Moby is a contextual artist, his music always seems to reflect the times in which they are created. Equally, Moby is also a pioneer and leader of early noughties electronica, and it’s worth analysing whether his music remains relevant.
The last two albums reflected their times relatively well. Everything Was beautiful, and Nothing Hurt spoke volumes about moral and social order, whilst Long Ambients Two provided a needed breather from the chaos of 2019.
All Visible Objects feels like new ground though. The album is fused with gritty bass and pulsating synthesisers that should be safe in his hands, but feel like a half-remembered Blade Runner or Matrix infused dream. Bizarrely, it’s not as dirty as it needs to be. The immersion in this dystopian dream craves more and fizzles out with no dedication to the intensity of the moment.
The album seems close to something more substantial at times, like you are outside a basement party but with no door to enter. The tracks fail to speak any truth promised by the lyrics to “fight against the oppressors”. They feel more like empty rave tunes than anything of real substance. And the beat has returned to Moby’s music like a pounding and necessary throb of noise.
His vocals barely feature and it feels much more detached from society than anything else he has produced. Despite this, it does deliver in certain areas. There are tracks on the album that provide refreshing insight. ‘Refuge’ achieves through its relentless intensity and ‘Too Much Chance’ is a tender interlude.
The track order is bizarre from its combination of sound worlds. Individually it feels like they lack substance, but as a whole album, they provide an insight into an alternate headspace that inhabits our current world.
It is a busy, detached and disjointed, yet incredibly intense album. Perhaps that’s the motive: to deliver something that is as broken and potent as our current world order.
Despite being new ground, All Visible Objects is unmistakably Moby, with minimalist treatment of melodies and song development. But it is Moby in a faux-monochrome world. A well-crafted sound experience which lacks substance, Moby offers us a reflection on our lives while still searching for what to say.