Thursday, Feb. 3, 8 p.m.
Radio Radio, $5
Adam Dorn, the man behind Mocean Worker (pronounced "motion"), will stand on Radio Radio's stage Thursday night with only his Powerbook and sampler wired into the club's sound system. But don't call Dorn a DJ. He's coming here to perform. Adam Dorn of Mocean Worker
You may have heard some of Dorn's new Enter the Mowo! electronica album in the background of TV shows like Six Feet Under and The O.C. - the main form, along with film soundtracks, of big-time broadcasting available now for experimental instrumental music. It's too bad more people aren't exposed to stuff like this on the radio or that former music television station, MTV.
Dorn's album is a rich mixture of acid jazz (see Us3) and ambient tracks similar to the work of Play-era Moby or Brian Eno's tunes with a beat. This is jazz you can dance to, electronica with resonance, with history, with heart.
Blending the dance and jazz genres is nothing new. But Dorn, an experienced pop bassist whose father is a legendary jazz producer, knows the work he samples. When he mixes in sax from "Flathead" Newman, flute from Rahsaan Roland Kirk, guitar from Bill Frisell or vocals from Nina Simone, he does so with full appreciation of the source material. His remake of Simone's "Blackbird" proves the most haunting and powerful on the album. Dorn gives vocals from a children's choir the same gentle treatment in a decidedly jazz-free, chill-out song, "Collection II," late in the album.
Dorn doesn't play the songs on his album with instruments - just as he won't have a band with him at Radio Radio. Instead, he's the conductor of any music he wants - past or present, jazz or rock - serving as his orchestra.