Moby Reworks Songs With Elton John, Beastie Boy Mike D

Techno guru continues genre hopping with new versions of Play tunes.

Moby, whose records have embraced styles from hard rock to dance

to roots and blues, is proving himself just as eclectic in finding

collaborators.

The techno guru has enlisted pop veteran Elton John and hip-hopper

Mike D of the Beastie Boys for new versions of songs from

Play, his critically acclaimed 1999 album.

Moby (born Richard Melville Hall) asked Mike D (born Mike Diamond) to

remix his current single, "Natural Blues" (RealAudio

excerpt), which was released in the U.S. on March 14. The single

also includes a remix by DJ Paul Oakenfold, working under the moniker

Perfecto, along with the radio and album versions of "Natural Blues" and

the unreleased song "Whispering Wind."

Mike D slows down the beat and sampled track of "Natural Blues" for a

groovy, tribal sound, while the Perfecto remix transforms the song into

an eight-minute trance workout.

"Mike D's is the most interesting one," Liquid Todd, an electronica DJ

at New York radio station K-Rock, said. "None of them are a home run,

though. I think the original is probably the best. The Oakenfold one ...

I expected it to be better. It's just by-the-numbers trance."

The original version of "Natural Blues" is in K-Rock's rotation. "It's

really odd," Liquid Todd (born Todd Wilkinson) said. "We play Metallica

and then 'Natural Blues.' "

Moby will soon re-record "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?"

(RealAudio

excerpt) — sung by the Shining Light Gospel Choir on

Play — with John on vocals, Moby's publicist, Sandy Sawotka, said.

The new version will be released as a single, with proceeds going to the

Elton John AIDS Foundation. No release date has been set.

The busy DJ is on the road with Brit-rock band Bush, on MTV's Campus

Invasion tour, which began March 23. The 27-date tour is scheduled to

end with three shows in California, concluding April 30 at California

State University in Fresno. (SonicNet's parent company, Viacom, also owns

MTV.)

He'll also be seen in a series of commercials for the Sci-Fi Channel.

"He plays a DJ in a scratching battle with what looks like an alien

spacecraft," Sawotka said.

Play, which found Moby moving back to dance music after 1997's

alternative-rock Animal Rights, spawned successful singles with

"Bodyrock" (RealAudio

excerpt) and "Honey." It was praised by critics for its innovative

sampling of vintage folk and blues field recordings, and was nominated

for Grammys in rock and alternative-music categories.