Cinco de Mowo!
Leave it to a drum and bass practitioner to present Herb Alpert in a context that makes him sound more like a jazz musician than almost anything in his catalog. Yet there he is on “Changes,” blowing some blue lines over a chopped-up bossa nova in between multiple saxophone melodies. Then again, this should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Mocean Worker, the nomme de plume of Adam Dorn. The son of eccentric jazz producer Joel Dorn, he has absorbed Pop’s musical history and recontextualizes it for the DJ crowd. In the past he’s been just as likely to work with U2’s Bono as saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman.
The fifth release under the Mocean Worker banner finds Dorn creating tight grooves that sample riffs from unidentified big bands, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Marcus Miller. In a way, he makes modern music based on simple lines in the same way swing bands once did. But almost every track makes its melodic point in the first 30 seconds, with one or two samples repeating alternately for four minutes, on average. A few tracks break the mold, like “Changes” or the ones with live vocals. But this is better suited to the club crowd which, despite what anyone thinks, won’t pick up Rip, Rig and Panic after hearing a four-second loop of Kirk’s flute.