Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Moby’s showcases obscured talent on Always Centred at Night

"Always Centred at Night"

Release date: 14 June 2024
Moby Always Centred At Night cover
14 June 2024, 09:00 Written by Puja Nandi

Over the years Moby has been lampooned as outlandish and obnoxious.

Some of this reputation could be chalked up to social bandwagoning; on other occasions, it is probably understandable. Similar to his public persona, this new release, as well as his extensive back catalogue, contains polarities. Moby has been drip-feeding tracks from this album over the last few years - it’s a pick ’n’ mix assortment of different styles influenced by the last few decades of electronic music. Some tracks are notable and some are too lacklustre to remember.

However, beyond any notion of lacklustre is the late great Benjamin Zephaniah who features in “Where is your Pride?” Breakbeats make the dub poet’s distinctive balmy Brummie burr more compelling as he asks, “Where is your joy? / Where is your dread? / Where is your passion? / Where is your head?” It’s not an unsurprising collaboration - there are shared ideals between Zephaniah’s and Moby’s veganism and championing of animal rights. It is a coincidental fitting tribute that Zephaniah should feature on an album released in the same year as Moby’s European and UK tour later this year, of which 100% of his profits will go to European animal rights organisations.

Where there are repetitively weary songs like the two openers (despite the Tina Turner pizazz from Lady Blackbird on “Dark Days”), there are also songs that pique interest such as “Transit” featuring Gaidaa who is a Sudanese Netherlands-born and raised singer-songwriter. The slow, trip-hop infusion with scaling piano harks back to Moby’s old playground of ambient electronica. Gaidaa’s voice is delicate yet dark as she sings, “Shadow man / Shadow man / Where do you run from then?”

Moby flips the script with “Wild Flame'' featuring Danaé Wellington, a Sheffield-based Jamaican-British poet and singer. It’s immensely danceable with a funk-driven bassline and rhythmic drums. Following that is the sleepy “Precious Mind”, but it's languid and wedged incoherently between two upbeat tracks.

“Should Sleep” featuring J.P. Bimeni again sees Moby seek out globally-influenced talented artists. Bimeni, who is a royal Burundian living as a refugee in London, has an extraordinary voice that would fit into any 70s funk anthem which this track reflects. Traversing through multi-genres, we then come to the classic Latin house-inspired “Feelings Come Undone” featuring Raquel Rodriguez. It’s a rehash of a much earlier unreleased track from Moby called “So Much Feeling” and leads to the drum ’n’ bass haze of “Medusa” featuring another Londoner, Aynzli Jones.

Both tracks don’t quite land a punch, however, the closing “Ache For” certainly does. It features the American composer José James, and his immersive baritone vocals over barely-there textured percussion and pensive piano. It’s a song made for old souls wandering a snowy New York City, to ponder the questions James asks, "What do you ache for? / What do you breathe for? / What do you dream for?”

Always Centred at Night imbues a lyrical theme of searching for answers, of self-discovery. Moby’s selection of collaborators here is a great way to introduce yourself to some talented yet unfamiliar artists. His creatively unrestrained approach results in a record that is hotch-potch but also one that contains several stirring, noteworthy songs.

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