Album: Voodoo Child

Baby Monkey, Mute
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The Independent Culture

"I'm sick of Moby!" ranted Iggy Pop on the recent Gimme Skelter compilation, a sentiment presumably shared by the diminutive techno-vegan himself, given his decision to release this latest album under the pseudonym Voodoo Child. Baby Monkey is Moby's idea of a "straightforward, underground, electronic dance record" - prompted, he reveals in the typically humourless sleeve note, by a Glasgow rave he attended, where the music proved inspirational, "even though the abandoned railway tunnels were cold and damp (and smelly)". How deliciously gritty and working class, daahling! The opening "Gotta Be Loose in Your Mind" serves as a bridge from his usual style, with the soul-diva title-sample treated, repeated and punched along by driving synth bass. The rest of the album is fairly routine old-school acid house, lean techno grooves pumping along in functional, graceless manner. At its best, "Take It Home" is like a ham-fisted, less elegant second cousin to Kraftwerk's "Metropolis"; at its worst, it sounds tired and old. From the start, you realise Moby is not going to surprise you: none of the electronic tones is too ugly or abrasive, and everything builds with blinding obviousness. It's all too dutiful and deliberate, grim machine music lacking a ghost to animate it.