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Aural & Hearty

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Album Review

After proving himself one of the more adept drum'n'bass producers on his first two sets, Adam Dorn branched out his Mocean Worker project considerably for his third LP, Aural & Hearty. The results aren't completely disastrous — Dorn's production talents are as tight as usual — but the parade of genre workouts on this album makes it all a bit tiring (though it must've been a fun one to record). After a short intro, Aural & Hearty begins with a beyond played-out big beat redux named "Hey Baby" (guess what the predominant vocal sample turns out to be), and the track's only partially redeemed by Dorn's production finesse and the guest scratching of Roc Raida (from the X-Ecutioners). The song with the highest expectations coming in, a Bono collaboration titled "Air Suspension," also turns out a distinct disappointment; Dorn frames Bono's tossed-off vocal with little more than a few bland acid-techno riffs and a vocal tag lifted straight from a Timbaland record. The rest of the genres Aural & Hearty soundchecks — easy-tempo groove on "Tres Tres Chic," Brazilian samba on the scratchy cut "Velvet Black Sky," filtered disco on "Astroglide," beatbox techno on "Step" — are pleasant enough, but quite clichéd coming on the heels of Dorn's inventive mastery of dark drum'n'bass and trip-hop on his previous material. "Intothinair" is one of the bare few highlights, a stab at paranoid tech-house with a devastating analog bassline and shimmering synth (Dorn apparently loved the bassline effect, considering he used it in two other tracks on the album).


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The ranks of jazzy drum'n'bass swelled considerably with the debut of Mocean Worker, the recording alias of eclectic producer Adam Dorn. Dorn's father, Joel, was one of the stalwart producers at Atlantic Records during the 1960s and '70s, helming sessions by Coltrane and Mingus as well as pop records like Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly," Bette Midler's debut album, and the Allman Brothers' Idlewild South. Adam, a bass player and vocalist, studied at Berklee College of Music and worked extensively...
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Aural & Hearty, Mocean Worker
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