18 tracks The great iconoclast of techno returns with a smooth, sacred, and exhilarating record. Play's concoction of breakbeat rhythms, ambient mixology, and inspired blues and gospel samples cry out across musical genres and histories, imparting a time-tested wisdom to beat-driven ears. Moby's devout faith--in both God and his own musical whims--give this approach a sort of legitimacy that another, less sincere artist would never have. That sincerity reverberates through the beats and instrumental eclecticism like a pulse. The soulful refrains and proclamations in "Find My Baby" and "Natural Blues" somehow nestle between straight-up dance-floor rave-ups ("Bodyrock") and melt-in-your-mouth ambience ("Inside") with an effortless grace. Moby reaches across his turntables and finds something pure--almost organic. In fact, the album feels more natural than techno is ever supposed to feel, more spiritual than what DJs are supposed to be able to muster, and more alive than it has any right to be. --Matthew Cooke
Big Willie Style is the debut solo studio album by American rapper Will Smith. Recorded with a range of producers, including Poke & Tone and former collaborator DJ Jazzy Jeff, it was released on November 25, 1997 by Columbia Records. The album reached the top ten on both the US Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart, and was certified multi-platinum in a number of regions. "Men in Black", "Just Cruisin'", "Gettin' Jiggy wit It", "Just the Two of Us" and "Miami" were released as singles.
2001 debut full length for dance act described as, 'the British Air', the follow-up to two limited, critically acclaimed EPs. Highlights include the awesome African influenced instrumental passage 'Likufanele', the velvety 'I Have Seen' feat. Mozez & the quiet storm of 'Destiny' feat. Sia. Zero 7's ability to conjure beautiful lullabies with all the romance of 1960s French pop (as found on their debut LP, Simple Things) would have made them the toast of soundtrack composers and chill-out connoisseurs the world over. Unfortunately, two Frenchmen beat Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker to the title of "masters of comedown cool," leaving the London duo to be forever called "the British Air." And this is fair; the similarities between Zero 7's lush cinematic soundscapes and those of Air's Moon Safari and the Virgin Suicides score are so strong as to sound almost intentional. Nonetheless, their debut is a truly gorgeous album. It has all the tried and tested atmospheric tricks--bleeps and whooshes layered over plodding Fender Rhodes chords, swathes of strings and tender trumpet parps--but it's Binns and Hardaker's languid grooves and the soft melancholy of their melodies that make dream-state instrumentals "Give It Away" and "Polaris" utterly enchanting. The real power of Simple Things, however, is in its songs. As beautiful as the ambient strains are, when laid beneath the seductive vocals of Australian diva Sia on the ethereal "Destiny" or the heart-breaking "Distractions," their potency becomes apparent. --Dan Gennoe