Moby on the cover of the NYTimes Mag,
March 18, 2002 7:16 AM   Subscribe

Moby on the cover of the NYTimes Mag, talking about music. Actually, the whole issue is "Future of music" related, and considers what will be valuable when the music itself becomes free. Very interesting stories. It's an NYT story, so l:metafilter, p:metafilter.
posted by rev- (35 comments total)
Sigh, Moby isn't at the forefront of music; he makes electronic music for commercials. His music is alright, but he's not pushing any boundaries or anything. Why do magazines always look to him as some sort of spokesman of a huge and varied electronic music field? Is it that he makes safe music that magazine editors and writers have already heard? What is it about him? Is Moby cool because he has a blog?
posted by panopticon at 8:07 AM on March 18, 2002

People think Moby is cool because they know absolutely nothing about electronic music and don't know that he's just doing a composite of what many cutting edge artists have done before him... That being said he does it particularly well, and does come up with some original stuff. And he was a pretty awesome DJ back in the early nineties.
posted by statusquo at 8:14 AM on March 18, 2002

The Charles Mingus article by his wife Sue is very good.
posted by bob bisquick at 8:15 AM on March 18, 2002

Arguably, Moby's thoughts, which affect millions of people, are more newsworthy than those of any obscure, well-reviewed electronic artist you'd care to name.

Mostly, though, magazines look to him because people know who he is.
posted by lbergstr at 8:23 AM on March 18, 2002

I am so glad someone said that. IMO, Moby is a tool. One of the most annoying releases in years. Electronic music for my grandmother. If I see his face or hear his voice or music one more time I think I am going to puke. Apparantly Play is now the most licensed record ever so we are going to be tortured with this crap for years.
posted by anathema at 8:30 AM on March 18, 2002

When I first heard Moby's self-titled album, I really liked it. Sure, it was rave-up style early techno, but it was pretty interesting, and his "Move" EP was pretty nice along with his "Everything Is Wrong" album. I even liked a good chunk of his fairly widely panned "Animal Rights" disc. "Play" was even decent before the saturation set it, but at one point it became nearly impossible for me (someone who avoids nearly all major media) to escape it, and I honestly don't think I've listened to it since. As statusquo says above, he does things very well, but as this article states, it seems that he's now obsessed with writing hits and that's about it. He's gone from being a punk (in his first band the Vatican Commandoes) to shilling for just about anything and everyone. I'm all for him making a buck so he can continue doing what he loves, but ugh, I don't want him to be the first word on all music electronic.
posted by almostcool at 8:32 AM on March 18, 2002

Also, check the cheesy Breeders article. (Kelley looks like she's put on some serious post-Heroin addiction pounds.)

Most fans seem to be a little hesitant about the re-forming of this band, but I'll be excited to hear their new album.
posted by Pinwheel at 8:32 AM on March 18, 2002

Putting Moby on the same page as Mingus is a crime.
posted by anathema at 8:34 AM on March 18, 2002

Boy, NYT locked off metafilter/metafilter quickly...

'Play' is starting to get overPlayed, but it was good before you heard everybody and their mother playing it.

I think that Techo might turn out to be the new classical. It's got enough tonal variations and complexities to be true art, and no two performances can turn out exactly the same, unlike a Britney concert.

Moby in particular is helping to bring techno to large crowds of people. I still remember a concert I was photographing at two summers ago... When Moby came on at sunset, 50,000 heavy metal rockers that had been moshing to Deftones just a few minutes before became totally and absolutely silent as Moby's music echoed across the stadium. That kind of power is what got me started listening to techno... and I did quickly develop much better taste.
posted by SpecialK at 8:39 AM on March 18, 2002

Moby in particular is helping to bring techno to large crowds of people

wrong. moby is to techno what those god-awful pan-pipe moods cds are to traditional andean culture. and what macdonalds' burgers are to thinly sliced mishima beef.
a cynically processed convenience product for people who don't really care either way.
posted by nylon at 8:50 AM on March 18, 2002

I hate Moby as much as the next guy, but I do wish the posters here would actually bother to read the article.

It's made fairly clear that the reason for the article is not because he's at the cutting edge - far from it - but because he's sold 9 million albums through promotional methods which prior to "Play" would have been considered fairly unconventional. One point being that he's signed to a major, but it wasn't his label that did all those licensing deals.

Anyway, good link. Thanks.
posted by pascal at 8:51 AM on March 18, 2002

The Breeders interview is hilarious. I love them, but jesus, what a couple of freaks! That was the most entertaining and irrelevant thing I've read in the NYT since before 9/11.
posted by luriete at 8:52 AM on March 18, 2002

it's too bad that people rail about techno and don't really understand what it is.

this article does a pretty good job describing techno; the style of music in moby's album, Play, doesn't really fit the genre well. moby's style on that album was somewhat mixed, though certainly downtempo. his earlier work was much more clearly techno, particularly in songs like Go and Next is the E. i thought Play was a good album, though not a great one.
posted by moz at 9:21 AM on March 18, 2002

Pew, the hipness in here is suffocating.
posted by rodii at 9:34 AM on March 18, 2002

They're all just bitter, rodii.
Enya is the true dope shit.
posted by dong_resin at 9:53 AM on March 18, 2002

i am officially announcing that the future of music is melodic glitch and will entirely consist of the output of one man: Jimmy Tamborello, aka Dntel.

Also, fishcerspooner ain't bad either, *and* they were featured in sleaze nation, a definite plus, yes, but unfortunately they're flogging the electro resurgence, which, well, reeked of hipness two years ago but is now rather obvious.

that is all.
posted by fishfucker at 10:15 AM on March 18, 2002

See, now I'm suddenly a Moby fan. I think this article has a bit of a tone of "This guy does this all by himself with tools anyone can use - and it's still art". I remember when I first heard "Run On", I recognized it from the Lomax recordings and was stunned by the synchronicity - I had been sampling some bluegrass recordings from the Library of Congress while I learned how to use my mixing software. In course of that, I found the Lomax recordings and played with some of those as well.

Now, today, I visit and actually read some of his updates. His birthday's the same day as mine. He too forgot to change his dial-up number for Earthlink, and thought his computer was messed up. I think this is what the article was targeting - his almost "everyman" image. He used unusual (but obvious) routes for getting his record out there. He makes music out of other music. He is eminently accessible as an artist, while maintaining his "loner" persona. It's interesting.
posted by annathea at 10:32 AM on March 18, 2002

moby is complete shite.

check out the venetian snares, the previously mentioned dntel, bogdan raczynski, boards of canada etc etc.

real electronic music vs commerical music.
posted by Satapher at 10:44 AM on March 18, 2002

Venetian Snares is insane. I just got Doll Doll Doll and listened to it for the first time at 5am after a night at the local industrial club...

...never ever do this if you want to maintain any semblance of sanity.

"All The Children Are Dead" is one of the scariest songs I've ever heard. Period.

(clever mangling of Art Bell Show samples too! I'm not the only one who does this! yay!)

For electronic music beyond Moby, Aphex Twin, and the other 'big names' I recommend:

VNV Nation - like trance but a bit darker and with honest-to-goodness real lyrics (and damn good ones at that)
Haujobb - tweaky, challenging, and poppy all at once. Daniel Myer is one of my heroes.
Halou - somewhere at the crossroads of drum and bass, trip hop, and the Cocteau Twins. Gorgeous.
Synapscape - noisy (like drill-press through distortion pedals noisy) techno with occasional dub influences.

Not trying to be hipper-than-thou, because I like some Moby and I love a lot of RDJ's stuff, but I hope some of you get something out of any of the abovementioned bands.

(I also second the Boards Of Canada recommendation.)
posted by sigma7 at 11:08 AM on March 18, 2002

I encourage you all to read interviews of Richard D. James. You will be left very entertained.

"Q: What, by your definition is a boring album?
A: Drukqs by Eric Satie"

Nobody knows what the future of music will be, but ol' Richard will still be there, grinning and putting sandpaper to stylus and driving around Cornwall in his tank. He's so *dreamy*.
posted by Settle at 11:18 AM on March 18, 2002

thought i'd briefly point you venetian snares fans to isolate records, if you're not already familar with the label that first released venetian (and has his first album -- and also is run by an all-around nice guy.) If you like venetian, I highly recommend the Minion 7" release, which just came out and is f'n awesome.
posted by fishfucker at 11:23 AM on March 18, 2002

er. i'm now thinking i should have a disclaimer: said labelhead of isolate is a personal friend of mine, so it's a semi self-link/plug. sorry if it's irksome.
posted by fishfucker at 11:55 AM on March 18, 2002

what on earth would you cool kids do if Moby wasn't around for you to piss on? This is one of those MetaFilter threads where, having seen the original posting, one could pretty much compose the ensuing thread in one's own head without ever having to bother to click through. Pretentiousness makes me want to have a nap.

On the other hand, much love to those of you who had something more substantial to say than I'm Cooler Than Everyone Here Except For That Annoying Habit Of Hovering Over MeFi Waiting For A Chance To Prove It... sigma, your description of Halou sounds delicious, so thanks for posting that.
posted by Sapphireblue at 12:31 PM on March 18, 2002

real electronic music vs commerical music.


What bullshit. This kind of elitist/poseur mentality is present in every genre of art. The idea that music becomes inauthentic because it's popular is so tired. I remember years ago when the technogeeks were abandoning inauthentic (too popular) Nine Inch Nails for authentic (underground) Moby.
posted by Ty Webb at 12:37 PM on March 18, 2002

Also of interest in the nyt magazine this week: an article about Simon Bikindi, who's going to trial for inciting genocide with his folk songs in Rwanda.
posted by panopticon at 12:40 PM on March 18, 2002

What about us poor pathetic unhip middle-aged losers who only know electronica through mitsubishi commercials? Someone gimme a list of the first five albums I should listen to.
posted by mecran01 at 1:07 PM on March 18, 2002

Speaking of pop-glitch, the new Notwist album (Neon Golden) is pretty good. Unfortunately, after repeated listens, I tend to ultimately find almost all of that stuff (Dntel included), pretty flat.
posted by Marquis at 1:11 PM on March 18, 2002

Sapphireblue: Here's Halou's website if you don't have it already. They're on Nettwerk these days. I have't heard their new album, only We Only Love You but it's beautiful. I've heard a ton of good things about the new album though.
posted by sigma7 at 1:45 PM on March 18, 2002

Someone gimme a list of the first five albums I should listen to.

I suggest Amon Tobin's Supermodified and Talvin Singh's OK. Also, Ninja Tune's Xen Cuts is a great 3 cd compilation of some of the label's stuff from over the years.
posted by Ty Webb at 2:17 PM on March 18, 2002

What about us poor pathetic unhip middle-aged losers who only know electronica through mitsubishi commercials? Someone gimme a list of the first five albums I should listen to.

a good place to start might be with the albums and artists listed in Grooves magazine IDM 2001 Year End Poll. Of course, these are all from last year, and electronic music tends to be pretty vital -- artists tend to revisit their sound from album to album. (Autechre is a pretty good example of this.) but it's a good start. there's also a small archive of web reviews there, and i'd also recommend picking up the magazine itself, which is really pretty good (except for it's gear reviews, grrr).

i'd make more assertions about the state of IDM/experimental/fuckall music but i don't spend an excessive amount of time trainspotting or well, reading the mailing lists, or all that and whatnot, and so i'm rather likely to be yelled at by a miffed nitpicker: "What? That's not glitchcore brokenbeat! That's coreglitch beatbroken!" also i'm just not that damn knowledgable, although occasionally i like to fake it. i will say this: it's got a nice beat, and you can dance to it.
posted by fishfucker at 2:29 PM on March 18, 2002

Someone gimme a list of the first five albums I should listen to

this is more techno / house than idm / electronica, but:

5 artists - 5 albums / 5 mix cds

Derrick May - Innovator / Mix-up vol 5 (aka Mayday mix)
Jeff Mills - The Other Day / Mix-up vol 2 (aka Liquid rooms)
Surgeon - Force and Form / Counterbalance Collection
Green Velvet (aka Cajmere) - Green Velvet / Techno Funk
Richie Hawtin (aka Plastikman) - Sheet One / Decks, EFX & 909
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:44 PM on March 18, 2002

Aargh! The server ate my post. Oh well, take two.

Here's my sugeestion for a couple:
Warp Records - Routine
- compilation with Autechre, Boards of Canada, lots of other 'popular' IDM style artists
Ninja Tune Records - Xen Cuts
- great comp, more hiphop influenced
Thievery Corporation - Mirror Conspiracy
- not really electronica, but again a great intro into downtempo/acid-jazz

I also really like Tobin's IDM/jazz and Singh's tabla-infused electronica, mentioned above.
posted by sauril at 2:49 PM on March 18, 2002

I second The Notwist, which is only electronica to the degree that Console adds noises to the sounds of a three-piece band, but the results are enthralling, at least for a few listens. Even the reknowed Die Zeit likes them.

For laid-back mellowness, may I suggest the Gotan Project's "Revancha del Tango," which pleasantly combines classic tangos with beats. Air's "Moon Safari" is also nice in a background sort of way.

There's also a thriving sub-sub-culture of live techno jam bands, including Sound Tribe Sector 9, Disco Biscuits, Lake Trout, DJ Logic, and the New Deal.

Caveat: I have no idea if any of this stuff constitutes hip. Just thought I'd contribute some names worth plugging into Grokster.
posted by muckster at 4:43 PM on March 18, 2002

i like "telefon tel aviv" lots.
kinda pop-idm.
posted by juv3nal at 8:23 PM on March 18, 2002

Console's great stuff. A friend of mine played me 14 Zero Zero and I've been hooked ever since.
posted by sigma7 at 8:20 AM on March 19, 2002

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