Moby, whose records have embraced styles from hard rock to dance
to roots and blues, is proving himself just as eclectic in finding
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.