Moby makes techno 'Move' Travis sings best of the West

September 10, 1993|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Pop Music Critic

MOVE

Moby (Elektra 61568)

AMBIENT

Moby (Instinct 253)

It's no wonder that Moby has emerged as the first true star of techno music. Not only does he have the right combination of skills, being a keyboardist, composer and producer, but he's also blessed with sufficient range to make what he does as listenable as it is danceable. "Move," for example, spans almost the whole techno spectrum in six songs, offering pop exuberance in "Move (You Make Me Feel So Good)," a trance-inducing pulse in the percussive "Morning Dove," retro thrills in "Move (Disco Threat)," and hardcore intensity "All That I Need Is to Be Loved." Moby's reflective side is also evident in a tune called "Unloved Symphony" (a variation on "All That I Need . . ."), but that's just a quick taste compared to the sound of "Ambient," a gently hypnotic album of atmospheric keyboards

and quietly percolating percussion.

WIND IN THE WEST

Randy Travis (Warner Bros. 45319)

Everybody knows that Randy Travis is a great country singer, but "Wind in the West" proves he's even better at Western -- that is, at cowboy music. Recorded in conjunction with an TV special, "Wind in the West" is a straight-shootin' collection of trail songs and cowboy ballads, ranging from Western swing numbers like "Cowboy Boogie" to such dust-covered standards as "The Old Chisholm Trail." And though the instrumentation is strictly traditional -- fiddle, dobro, harmonica, acoustic guitar -- what really sells the listener is the singing, for Travis' tart, laconic delivery is as suited to the nostalgic fatalism of "Memories of Old Santa Fe" as it is to the low-key verve of "Roamin' Wyomin.' "

KEROSENE HAT

Cracker (Virgin 39012)

One thing people forget about the seriously weird is that they're often as serious as they are weird. Take David Lowery's band, Cracker. Even though the lyrical content on the band's second album, "Kerosene Hat," is just as warped as on its first (sample couplet from "Low": "Hey, don't you wanna go down/ Like some junkie cosmonaut?"), there's little of the nudge-wink sarcasm that undercut the weirdness in Lowery's last band, Camper Van Beethoven. Instead, he and his fellow Crackers dig deep into the music, keeping any trace of irony out of Southern-fried groove in "Get Off This" or "Sweet Potato," and offering a heartfelt "Lonesome Johnny Blues." As a result, the album is not only more consistent than its predecessor, but more convincing as well.

YOU EEDIOT!

Ren & Stimpy (Nickelodeon/Sony Wonder/Epic 57400)

These days, the kid-vid market is divided into two camps. On one side stands Barney, the sweet-tempered dinosaur whose new album is full of songs about loving your friends and picking up after yourself; on the other side squats Ren & Stimpy, whose equally new album is packed with stuff about boogers and morons. So it's no wonder four out of five third-graders prefer Ren & Stimpy's "You Eediot!" It isn't just that mom and pop are likely to hate tunes like "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" or "Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen"; they'll probably go nuclear over the tasteless wit of "Nose Goblins" and "Don't Whiz On the Electric Fence." Not to worry, though. At bottom, this is no worse than anything the Three Stooges did -- and a LOT more fun to sing along with."

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