Dorian Concept — Joined Ends λΞ≡ V hudbě vídeňského rodáka, samouka multi–instrumentalisty a producenta vlastním jménem Oliver Thomas Johnson mohou být slyšet určité prvky hravosti a zvýšeného nadšení. Toto album je zvukovou geometrií v té nejlepší kvalitě. S vrstvenými dechberoucími akordy, těžkými basovými legáto–linkami a hypnotickými syntetickými frázemi — album osciluje někde mezi plovoucím lucidním snem a hlubokou cestou do synaesthetické říše divů.
λΞ≡ Studoval Sound Design & hudební produkci na Salcburské univerzitě aplikovaných věd, která pomáhala formovat jeho jedinečný přístup k produkci.
λΞ≡ Opustil ochrannou známku microKORG a začal pracovat s novým zařízením, budovaným kolem elektrického piana Wurlitzer a hrstkou analogových syntezátorů. Sekvenční zůstaly pouze beaty, na základě jeho písňového materiálu byly nahrány živě a posléze odebrány vzorky.
λΞ≡ Album se pohybuje s hlubokou jemností a klamnou jednoduchostí: někdo může mít z toho pocit, že to je snadné a lehké ("Ann River, MN"), jindy se obrací k matematice (jako v rytmické a intenzívní "Trophies" ), a někdy padá až do euforie s touhou uniknout (slyším tam křehká arpeggia v "Tried Now Tired") I když to vnímám jako bezešvý příběh, tedy utkán vcelku, každá jednotlivá skladba je zabalena do několika point a hudebních stories. Zpěv na albu je unisex. Uvítal bych jednoznačnou diferenciaci.
λΞ≡ Joined Ends odhaluje jinou stránku jeho uměleckého repertoáru. Rozhodl se soustředit se na svou intuici a své vlastní klávesové dovednosti. A také, což Tais Awards Academy chválí, rozšiřuje svou působnost o živá vystoupení v triu. Plán podzimního turné 2014 je již v činnosti. Joined Ends je jeho nejlépe promyšlená práce k dnešnímu dni, je z ní cítit zaměření k cíli a kupu osvobozující práce.
λΞ≡ Resumé: toto je album s dokonale koherentní produkcí, decentní expozicí, ale zároveň neuvěřitelně emotivní sílou a tak ho vnímám jako skutečného uchazeče pro jedno z elektronických alb roku.
Location: Salzburg ~ Wien, Austria
Album release: October 20, 2014
Record Label: Ninja Tune
01 The Sky Opposite 2:32
02 Ann River, Mn 4:08
03 Mint 5:28
04 Clap Track 4 3:18
05 Draft Culture 5:00
06 Schadentrauer 1:13
07 Nest Nest 4:14
08 The Few 4:42
09 Trophies 4:25
10 Do, Undo, Redo 0:55
11 11.04.2012 3:56
12 Tried (Now Tired) 5:02
λΞ≡ In October 2014, Austrian musician and producer Dorian Concept will present his singular musical vision in its most widescreen form to date. His second album Joined Ends is the biggest, boldest work of his career, and a sheer, technicolour audible joy.
λΞ≡ This album is sonic geometry at its finest. With layers upon layers of breathtaking chords, weighty bass lines and hypnotic synth phrases — the album sits somewhere between a floating lucid dream and a deep trip into a synaesthetic wonderland. The track “Draft Culture” made him realise he was “on to something, vibe–wise.” Then the album began to take shape, very slowly but deliberately. In the past he had tended to work quickly finishing tracks within days, whereas each of the tracks on this the album was often a month–long process.
λΞ≡ Whilst working on this album he cut down on touring and distanced himself from his signature club sound to put his mind on what was to become a two year journey. His rise from bedroom producer to Royal Albert Hall performer has been beautifully encapsulated on Joined Ends.
λΞ≡ The self–taught keyboarder and multi–instrumentalist also studied Sound Design & Music Production at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences which helped inform his unique approach to production.
λΞ≡ For Joined Ends, he dropped his trademark MicroKorg and started working with new gear, building the album around a Wurlitzer electric piano and a handful of analogue synths. Sequencing only the beats, he based his songs on material he recorded live and then sampled. Concept says, “the new gear was important because the MicroKorg had been my main production unit for a long time. It really tied me down to my old sound. I’ve always been a fan of reduction, so working with analogue gear was a way for me to put my focus back on playing. It feels like my first musical cycle is closing and the start of a new one.” With this in mind, he is expanding his much lauded live show into a trio with touring planned for the autumn.
λΞ≡ The album moves with profound subtlety and deceptive simplicity: at times feeling effortless and light (“Ann River, Mn”), other times taking a turn for the calculated (as in the rhythmic intensity of “Trophies”), and sometimes falling into euphoric escape (heard in the fragile arpeggios of the closer “Tried Now Tired”.) Although there is a tangible narrative weaving throughout, each individual song is packed with several stories, such as “Nest Nest”, which oscillates between music–box charm, dynamic flares and pulsing rhythms. A dense, agile body of work filled with playful melodic earworms, complex textures and virtuosic transformations, the long player reveals more with each listen.
λΞ≡ He even sings throughout, intertwining melodies and washes of colour. Dorian Concept explains: “I wanted my vocals to have a distant feel, to be somewhat inaudible and androgynous. For them to be something that you'd feel like humming rather than reciting — almost as if the vocals entered your mind as a memory.”
λΞ≡ By challenging himself to work outside of his established musical environment, Dorian Concept has re–invented himself. Joined Ends brings the feeling of the artist at his most free.
λΞ≡ There is a certain element of playfulness and wonder that can be heard in the music of the Viennese–born, self–taught multi–instrumentalist and producer Oliver Thomas Johnson, aka Dorian Concept.
λΞ≡ After being exposed to hip hop in his early teens, he started to experiment with music production software on his parents’ computer at the age of 15. Around the same time, he picked up the piano, electric bass, and soprano saxophone, and since then he has been fascinated by combining the world of music production with the one of instrumental improvisation.
λΞ≡ Dorian Concept started his career as a typical “bedroom producer” with a MySpace page in his late teens and enrolled in the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg to study multi–media art in 2005. Just five years later, he was performing at the Royal Albert Hall with the Cinematic Orchestra, a group he had always admired, at the twentieth anniversary gala of Ninja Tune.
λΞ≡ Some of the important stations of Dorian Concept’s rise from a bedroom producer studying in Salzburg to a Royal Albert Hall performer date back to 2006, when he started uploading a series of short videos of himself improvising on synthesizers on Youtube — starting with "Fooling Around on MicroKorg” — that have garnered over a million hits. Within a year, BBC radio greats like Benji B, Giles Peterson, and Mary Anne Hobbs championed his early digital releases, and shortly thereafter he started touring internationally.
λΞ≡ In 2008, he participated in the Red Bull Musical Academy and released his first EP Maximized Minimalization on the Viennese label Affine Records. This EP — along with the subsequent track “The Fucking Formula” — was his take on instrumental hip hop at the time. His single “Trilingual Dance Sexperience” became a beast of its own right, acknowledged as a landmark for that unique Dorian Concept sound. Boomkat described it as “what sounds like the culmination of the last 10 years of techno, grime, hiphop club music and cutting–edge electronics attempting to race each other to the finishing line of the decade.”
λΞ≡ In 2009, Kindred Spirits/Nod Navigators released his debut album When Planets Explode, which enjoyed critical and underground acclaim. The next two years were a blur of different cities and stages that brought his live show to Australia, Asia, all over Europe, and the States, while playing keys as part of Flying Lotus’ live band in between. His improvisational skills and virtuosity on his trusty MicroKorg shine during his animated live performances.
λΞ≡ Dorian Concept’s jazz–influenced beat concoctions reap havoc on the dance–floor but never lose their sense of musicality. Unconventional chord changes, expressive dynamics and quirky layers of counterpoint melodies are parts of his unmistakable musical voice. He dots effortlessly through different genres and styles: from sublime electronica to hyperactive garage to avant–garde dancehall. Therefore, it made perfect sense when the multifaceted imprint Ninja Tune invited Dorian Concept to contribute to its twentieth anniversary box set in 2010 with the standout track "Her Tears Taste Like Pears.” It was no surprise that Ninja Tune then added him to its roster, releasing an EP under the same title in 2011.
λΞ≡ Shortly after the Ninja Tune EP, Dorian Concept decided to take some time off to craft a new sound. He abandoned his signature use of the Mikrokorg and started working with a Wurlitzer electronic piano and a handful of analogue synthesizers. λΞ≡ Joined Ends — his forthcoming album on Ninja Tune — showcases a new sound that reveals a radically different side of his artistic repertoire. A departure from rigid beat–making, he has chosen to concentrate on his intuition and his keyboard skills. Dorian Concept is also expanding his much lauded live show into a trio with touring planned for Autumn 2014 and beyond.
λΞ≡ Joined Ends is his most deliberate, focused, and liberating work to date.
By Dylan Kilby | posted on 14 Oct 2014 | Score: ***
BY JOHN BELL | 13 OCTOBER 2014, 13:30 BST | Score: 8.5/10