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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 DJs are supposed to be able to muster and more alive than it has any right to be. Check out the spellbinding compilation Natural Blues to hear the original source material from blues and spiritual singers such as Etta James, Vera Hall and BB King. —Matthew Cooke

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