In trying to turn on its ear a genre that operates best when its artists paint themselves into tight corners with low ceilings, Moby found himself painted into an even tighter corner with an even lower ceiling. After he released Play a decade(!) ago, he could never go back to being the underground darling he once was. He'd been disowned by the cool kids, and the unwashed (though less Ecstasy-ridden) masses had him in their clutches—never mind that the album was an instant modern masterpiece. But the former Richard Melville Hall had an ace up his sleeve: Much of his early work had been a rich pastiche of genres couched in electronica to begin with. The albums were all different from one another, and in the end Moby cannily avoided making the move that has torpedoed countless others: Instead of trying to create what would surely have been an inferior and possibly career-damaging sequel, he continued to simply make music in his own particular manner, not caring about accolades (though he got them) or record sales (which are a weak judge of a good artist anyway). He simply continues to be Moby. What could be more freeing than that? With Kelli Scarr. All ages.
Thu., Oct. 1, 5:30 p.m., 2009

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