• Avant Urbanism

    • In what would become one of his most beautiful projects, the electro-pop polymath makes an imaginary curatorial map of buildings and songs that go together perfectly.

    Moby, dancing with architecture / 

    Perhaps this is Moby’s most appealing project so far. Dancing About Architecture combines well-loved buildings perfectly accompanied by the musicalized illustrations of Adam Simpson, New Yorker, GQ and Wallpaper contributor. Moby goes over a list of his favourite buildings around the world; some of them are emblems from a specific period of his life, while others are simply peculiar. As if the architecture of his life (buildings that were ingrained in his memory) had a perfect soundtrack, Moby creates an imaginary audio-visual map: an endeavour that becomes a new way of narrating life. Simultaneously, Adam Simpson draws what Moby described, including his musical track, adding a mysterious figure that evidences the narrative range.

    1. La Grande Arche de la Défense in Paris and ‘Tal Coat’ by Brian Eno

    The structure feels like an old version of the future from the mid-1980s. It could not be more different to the old, beautiful and majestic Paris: strange and modern and architecturally challenging. The first time I went to the city was in 1987. I stumbled into a gallery with a Pierre Tal Coat exhibition, and then I saw that Brian Eno had named a song after him. This is a musical piece that could make perfect sense on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in the Grande Arche.

    2. Ennis House by Frank Lloyd White in Los Angeles and ‘Strings of Life’ by Derrick May

    This is the strangest house I have ever seen; it resembles an Aztec space ship. From the outside you can clearly see that it has windows, but you just have to ask yourself how anybody can live there. Modern architecture revolves around an absolute ornamentation with Bauhaus, but it only works against it. It has the same extra-terrestrial quality that I hear in the techno hymn by Derrick May, and on an aesthetic level one reminds me of the other.

    3. Mt. Wilson Observatory in Los Angeles and ‘Good Moving Over the Face of the Water’ by Moby

    This song was inspired by a vision I had about the world before this had living land masses. Imagine the vastness and the void and the strange feeling of potential. There is something about Mt. Wilson that has a similar quality, marvellous. Almost nobody climbs it and it has an open view that feels as if you were seeing the entire world.

    4. Kölner Domom, Colgne, and ‘Station to Station’ by David Bowie

    The first time I saw the Dom it had about 500 years of accumulated filth on it. It was the filthiest thing: this huge and stout cathedral in the middle of an expansion of smaller buildings. When I was in Germany I often had insomnia and I would wander around it all night, when junkies spend kill time there. In some way ‘Station to Station’, from my favourite Bowie album with the name, seemed like the perfect song to join it.

    5. Gateway Arch in St. Louis and ‘Decline of the West’ by the British Electronic Foundation

    Eero Saarinen is my favourite architect of the twentieth century and one of the most iconic things he has ever designed was the Gateway Arch, known as “The door to the West”. It almost seems like a strange aircraft that fell there, and we can only see the part that comes out of the Earth. And this is a beautiful and evocative musical piece from 1980 or 1981, an experimental period that made me the musician that I am today.

    Tagged: Moby, architecture, urbanism