Album Release: Moby – The EastWest Sessions
Moby does not enjoy touring. So it came as a surprise in late 2017 when he announced a handful of intimate live performances to take place on the East and West Coasts of the United States in March of 2018. The “tour” amounted to five shows – three at The Echo in Los Angeles and two at Rough Trade in Brooklyn – and was intended to re-imagine his latest studio album, Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt, in the live environment.
Explaining his desire to rework the album in a live setting, Moby says, “The album doesn’t really have any guitars on it and the drums are almost all programmed or sampled. When we added live drums and distorted live guitars, it took on a My Bloody Valentine sonic quality. I was surprised at how these delicate, melodic songs on the record sounded when they were played very loud with this wall of sound. The Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, for me at least, introduced the idea that distortion could be beautiful. Working on the live versions of these songs I was inspired by that idea.”
Immediately upon returning to his home in Los Angeles after the live dates, Moby and his band holed up in Hollywood’s celebrated EastWest Studios to re-record the album with live drums and guitars. Reflecting on recording in the studios that produced a number of Frank Sinatra hits, The Beach Boys’ seminal album Pet Sounds, and The Mamas and The Papas’ iconic ‘California Dreamin” Moby says, “I felt like I was on hallowed ground. I wondered, ‘So people actually work here? This isn’t a museum? People don’t come inside and stand in reverence?’ When you go into the space, there’s a hushed warmth to it. It felt odd making such a loud record in a space where Brian Wilson made ‘God Only Knows’. It worked, but I felt a little bit like we were recording in a church.”
The result of the band’s short stay at EastWest is Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt (The EastWest Sessions), an apt – yet unintentional – title given the initial tour’s bi-coastal nature. On this record, the aforementioned delicate melodies of songs such as ‘Falling Rain and Light’, ‘The Ceremony of Innocence’, and ‘The Tired And The Hurt’ explode with a level of shoegaze splendor unheard on the previously released studio recordings. ‘Like A Motherless Child’ struts forth with the added swagger of ferocious guitar riffs while ‘Mere Anarchy’ somehow ratchets up the intensity from the original album. The first single ‘The Sorrow Tree’ reinvigorates the melancholy of the original, beautifully depicted in the Rob Bralver-directed video.
Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt (The EastWest Sessions) showcases the sheer power harnessed within even Moby’s most seemingly-subdued melodies. He has once again proven his ability to reimagine, reconstruct and reinvent in his ceaseless quest to inspire via the majesty of sound.
Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt (The EastWest Sessions) is out now through Pod / Inertia Music.
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