Moby & The Void Pacific Choir ‘These Systems Are Failing’ Review: techno pioneer revisits the aggressive sonic approach of underrated 1996 album Animal Rights.
Earlier this year, Moby released Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep, a dreamy effort (offered as a free download) which saw a return to his ambient electronic roots that begin as far as back as 1993’s Ambient.
And now the electronic stalwart returns with These Systems Are Failing, which proves the yin to Long Ambients yang: it’s his most aggressive sonic effort since 1996’s underrated Animal Rights, which saw the musician flirting with punk, industrial and thrash metal.
Systems is still more accessible than Rights, in that its dance-floor ready, kicking off with the Gary Numan-esque Hey! Hey,! which merges an insistent squiggling synth-line riff with a whip-crack beat and chugging guitars.
Break. Doubt comes off like a more aggressive New Order tune with a relentless krautrock groove and squelching guitar riff, topped off with chain-gang vocals that punch through the mix.
Indeed, These Systems is credited as an release by Moby & The Void Pacific Choir, with each track featuring stacked, multi-tracked vocals–all of which sound like Moby himself. But the moniker helps to establish a new aesthetic, a protest album that’s fueled by Moby’s anti-Donald Trump fervor as well as his continued crusade against global warming and the meat industry.
I Wait For You is a chill inducing industrial chugger, while the pulsating Don’t Leave Me expresses frustration and defiance with its barked chorus: My life’s not for me/It’s all I can see/Don’t leave me alone.
Perhaps the most distinctive track is the uplifting, New Wave stunner Are You Lost In The World Like Me? But its glimmering, euphoric soundscapes provides stark contrast to misanthropic lyrics (accompanied by a haunting video directed by Steve Cutts) showing our co-dependance on modern technology:
All brokenness comes from separation,
We’re destroying the world, and we’re still miserable.
Fat, sick, stupid and anxious are no ways to live.
These systems are failing.
Let them fail.
Change or die.
At 9 tracks, These Systems Are Failing is short and sweet, resulting in one of Moby’s most invigorating and affecting albums in years, and a marked improvement from 2013’s ho-hum Innocents. It’s unfortunate that he’s choosing not to tour, because these anthems would sound devastating live.
Systems’ urgent and anxious din fits the truly stressful and overwhelming 2016 election coverage that’s wreaked havoc on the social media landscape.
Moby may not offer any easy answers, but his latest album certainly provides solace, with some songs to scream along to while gazing into the void.
Buy Moby’s These Systems Are Failing on Amazon.