By David Browne
Updated June 11, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

Portions of this techno imp’s best album since 1995’s Everything Is Wrong are built on a simple premise: setting snippets from old blues and gospel recordings to new rhythmic (not always electronic) settings. What could’ve been a condescending gimmick yields some of the year’s most haunting, and haunted, music. Moby’s elegant soundscapes wipe away the mustiness on these decades-old voices and make the singers’ heartache and hope seem fresh again. Although in need of a bit of pruning (notable exception: the gorgeous ”Porcelain,” featuring Moby’s own plaintive vocal), Play is music that truly moves back to the future. A-