The College Music Journal holds a conference every year. More a rite of passage for budding music programmers than a gloat-fest of how many watts your station has. Feeding the machine hipster bands that start from nothing and tend to not go any further than the college music scene. There are some great college radio stations out there, mostly in the South and Midwest where there is nothing for the radio signals to bounce off of and broadcast for miles and miles. The conference also catered to the schools that had engineering and broadcasting majors. My school had neither.
We were a small school with a radio station that turned on in the morning and then turned off again at night. “WECW…with one watt for every finger you’ve got”. We blasted our favorite songs to the prison about 3 blocks away and on a good day; make it all the way to the Denny’s where one could pour over a bottomless cup of coffee on a student budget.
The radio station was run by a skeleton crew of 4 elected officers and about 30 – 40 jocks. Every year, and it still perplexes me to this day, 2 of the “officers’ would go to the CMJ conference in New York City. It perplexes me because the Deans and faculty that were oversaw the operating of the radio station thought that the station was bigger than it actually was. So letting 3 or 4 college kids loose in The Big Apple on their own for a 3-day conference wasn’t something that they would bat an eye at. Conferences are known for their swag, sometimes you go to one and you get a bag full of beer coasters and other times you get some nuggets of gold in the proverbial pile of shit.
Matt came back from the conference jacked up on some new artists to play on his radio show. Bands that we would never hear from again (thankfully in most cases). But there was one artist that had caught his ear and he would not stop talking about him…Moby. Everyday it was “Moby (this) and Moby (that)”. I can’t remember what I was listening to at the time, probably Dave Matthews Band Under The Table And Dreaming or Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, but nothing was going to change my playlist.
Then one day Matt said, “Give this disc a listen, if you don’t like it, I’ll never discuss Moby in front of you again.” He was that sure I would like it.
I let it sit in my backpack for a week and when my roommate was off on a bar crawl, I decided to give the album a listen. What I would find out is that what was described to me as a punk rock artist with a dance/techno edge couldn’t have been further from the truth. From the first listen to the first track I knew that there was something different about Moby. Transcend is a strong word, but I would have to say that upon hearing the first couple of hand strokes on the keyboard that my mind was reset. Almost a total reboot into “OK, I am intrigued, let’s see where this takes me”. And no, I wasn’t on drugs.
After the first track “Hymn”, I was in a mellow place as if the music had made my blood pressure drop…and then BOOM! “Feeling So Real” did just that (I swear I wasn’t on drugs). An up-tempo dance/techno number with synthesizers slaloming through swollen BPMs and piano vamps. I could go through the whole album, track by track as it was the only thing that I listened to for a good month. But that’s not what this is about.
The connection and the reason why I went out and bought my own copy (and subsequent releases) wasn’t the fact that Moby had used the inside of his CD cover to write about animal cruelty and the evil things that oil companies are doing. It was the fact that the album had made me look at music differently. It was an emotional album to listen to as I am sure it was to make. It had all the elements of a shitty compilation, yet it held together as a whole album in a way that other artists try to duplicate, but never succeeded at. Starting out with one of the mellowest tracks that would give the casual listener the wrong idea about what the whole album contains: danceable pop hits, punk, techno and new age music.
I hate to admit it, Matt was right.
|Feeling So Real||3:22|
|All That I Need To Be Is Loved||2:43|
|Let's Go Free||0:39|
|Everytime You Touch Me||3:42|
|Bring Back My Happiness||3:13|
|First Cool Hive||5:17|
|Into The Blue||5:34|
|Everything Is Wrong||1:15|
|God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters||7:22|
|When It's Cold I'd Like To Die||4:13|