Modern electronic music owes a great deal of gratitude to a gentleman by the name of Richard Melville Hall. If that name doesn’t sound familiar, you might know him better by his stage name, Moby. Since the late 1980s, he has been creating innovative electronic music that pushes boundaries while also sounding aesthetically pleasing and melodic. During the early part of his career, his music may not have crossed over into commercial territory, but as he – and technology – progressed, he was able to create music that made an emotional impact, which was not an easy task for someone working chiefly with electronics. While Moby has incorporated other instruments and genres into his music, he has become a pioneer in EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and opened the doors for many electronic artists along the way.
Moby’s pre-electronic career in the ‘80s was spent playing guitar in Punk Rock bands before he moved to New York in the latter part of the decade and became a DJ, remixer, and producer. He began to raise eyebrows with his early solo singles – “Mobility” (1990), “Go” (1991), “Drop a Beat” (1992) and “Next Is the E” (1992) – before releasing his debut album, MOBY, in 1992. His next album, AMBIENT (1993), helped to build his audience in the US and internationally. In 1995, his third album, EVERYTHING IS WRONG, charted in several European countries, but it still took several more years for him to break into the mainstream in his own country. When 1999’s PLAY broke big, it became the album that every electronic album was going to be compared to for years to come. And not just every Moby album – this was the high bar that modern electronic artists are still trying to reach. But with an album that big, how does an artist follow it up?
In 2002, Moby released 18, an album that both embraced everything that people loved about PLAY but also headed in different musical directions. While recording a carbon copy of PLAY may have been the best immediate commercial choice, Moby wisely took the basic foundation of his hit album and built something new and exciting on top of it. While the most popular song on the album may be “Extreme Ways,” which was used in several Bourne films, the rest of 18 takes you on melodic, engaging musical journeys that still sound fresh two decades later. With guest vocals by Angie Stone and MC Lyte (“Jam for the Ladies”), Sinead O’Connor (“Harbour”), Azure Ray (“Great Escape”), and others, the album is a smorgasbord of emotions and genres. Stringing it all together is the forward-thinking mind of Moby. While the album is two decades old, the electronic music industry is still trying to catch up with it. And now, 18 is finally available on double vinyl LP again. Time to experience it again. And again.
18 (Double vinyl LP pressing)