is not otherwise present in Destroyed. Even the music follows a more regulated pattern, hardly recognizable within the mix of its ambient neighbors. Tracks that are perhaps closest to this organizational direction, would be "Blue Moon" and "The Right Thing". It does not last for too long, however, as "Lie Down In Darkness" changes gears yet again, with a classical inflection that almost makes the track sound like a film score. This is also present in the gorgeous piano featured in "The Violent Bear It Away", and is taken further with drawn out vocals of an opera-like nature throughout "Stella Maris".

Destroyed does not deliver any tracks that are lacking intrigue or sonic enjoyment, but it does seem to be an indecisive compilation. Many creations are driven by a quietly strong and progressive trance that matches up with the visual experience Moby is expressing with the photographic aspect of the album, such as in "Victoria Lucas" and "After". However, the more hectic tracks feel out of place. Although they are no less enjoyable and do indeed emulate the frenzied manner that applies to some late night experiences, but they ultimately come together with their surrounding songs in a mildly confusing order. The basic elements of abstract electronics in the album, however, allow for more forgiveness regarding this effect. Individually, each track still achieves an entrancing captivation, no matter what kind of perplexity surrounds the album's organization or its unorthodox construction.

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