Seattle native and resident Dave "Elmo" Nugent, also known as Mohan, has been wearing different hats in the music world. Performing and recording as Dave "Elmo" Nugent, the musician/producer/composer/arranger is known as a hard-swinging jazz saxophonist in Pacific Northwest circles and knows his way around the tenor and the alto saxes as well as the soprano sax. But when he goes by Mohan, Nugent turns his attention to electronica -- specifically, the softer and more melodic side of electronica. In the '90s and in the 21st century, the term electronica has been used to describe a wide variety of electronic music -- some of it harsh, forceful, dissonant, and abrasive (techno, for example), some of it much kinder and gentler. And Nugent's club-friendly work as Mohan definitely falls into the latter category. Focusing on the chillout, downtempo, and ambient styles of electronica, Nugent's recordings as Mohan have been rhythmic yet highly melodic and sometimes even lush or ethereal. Although Nugent's Mohan output (some of which has been instrumental, some of which has featured various female vocalists) is considered electronica instead of urban contemporary, smooth R&B has been an influence on some of his vocal offerings -- smooth R&B as in Sade, smooth R&B as in Soul II Soul doing "Keep on Moving," smooth R&B as in N'Dea Davenport singing "Stay This Way" and "Never Stop" when she was with the Brand New Heavies in the early '90s. Late-'80s and early-'90s R&B artists like Sade, the Brand New Heavies, Davenport, Karon Wheeler, and Soul II Soul have had a major impact on much of the 21st century's chillout and downtempo recordings, and those types of artists have influenced some of Nugent's Mohan output (which has featured female vocalists such as Havilah and Tanya Asmundson). On the pop side, Mohan's vocal offerings also owe something to Julee Cruise and similar artists.
After playing jazz saxophone in and around Seattle throughout the '80s, Nugent began to get into electronica in the early '90s. But for Nugent, exploring electronica did not mean giving up or forsaking straight-ahead jazz -- and in 2004, his jazz-oriented album Gates of Tolerance was released on the independent, Bellingham, WA-based Jazz Project label (Dave Nugent's Gates of Tolerance is the name of the jazz group that he has led in Seattle). It was also in 2004 that Nugent began recording his electronica-oriented Mohan album, As Is Where Is, which he finished recording in early 2005. About six months after As Is Where Is was completed, the 60-minute CD was released on Sound Visual/Delvian in the United States. Nugent does little saxophone playing on As Is Where Is; instead, his role is that of a composer, producer, and arranger who plays keyboards and handles much of the electronic programming, sampling, and so on. As Is Where Is has been compared to 2000s recordings by Olive, Delerium, Honeyroot, Jakatta, Chris Coco, and Thievery Corporation (among others). ~ Alex Henderson
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