Mocean Worker Aural and Hearty

With last year's Mixed Emotional Features, it was clear that Mocean Worker didn't do drum & bass by numbers - the album was darker, moodier and also more eccentric than most of the thoughtless club fodder cluttering the bins. But I doubt many people would have suspected Mocean Worker to reach the level of eccentricity of Aural and Hearty - one of the most whimsical house-oriented albums to emerge since house made its resurgence a few years back. Mocean Worker is Philadelphian Adam Dorn, a friend and collaborator of Hal Wilner - and the Wilner connection is pretty clear in Dorn's wholly promiscuous taste and what a lot of purists might consider a lack of discipline. Like Wilner's under-noticed Whoops, I'm An Indian of last year, Dorn is at least as influenced by Spike Jones's pioneering sort of plunderphonics from the 1940s and '50s and early TV comedians as he is by other turntablists and cut & paste composers. In fact, not only does the title Aural and Hearty allude to the sense of slapstick that inspires it, but Dorn also thanks Sid Caesar and Phil Silvers in the liner notes. Indeed, the album does have the improvised, seat-of-the-pants, borderline anarchic feel of live television variety/comedy shows. Not the sort of thing that's gonna satisfy anyone looking for a straight-up club mix, although Dorn does have the club savvy to dish up a couple of hard house grooves. But he evidently doesn't think too highly of the studied fabulousity of so much house, among other au courant dance genres, and continually takes the piss, mixing up the bubble-headed house of "Hey Baby" with the adult pop sampledelica of "Cha Cha Cha," which detours into highbrow silliness of the highest order. Dmitri From Paris has also trod this path, and a comparison between Mocean Worker and Dmitri is irresistible on bossa-cum-Parisian pop cuts like "Tres Tres Chic," although Dorn does keep things from veering into Dmitri's peculiar realm of self-parody. More for dancing inside your head and in your daydreams than on an actual dance floor. (Rykopalm)