Moby’s tenth album, Destroyed, is a mostly instrumental, abstract outing where R & B and synth noodlings come together to create sprawling techno soundscapes that sound like ambient music on steroids.
Created amidst a backdrop of constant touring and insomnia, the music reflects Moby’s mindset when he was alone in his hotel room feeling frazzled. There’s not much in the vocal department here, just a lot of electronica experimentation, making Destroyed a bold step. A number of songs, such as “Be the One,” are characterized by an off-putting Dalek, vacuum cleaner narrative. But “Be the One’s” robotic chant is also infectious (“I was the one when you needed love”) and the synthesizers undulate invitingly. (Think the Pet Shop Boys meets Klaatu’s “Little Neutrino.”)
Moby channels David Bowie during his Heroes period with “The Day.” His voice is slack, emotionless, and the synths gurgle, capturing the dread of night. Another highlight is “Stella Mars.” The synths take on a classical bent and there’s a high mass vocal that recalls the eerie Druid droning of the Dead Can Dance.
Moby’s dramatic use of synthesizers can make his compositions sound a bit like those of Japanese electronica pioneer Isao Tomita, or at their most self-indulgent moments, like the soundtrack to a Godzilla movie, but he has a knack for sampling and creating spacey atmospheres that will soothe anyone’s jangled nerves.