Dorian Concept – The Nature of Imitation


Winter has always been my time to stop and reflect but it has fuck all to do with New Years. Even if you’re not part of that Gregorian calendar and you hail from Latin America, Israel, China, or India, winter is reflection time. This shit isn’t about clocks, dates, or Christmas. It’s about winter, motherfuckers (even if you celebrate that shit in July). Winter makes everyone dewy-eyed about times past. Fuck being maudlin cause of Madeleines (sorry Proust), cold weather is essential to nostalgia’s arsenal right there next to old photos, letters, trips back to your place of birth, the taste of a cigarette when you’re sick, and those strange smells that you can’t quite pin down. Cold weather makes a motherfucker think.

Some brisk and chilly wind blew into my place and inspired me to go down a rabbit hole of “Albums I forgot this 2018”. Sure, I review an album a day, but I listen to a lot more than that. So, I was flipping through my stack of shit, to see what I missed, and this motherfucker popped up. And I’m glad it fucking did. 

Dorian Concept, a.k.a. Oliver Thomas Johnson, has been a keyboarder for both Flying Lotus and Cinematic Orchestra. So you know that this dude is going to be a cool and strange motherfucker. From the album’s first hit you’ll think, “that’s jazz”, but it’s not. 30 seconds in and you’ll hear a dope ass electronic beat drop with some layered swishy-swishy electronic lasers (saying “an electronic pulse sine wave put through a Wien Bridge Oscillator raising and lowering in pitch dramatically” makes me sounds like an orphan-hating cunt. So “swishy-swishy laser sounds” it is). Around the 1:20 mark, a vocal line comes in which sounds like a blues-singing robot locked in a Fedex truck, belting out that shit for its long-lost love. At this point, you won’t think this shit is jazz anymore.

This is one of those albums you can’t pin down. Sure, it’s a funk- and jazz-inspired electronic record, but each time you think it’s going right it veers left, and each time you think it’s going left it laminates your centrefolds, regurgitates goldfish, and sucks your elbow. You might raise a few eyebrows at this. It can be strange. But you’ll be smiling like a motherfucker when you do. And when that beat drops? Forget about it. This is what I wanted bands like Gorillaz to eventually sound like. I wanted that fresh, unique, forward-thinking kind of thing. This is that album. This is what Stevie Wonder would sound like if he was a young fuck of the modern age trying to jam out and fuck with your head. It’s daring, it’s progressive, and it’s cool as all fuck. All it took was cold winds, the fear of freezing to death, and a blues-singing robot in a Fedex truck for me to see it. 




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