The problem is when Moby begins paraphrasing David Lynch‘s speech about how creativity is too often judged by its commercial results, you begin to remind yourself of his own brushes with commercial outlets. This is, after all, an artist whose creative apex (Play) was pawned, track by track, to commercial interests.
It also seems like he’s saving face, an attempt to prepare us for another album with diminishing sales returns, just as every album he’s released since Play has done. This way, when the album fails to sell 100,000 copies, he can come right back and say “Well, I knew that would happen. Wait For Me is my intensely personal creative statement. A piece of work that wasn’t designed for mainstream appeal.”
Bullshit. Moby’s ego has been on display for years and it’s obvious that he cares what you and I think about him. And for all of his punk rock posturing, he has bought into a lifestyle that can’t be funded by selling a few thousand copies of product. Those kinds of sales figures can’t buy your way into hearing David Lynch speak at the BAFTA awards, let alone a plane ticket to get across the pond to begin with.
But beyond all of the hyperbole of Moby’s press release is the quiet and unassuming voice of Wait For Me. If he wants to attribute its origin to a David Lynch speech, then another way to view it positively is to remember that this small, bald man of self-righteous contradiction was, in fact, born out of a Twin Peaks sample for Moby’s first taste of stardom with 1991’s “Go.”
In a sense, it closely resembles the dark atmospheres of Lynch’s long-time musical collaborator, Angelo Badalamenti. Moments roll slowly by as Moby fiddles with reverb, minimal chord progression, and warm minor-key tones.
The album is sonically gorgeous; listeners will do themselves a favor by staying awake and studying the subtle intricacies found in Ken Thomas‘ mix. This is the man that’s provided the icy sheen on Sigur Ros and more recently M83. He’s found another winning collaboration with Moby and has established himself as one of electronica’s most creative producers.
Wait For Me is obviously intended to be taken as a whole, which will also not bode well for strong sales results; there are very few tracks on it that work independently enough to be considered for a single.
Those that could be actually picked for focal points may be the two weakest tracks on the album. “Study War” mirrors Play-era gospel and Sunday morning preaching. It’s credible enough, but its technique has become too much of reliable crutch for Moby to fall back on.
“Mistake” is just that: a half-hearted attempt at New Order with even weaker vocals than Bernard Sumner could muster. A misguided side step is yet another piece of evidence that Mr. Hall needs to distance himself from any urge to step in front of the mic during the recording process.
Aside from these two minor quips and apart from the baggage that precedes Wait For Me, it is exactly what he intended the album to be: an atmospheric long-player that’s unified in its moody approach and full of rich, beautiful textures. There’s very little that you’ll actively recall after its done, but there’s even less that will have you reaching for the “pause” or “stop” button while it’s playing. It may be true that Wait For Me is little more than a precursor to your nocturnal hibernation, there is something to be said how Moby can find such melodic beauty when he finally shuts up.
Video: Moby – “Shot In The Back Of The Head” (directed by David Lynch)
Video: Moby – “Pale Horses”