Nic Harcourt’s Best New Music: Moby, “Natural Blues” (Reprise Version)

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It’s Friday, which means it’s time for Spark’s music expert and legendary L.A. radio DJ Nic Harcourt to weigh in on what new music he’s got on repeat at the moment. Below, he shares his newest picks added to his Spark Radio playlist and shares a spotlight on his favorite earworm of the week.

New to Spark Radio:
Beau: You’re No Fair
Joan Armatrading: Already There
Paula Fuga: If Ever (with Jack Johnson & Ben Harper)
Sturgill Simpson: Paradise
Teenage Fanclub: In Our Dreams
Cuco: Forever More
Joywave: Every Window Is A Mirror
Flight Facilities: Light’s Up (feat. Channel Tres)
Switchfoot: I need you (to be wrong)

Spotlight: Moby: Natural Blues – Reprise version feat. Gregory Porter & Amethyst Kiah

In 2016 when Moby wrote the first volume of his memoirs, Porcelain, he crafted an often entertaining, sometimes dark look at his childhood, the early days of his career (bleak and squalid), and then, his unexpected stardom, riches, and excess. He writes with a directness and makes clear his passion for his music and doesn’t sugar-coat his drug addiction and alcoholism. 

Around the same time Moby was becoming very active on Instagram, often posting several times a day about the things that are important to him, including veganism, climate change, and forthright political commentary. He was very visible, using his platform to lobby Congress on animal rights issues, and performing pretty much exclusively benefit shows .(He did one that I curated for Friends of The LA River). He also self-released three albums and prepped volume two of his memoirs Then It Fell Apart. The book which continued where Porcelain, left off, delved into his “lost decade” name-checking a lot of people, it’s remarkable really how much mischief he got up to and didn’t die. Unfortunately, one of those people was a young Natalie Portman who he had a crush on and hung out with a few times. His recollection was that that they had flirted and that he had “tried to be Natalie’s boyfriend”. Portman in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar said “my recollection is a much older man being creepy with me when I had just graduated high school”. Yikes. Moby ended up canceling the book tour, made a public apology to Portman, got off Instagram, laid low, and made a bunch more music. 

Since 2018, Moby has self-released another three albums of mostly ambient music and his next release will be Reprise, a collection of 14 orchestral and acoustic arrangements due May 28 on Deutsche Grammaphon. The idea came about after he had performed a concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2018. He told me the concept was “to enhance or expand on the emotional quality of the original songs.” The tracklisting includes favorites like “Porcelain” (feat. Jim James), “Extreme Ways”, “We Are All Made Of Stars” “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad” ( feat. Apollo Jane and Deitrick Haddon), and “Natural Blues” (feat. Gregory Porter and Amythyst Kiah) which is new on my playlist this week. I asked Moby about the new version and how he was able to record during the pandemic. “We recorded the gospel choir and the string quartet here in Los Angeles and the orchestra was recorded in Hungary. Gregory Porter recorded his vocals in New York and Amythyst Kiah did hers in Tennessee.” I also asked him if he would write another book: “Probably not a memoir”, he said. Maybe a novel? “That might be fun.”

It’s good to see Moby back on Instagram (he’s worth following for the cute animal videos alone) and it’s good to hear him creating as a sober man. He just celebrated 10 years of sobriety. 

Check out the video directed by Moby + Rob Bralver below.

Meet The Scientists,
The Artists,
Community Leaders,
The Chefs,
The Educators,
The Investors
and The Innovators
Who are Spark.

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Meet The Scientists, The Artists, Community Leaders, The Chefs, The Educators, The Investors and The Innovators Who are Spark.