Relatively speaking, sampling is a recent art form, but within the fussy world of hip-hop it connotes an old-school sensibility, attracting less attention than it used to. Though Californian youngster Spencer Doran is an accomplished musician who can play a number of instruments, his recorded work is mostly sample-based: collage music for people with small attention spans but open minds. Though one could approach his album, “Puzzles,” as a collection of breakbeats that he couldn’t find a home for, it makes more sense to accept it as the DJ equivalent of a stream-of-consciousness poem: snippets of found sounds wedged comfortably into pleasurable jazz and soul grooves. The album “Echoplexia” avoids hip-hop conventions in favor of various kinds of post-rock centered on Doran’s acoustic guitar patterns, which are sampled and reconfigured. Rather than sound cold and clipped like most similarly processed electronica, “Echoplexia” is organic, warm and witty.
His latest album, “Inner Sunglases” explores exotic forms from all over the world with an emphasis on acoustic instruments. As a one-time philosophy major, Doran’s musical choices seem to be based as much on theory as they are on his formidable record collection, but he’s more entertaining than such a description might imply. The problem is in keeping up with his imagination, which moves at the speed of sound.