KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic To Stream Moby’s Candid Interview & Hypnotic Music April 12th PREVIEW: KCRW'S APOGEE SESSION FEATURING MOBY
SANTA MONICA, CA- When I heard about Moby’s performance for KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic,” I jumped at the chance to see him in such an intimate setting. Sure, it’s obvious that the sound will be better in a studio the size of your living room, but you can’t imagine just how much better. This was a huge break from my own personal quest to find the worst concert seating in LA — the last row at Staples Center this was not.
KCRW’s Jason Bentley hosted the evening and interviewed Moby during the intermission of the performance, which included an even mix of songs from the new album as well as a selection of greatest hits. While the evening was clearly a promotion of the new music from “Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt,” the setlist effectively intermingled old hits and new tracks in a way that kept fans happy and energy levels high.
KCRW records these sessions at Bob Clearmountain’s Apogee Studios with Clearmountain himself mixing the sound live, producing a rich warmth that washes over you like you’re inside the record. Of course, the luxurious sound had a cost — the show lacked the gorgeous, saturated, trance-inducing lighting of his full concerts. It was, to paraphrase, a lighting design for radio.
Moby’s album “Play” was the soundtrack of my entire year in 2000. Actually, I’m pretty sure it was playing in the background of pretty much everyone’s 2000. I knew I’d be happy as soon as I saw several titles from the album on the setlist, but I was less sure about the new songs. In an age when Moby has become known almost more for his activism than his music, how would that reflect in the album?
The interview and commentary reflected this diversion of his energies. He touched on all the points you would expect — from his memoir “Porcelain” to rehab to politics to vegan activism. He seemed at his most passionate when discussing Little Pine restaurant and his unending renovations in his search for the perfect home. This was the rare concert that makes you hungry for vegan food and leaves you wondering if you should move.
And yet, he was far from the sanctimonious caricature his tweets might lead you to expect. Moby was, dare I say… funny. Yes, funny. Not in a guffawing, belly-laugh sense but with a charming wit. Even as I write this, I still can’t quite believe it. The guy who posts endless photos of cows and cute baby farm animals juxtaposed with messages about how meat is murder? He made me laugh and smile in a way I could not have remotely anticipated.
Moby filled the evening with self-deprecating humor and a series of quips that he strung together throughout the performance, rolling through a technical glitch and mesmerizing his audience. He poked fun at himself as he told stories about how he really just wants to stay near home now that he’s a sober, middle-aged guy who would love to be playing Kool and the Gang songs in a wedding band. That commentary that comes off online as smug? In real life, it projects as earnest and intense and intelligent.
Overall, the new music is hypnotic and quite simply pretty. The tracks he played lacked the catchy trippiness of his biggest hits but drew in the audience — flowing through us in waves of rich sound. It felt like lovely background music, and the interview left me thinking he was fine with that. His discussions of commercial radio vs. KCRW expressed an affection for the non-commercial approach. He knows this music isn’t test marketed or focus grouped or designed for maximum sales. Would I purchase another Moby concert ticket? In a heartbeat. As for the new music, the jury is still out. But I’m definitely buying the book.
KCRW’s Apogee Sessions with Moby will broadcast and stream on Morning Becomes Eclectic April 12th, 2018. You can watch the session at https://www.kcrw.com/music/apogeestudio.
Moby’s “Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt” is available to purchase and 100% of all the profits generates from the album will go to animal rights organizations.
Snarky Music/Concert Reviewer Who Likes Her Music Circa the 70s and 80s. Unironically. Gotta love it.