With the release of his fifth album, the appropriately titled Cinco De Mowo!, Mocean Worker has not only settled into a comfortable and enjoyable artistic groove, but has done what so few artists these days seem to be interested in doing: sound original.
In the case of Mocean Worker, it's not the elemental sounds he uses that are original. In fact, the whole point of it is to not be that original. By taking a DJ's approach to big band swing and jazz music, the desire for a retro appeal is very much intentional. You've probably even heard some Mocean Worker tracks, as they have been enjoying placement in quite a few television spots lately. The sole mastermind behind Mocean Worker, Adam Dorn is getting back to mining a bunch of the music he grew up listening to and then painting it on to a more modern canvas.
Mocean Worker's earliest releases, both Home Movie from the Brain Forest and Mixed Emotional Features, were very different from his most recent offerings. Beginning as more a fan of Derrick May's Detroit techno, with a healthy dose of drum and bass thrown in, things began to take a stark turn with 2000's Aural & Hearty. Here Dorn first showed his interest of combining music from the past with more updated studio techniques. But sonically landing somewhere in between Moby's Play and something from Ursula 1000, it seemed more a proof of concept (or lots of concepts) than a solidified vision.
But Cinco De Mowo! works so well because of his previous album, 2004's Enter The Mowo! Not only does it contain another exclamation point, but it continues more tracks straddling the line between past and present.
You should probably settle in for listening to trumpet, saxophone, and the occasional flute soloing over a jazz orchestra and slightly mangled and funked-up break beats. The ride starts with "Shake Ya Boogie" and "Tickle It" which lay the blueprint for how the rest of the album will be built. With them you're never exactly sure where the samples end and the new skool picks up. But with guests like Herb Albert (on the nicely hip "Changes") and jazz flautist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, its probably safe to assume that you won't be able to mine out this groove any time soon. Highlights include the light-hearted muted trumpet of "Les and Eddie" as well as the nicely laid-back "Reykjavik."