Portrait: Dorian Concept

With Dorian Concept, we are talking about one of the most promising acts of the Austrian music scene. Hardly any other Austrian musician has made the jump from his own four walls into the international music world at such a breathtaking pace. It is even more surprising that Dorian Concept – also known as Oliver Thomas Johnson – doesn’t have that many releases, but has made a name for himself by playing memorable gigs in various clubs around the world. He is a welcome guest in prestigious international clubs; tours have even led him to Australia and China. With his complex mixes of breaks and abstract electronic sound patterns, he has definitely built a reputation for himself in the electronic music scene.

It is not easy to classify Dorian Concept into one particular music category. Detached from any fixed musical standards, Dorian Concept combines electronics with jazz, hip-hop and jungle in a new and unique manner, highlights straight bass drums with interlaced jazz, and at the same time performs and improvises on his synthesizer with virtuosity.

As a trained keyboard wizard, he looks back on years of piano lessons and knowledge of jazz theory. His name comes from a term used in classical music theory – the Dorian mode.

This explains why those who love analogue synthesizers alongside hip-hop and electro genre (and all other attempts to give a name to this direction) end up in a jazz tradition.

Thanks to his improvisational talent, he draws a lot of attention to himself. A handful of youTube clips show him playing his Microkorg and Alesis Micron and provide plenty to flabbergasted viewers.

Despite the complexity of his compositions, Oliver Thomas Johnson never loses his focus. It is this experimental approach and his improvisational talent that sets Dorian Concept apart from many of his colleagues.

This special touch also caught the eye – as well as the ear – of BBC presenter, Gilles Peterson. He frequently plays Dorian Concept’s tracks on his radio show – the Worldwide Show – which is broadcasted in 15 countries and ranks among the top global institutions, in terms of musical taste. Being played by Gilles Peterson is a big ‘quality stamp’ and definitely something to brag about.

Gilles Peterson thinks so highly of Dorian, that he signed him up for his anniversary show in the program of Q-Tip.

Dorian Concept has already published a number of releases on different European labels, for example the Viennese Affine Records, as well as digital EPs with the Project 168 (“Relevance of Wood”) and Earstroke (“Seek When Is Her”).

Last year, Dorian Concept finally released his celebrated “Beat Tape” on TrebleO – the label of the English music producer and DJ star Domu.

Thanks to his visit to the Red Bull Music Academy in Barcelona 2008, Mr. Concept was able to make further contacts. In the Dutch label Kindred Spirit, he finally found the perfect channel for his first official album “When Planets Explode”.

It shows that with synth gimmicks, rich drum patterns and celestial sounds, it does not matter where you come from, but what you make out of the music and your talent.

Doris Brady


Nouns And The Relevance Of Wood (MP3, Project 168, 2005)

Seek When Is Her (MP3, Earstroke Records, 2006)

2 Feet For You / Slyme End (7”, Circulations, 2008)

A TrebleO Beat Tape (MP3, TrebleO , 2008)

FM4 Soundpark Studio2 Session (MP3, FM4 Soundpark, 2008)

Maximized Minimalization (12”, Affine Records, 2008)

The Fucking Formula (12”, Kindred Spirits, Nod Navigators, 2008)

Untitled One / Gecko (7″, Bonzzaj Recordings, A Few Among Others Records, 2008)

Trilingual Dance Sexperience (12″, Affine Records, 2009)

When Planets Explode (Album, Kindred Spirits, 2009)