In October 1991 Moby baffled Top of the Pops with a performance of 'Go', a dance record - a techno dance record - and solo composition by Richard 'Moby' Hall, created on his computer at home in New York. During its almost lyric-less six minutes and 30 seconds of fast beats, atonal bleeps and melodic keyboard lines, you hear 'go' shouted 37 times, 'yeah' 23 times, and 'hold tight' (I think) seven times; these words have been recorded from various sound sources, manipulated, edited and spat out again by a digital sampler. The Top of the Pops director insisted that Moby should sing the words, even though there was no pretence that it was his voice on the record. Moby was as baffled as the TV audience. In clubs and discotheques - where demand for the record had sent it high into the charts - 'Go' sounds like a touch of genius, but on Top of the Pops it looked like music from a distant planet: no narrative, no real instruments, no band. The kind of music Moby was playing, and the method by which it was created, are both products of the striking technological progress pop music has made in the last decade. There could have been no 'Go' ten years ago.
LRB 23 September 1993 | PDF Download