All artists must start somewhere, and when Oliver Thomas Johnson aka Dorian Concept released his 8 track EP at the prolific Earstroke Records in 2006, I should think he had no idea he would be signed to Ninja Tune just five years later.
Oliver’s music is absolutely exceptional. I have been a huge fan of his for a while, and stumbled across his release at Earstroke completely by accident. It is a remarkable mix of glitchy electronics, jazzy progressions and snappy riffs, and is loaded with creativity and expression. The amount of actual music you get in this release is quite incomprehensible at times, but a first-time listen is still highly enjoyable considering a ferocious amount of intricately crafted sound is thrown at you with every bar.
Due to the dense nature of this release, I felt I would take a slightly different approach to the usual dive-in, and list my ten favourite moments with track names and timestamps, in order of occurrence.
1) When Things Go Wrong – 1:36 : The spiralling chord sequence finally settles on the root chord. It is almost like the track has made friends with you, and is about to introduce you to the rest of the EP.
2) This Might Hurt – 1:04 : The first dose of tetchy, complex drum break manipulation. The artist’s original style becomes magnificently apparent.
3) This Might Hurt – 2:40 : A brutal and almost nausea-inducing gate is placed across the whole track and intricately sequenced to perfection.
4) Define Soft – 0:47 : A glitchy slow-jam drop comes from nowhere, but glides into the foreground so naturally, you barely notice it happen.
5) Define Soft – 2:12 : The beautiful chords in this ambient breakdown give this tetchy track a warm aura.
6) Seek When Is Her – 0:48 : A wonderful development brings forth a fantastic hip-hop-esque drop. It is quite hard to stop yourself from shouting ‘Aw yeah…’.
7) I Am Glad That Things Happen – 1:01 : It’s almost like Squarepusher has popped in to play some bass. This little funky section presents quite a quirky contrast to surrounding moments on the EP.
8) Water Thank You – 0:00 : Such a delightful intro for a track, the vocal sample and jungley Amen drop had me grinning with glee.
9) Water Thank You – 3:09 : This quite sporadic tune suddenly becomes greased in oil and slides down a teflon helta skelta.
10) You See Full – 1:13 : A slight imperfection in the guitar sound is accentuated through the delay and chorus, and forms a wonderful spine-tingling shimmer.
I have had this on repeat for the last 3 weeks, and I am still not bored with it. Such wonderfully bizarre and perplexing music squeezed into a tiny EP. His musical knowledge and technique shine through in this super-virtuoso EP. Also it is rare to find a solo electronic musician with such incredible performance skills (check out a video of Dorian Concept noodling on his MIDI controller).
Dorian Concept – This Might Hurt
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