Dorian Concept

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Dorian Concept (born Oliver Thomas Johnson; 1984 in Vienna), 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.[1][2][3]

Dorian Concept is also a member of the Austrian funk band Jacob's Salty and Bamboozling Ladder.[4] He also has periodically toured as a keyboarder for Flying Lotus (with Richard Spaven on drums)[5] 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[6] and released his first EP on line in 2006.[7] 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"[8] 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.[9] He is among the self-proclaimed generation of "bedroom producers"[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] 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,[13] and Dorian Concept subsequently started to receive invitations to major electronic music festivals.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18]


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.[19][20][21][22] His music cannot “easily be categorized, yet he has already developed his own, recognisable sound" as Benji B has observed in his blog.[23]

Reviewers note that his sound “fuses technical jazz flair with . . .programming skills[,] and strictly bumping beats with abstract electronica harmonics, . . .”[24] and is “synthetic, electronic and beat-driven, and yet . . . musical.”[25]

His main instrument for production and performance is the MicroKORG synthesizer.[26] During live sets, he uses the Ableton software[27] to play his tracks and improvises over them on the MicroKORG or manipulates them with the MicroKORG or the tools available on DJ consules.[28]

He also has performed occasionally in formal concert settings with string accompaniment at the Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican Centre in London[29] and at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York City.[30]




  • 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)

Internet Releases

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 Kindred Spirits/Nod Navigators, 2009 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)


  1. ^ "An exclusive interview with Dorian Concept" by Free the Wax on, February, 2009
  2. ^ An Interview with Dorian Concept by Julia Huber for the Austrian Cultural Forum New York's “Moving Sounds Festival 2009” in Transforum 6, September-November 2009
  3. ^ On early development and influences, see also SePiBe_Dorian_Concept_Interview (Milan, 2012) or "Dorian Concept Interview - Soundcrash Podcast Sept. 2012" (London, 2012)
  4. ^ See for the members of JSBL
  5. ^ In Europe in October 2010 and July 2011 and in Japan in April 2010.
  6. ^ See Kulturland Salzburg: Auszeichnungen 2007, page 34, for details.
  7. ^ See Seek When is Her (2006) and the following review on his "mix of electronics, jazzy progressions, and snappy riffs..."
  8. ^ See
  9. ^ See for YouTube statistics and "Dorian Concept - Interview" posted by On-Point TV (Belgium) in 2009 regarding the initial reception of the "Fooling Around" videos.
  10. ^ He noted in an interview: "If you're a bed-room producer, and you have a bed and a computer, then all you need, is everything that you already have." See
  11. ^ For the evolution of the Internet based beats community see YouTube "H∆SHTAG$ - Don't Call It #Beats - Episode 4" at
  12. ^ See “Dorian Concept: Method to his Madness” (Red Bull Music Academy Stage – Sonar 2009 interview) - July 3,2009. Benji B also related this in an interview with Dorian Concept on his program Underground Soul BBC Radio 1Xtra (1:13-1:41) – Friday, March 20, 2009 and retold this story in a retrospect on Deviation events on the RBMA website in 2013.
  13. ^ For example, the Worldwide Awards, London, January 2009; Worldwide 10th Anniversary Celebration with Q-Tip, London, March 2009; WW Festival Séte, July 2009; WW Festival Singapore, 2010
  14. ^ Including 5 Days Off (Amsterdam), Dour (Belgium), Elevate Festival (Graz), Lowlands (NL), Jazz Middelheim (Antwerp), Pukkelpop (Belgium), North Sea Jazz (Rotterdam), Numusic (Stavanger, Norway), Sziget (Budapest), Sónar (Barcelona and Tokoyo), St Jerome's Laneway Festival (Brisbane), Unsound (Kraków and New York), and Wilsonic (Bratislava), among others
  15. ^ See "Dorian Concept" on the RBMA website
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ With the premier with Tom Chant and strings from the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in London in October 2011 and the tracks released on the Cinematic Orchestra album In Motion # 1" in April 2012.
  19. ^ See the on-line interviews listed above and the video interview "Slices Feature: Dorian Concept" in Slices: The Electronic Music Magazine, Issue 1-11, March 14, 2011, 04:00-05:30:
  20. ^ For an interview on early musical influences and development, see PiBe_Dorian_Concept_Interview October 30, 2012 (Milano)
  21. ^ For an interview on musical influences and improvisation, see "Recontre avec Dorian Concept" from June 2, 2012 on vimeo
  22. ^ Interview with Dorian Concept by Ingmar Griffioen: "mijn muziek ontstaat door trial and error" in 3VOOR12 NL July 9, 2010
  23. ^ Benji-B in his Deviation blog, September 2, 2008
  24. ^ boomkat review, February 2009
  25. ^ Basic Soul review by Tom Breslin, April 24, 2009
  26. ^ See "Studio Science: Dorian Concept on the microKorg" posted by the Red Bull Music Academy in May 2013.
  27. ^ See Ableton Live Tips #10: "DJ / Performance - Creating A Unique Setup (Dorian Concept)"
  28. ^ Live interview at Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards in London in January 2009: "the one & only 'Dorian Concept' (BBC R1 Gilles Peterson)" on YouTube. On his "minimal set-up" and "improvisation" also see 8:00-9:00 in the video interview "Slices Feature: Dorian Concept" in Slices: The Electronic Music Magazine, Issue 1-11, March 14, 2011, cited above. For an example of his live performance practice, see YouTube "Dorian Concept@sonar 2009" or "Dorian Concept live at Brainfeeder special @ Fabric RBMA London 2010"
  29. ^ See references above to concert performances in November 2010 and October 2011.
  30. ^ At the Moving Sounds Festival in 2009 and the ACF 10th Anniversary Concert Series in 2012