Dorian Concept (born Oliver Thomas Johnson in Vienna in 1984) is an Austrian composer, producer, and keyboard artist, whose work draws on an eclectic variety of sources including modal and free jazz, funk, hip-hop, and electronic, ambient, and soundscape music. Johnson adopted his stage name as a teenager as a reference to the Dorian scale.
Dorian Concept is also a member of the Austrian funk band Jacob's Salty and Bamboozling Ladder. He also has periodically toured as a keyboarder for Flying Lotus (with Richard Spaven on drums) and collaborated with the Cinematic Orchestra.
He studied multimedia art with a focus on acoustic engineering and graphics at the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg from 2005-2009. During this period, he won Elektronikland Salzburg prizes for composition in electronic music in 2005 and 2007 and released his first EP on line in 2006. Between 2006 and 2008, he also posted a popular series of five short videos on YouTube under the moniker of "yorktownrecreation" called "Fooling Around on Micro Korg" that show him improvising on the Micro Korg (and other keyboards, such as the Alesis Micron, Korg Nanokey, and Casio SA-21) and totalled over one million views after posting. He is among the self-proclaimed generation of "bedroom producers" who participated in the emergence of an international beat community based the accessibility of digital production technology and early Internet fora, such as MySpace, in the first decade of the 2000s.
In 2007, the BBC Radio 1 producer Benji B "discovered" Dorian Concept at the Red Bull Music Academy in Toronto, where Paul Movahedi, a Viennese bandmate of his and RMBA participant, gave Benji B a CD with 10 unreleased Dorian Concept tracks that Benji B started airing on his show and playing in London clubs. Radio 1's Gilles Peterson also started giving Dorian Concept air-time on his program "Worldwide" and included him in the line-ups of Worldwide events, and Dorian Concept subsequently started to receive invitations to major electronic music festivals. He also participated in the Red Bull Music Academy in Barcelona in 2008 and has since been involved in a number of Red Bull Music Academy events.
His first album, When Planets Explode, appearead in 2009 preceded and followed by a number of EPs and remixes. In 2010, Ninja Tune invited him to contribute a track, "Her Tears Taste Like Pears," to its twentieth anniversary box set, Ninja Tune XX, and Ninja released an EP of his under the same title shortly thereafter. He performed at a number of Ninja XX events in Europe in 2010, including the Ninja gala celebration at Royal Albert Hall with the London Metropolitan Orchetra and the Cinematic Orcherstra in November, where he arranged and performed tracks from his Ninja EP for an ensemble including London Metropolitan string quartet accompaniment and the Cinematic Orchestra's saxophonist Tom Chant.
In 2011, Jason Swincoe invited him to continue his collaboration with The Cinematic Orchestra by asking him to compose film music (with Tom Chant) for two avant-garde shorts by Peter Tscherkassky, "Outer Space" and "Dream Work," for the Cinematic Orchestra's "In Motion" series in which musicians are asked to compose original scores for classic short films.
Although he had classical piano training as a child, he does not consider himself to be classically trained. As an autodidact, he identifies funk, hip-hop, jazz, and electronica as the primary influences for his music. His music cannot “easily be categorized, yet he has already developed his own, recognisable sound" as Benji B has observed in his blog.
Reviewers note that his sound “fuses technical jazz flair with . . .programming skills[,] and strictly bumping beats with abstract electronica harmonics, . . .” and is “synthetic, electronic and beat-driven, and yet . . . musical.”
His main instrument for production and performance is the MicroKORG synthesizer. During live sets, he uses the Ableton software to play his tracks and improvises over them on the MicroKORG or manipulates them with the MicroKORG or the tools available on DJ consules.
He also has performed occasionally in formal concert settings with string accompaniment at the Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican Centre in London and at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York City.
- When Planets Explode (Kindred Spirits/Nod Navigators, 2009)
- 2 Feet For You, (Circulations, 2008)
- The Fucking Formula, (Kindred Spirits/Nod Navigators, 2008)
- Maximized Minimalization (Affine Records, 2008)
- Sam Irl And Dorian Concept / Echo Skill Hifi - Untitled One / Gecko (Bonzzaj Recordings/A Few Among Others Records, 2008)
- Trilingual Dance Sexperience (Affine Records, 2009)
- Untitled (TLM Records, 2010)
- Her Tears Taste Like Pears (Ninja Tune, 2011)
- A TrebleO Beat Tape (2008)
Singles on Compilations
- "Warm Cookies and Cold Milk" on Barracuda Astronauts, (Vitamine-Source, 2004)
- "I'm a Basketball Mom" on Elevate Compilation, (Elevate, 2008)
- "Sandwich Terror" on Blue Jemz-Beat Machine, (Scion Audio/Visual, 2008)
- "Timetravellin" (Fatima & Dorian Concept) and "Do I know you?" (Fatima, Cohen, Cuthead & Dorian Concept) on Various Assets - Not For Sale: Red Bull Music Academy Barcelona 2008, (RMBA, 2009)
- Synths on "Welcome to a Bluer Blue Sky" on Bluermutt's Decivilize After Consumption, (Nexsound, 2009)
- "Be Tween" on Beat Dimensions, Vol. 2, (Rush Hour, 2009)
- "RE: Haydn Remix" on RE:Haydn, (Deutsche Grammaphone/Universal, 2009)
- "Her Tears Taste Like Pears" on CD 1 of the Ninja Tune XX box, (Ninja, 2010)
- "Harpoon Love" and "Row Out" on JSBL's What a Fine Mess We Made, (Affine, 2011)
- "Outer Space" on The Cinematic Orchestra: In Motion # 1 (featuring Dorian Concept & Tom Chant) [9:26], (Ninja & Beat Records, 2012)
- "Dream Work" on The Cinematic Orchestra: In Motion # 1 (featuring Dorian Concept & Tom Chant) [9:46], (Ninja & Beat Records, 2012)
- "Chico" (Dorian Concept Remix) on Fulgeance's Low Club EP (Musique Large, 2008)
- Dabrye, "Game Over" (Dorian Concept remix); Jamie Lidell, "A Little Bit Of Feel Good" (Dorian Concept remix); Phat Kat & Guilty Simpson, "Nightmare" (Dorian Concept remix); Three Six Mafia, "Stay Fly" (Dorian Concept remix) (posted as a give-away by preceding the release of his album When Planets Explode)
- "Emora" (Dorian Concept Remix) on The Clonius' Adroit Adventures (Ubiquity Records, 2009)
- "The Light" (Dorian Concept Remix) on Some Freak, Andreya Triana & Ritornell's The Light Remixes (Wald Entertainment, 2009)
- "Light Up Bright Fires" (Dorian Concept Remix) on PVT's Light up Bright Fires, (Warp, 2010)
- Dabrye's "Game Over" (Dorian Concept Remix) on Arousal (2) - 404 Mixtape (Error Broadcast, 2010)
- Clifford Gilberto's "Deliver The Weird" (Dorian Concept Remix) on CD 6 of the Ninja Tune XX box, (Ninja Tune, 2010)
- "Draw" (Dorian Concept Remix) on Cid Rim's "Cid Rim", (LuckyMe, 2012)
- Letherette's "D & T" (Dorian Concept Remix), (Ninja Tune, 2013)