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Dorian Concept - Joined Ends

"Joined Ends"

Release date: 20 October 2014
8.5/10
Dorian Concept Joined Ends
13 October 2014, 13:30 Written by John Bell
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Austrian MicroKorg maestro Dorian Concept has returned from the depths of his studio to present his second album, Joined Ends. The young artist has said that his “first musical cycle is closing”, and this second effort certainly marks his next cycle with awe-inspiring style.

Oliver Thomas Johnson, aka Dorian Concept, has come a long way since fooling around on a MicroKorg, although his style and sound are still just as distinct and captivating. His rather early set at Amsterdam’s Pitch Festival this summer defibrillated the day alive, and typified his live set-up perfectly: a quasi-improvised set of modulated synths over Ableton backing tracks used to glitchy and chaotic effect.

But Johnson’s second album, Joined Ends, sees a departure from the MicroKorg madness and instead opts for a more analogue sound; it is somewhat calmer than his earlier work, paving the way for twelve tracks to explore different soundscapes. It will no doubt go down well with fans of Hudson Mohawke and Flying Lotus, although that’s not really surprising given that Johnson was a touring keyboard player for the latter.

A dazzling, atmospheric air seems to breathe throughout the album, and tracks like “11.04.2012” sail smoothly with a minimal house-like breeze. For some, this may be at times something of an anti-climatic experience, such as with “Ann River, Mn”, which although premium in production and depth, seems to constantly build up but lead to nowhere but its end. But then there are songs like “Mint”, which explodes euphorically, and even features powerful vocal melodies from Johnson himself. This is another feature that separates Joined Ends from the earlier material, and the vocals act an integral part in the play of melodies, as in “Nest Nest”, which is even reminiscent of bands like Volcano Choir.

“Draft Culture” is one of the album’s most confident tracks with its punchy, grime-like verses, but the sophisticated blend into its exuberant mid-section and its understated jazzy chords mean it’s not quite the grime you used to bluetooth to your friends at secondary school (although I wish it was). The track aptly highlights the thought gone into the album; it's subtly paced, but not afraid to punch you in the face.

Electronic music fans may still be busy gazing up at Aphex Twin’s promotional balloons and basking in Syro’s glory, but do not let Joined Ends past you by unnoticed; with its perfectly coherent production, it is an exposition of understated but incredibly emotive power, and a real contender for one of the electronic albums of the year.

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