From Barry Gibb to k.d. lang, bored stars have been busily giving their classic songs a DIY SOS-style overhaul. Moby’s Reprise is very much at the Grand Designs end of the musical makeover market. He’s taken the best of his rave hits and anthems, and re-imagined them with impressive guest stars, including Gregory Porter, Kris Kristofferson and the Budapest Art Orchestra.
Porter sings the new version of Natural Blues, along with brilliant Amythyst Kiah from Our Native Daughters. Oh Lordy, should they mess with perfection?
Absolutely. The vocals are bigger, the production fuller, and the result is spine-tingling and effective.
Moby’s new take on 1991’s Go is similarly impressive. It’s more percussive and urgent than the original, which was cleverly constructed around the unsettling signature chords from David Lynch’s TV masterpiece Twin Peaks.
Mindy Jones’s version of Heroes is achingly beautiful. The original, written by David Bowie and Brian Eno, was a huge influence on Moby, aka Richard Melville Hall.
He is descended from Moby Dick author Herman Melville, hence the stage name. The Harlem-born New Yorker started out as “a rigid punk rock Marxist” before evolving into a rave crossover guru and “rigid vegan dance music Christian”.
Moby’s 1999 album Play went platinum in 17 countries. The music always mattered more than the fame, however, and its point, he reminds us, is to communicate emotion – which he does on his soulful reboot of 2000’s Porcelain, featuring My Morning Jacket singer Jim James.
Other highlights include Kristofferson joining Mark Lanegan on The Lonely Night.
Modest Moby once referred to his pop star status as “a clerical error”. Reprise proves him gloriously wrong.