Dorj – breaking through a saturated market

By Zak Thomas

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At times the music business seems to be a tragic caricature of neo-liberalism. Every artist desperately placing their faith in a market system they hope will provide prosperity. The sad truth is very few artists transcend years let alone generations these days with the Internet saturated with both fine and tepid musical offerings which fail to capture the collective imagination. It’s no surprise that many artists are devoid of inspiration and start reverting to type when there’s little hope of breaking through the noise in such a bloated market. The safest bet seems to be joining the latest desperate struggle to latch onto hype, and who can blame them when there’s such a small chance of earning recognition, let alone a living.

From the audience perspective, the sheer amount of music available to us can appear overwhelming, but when you scratch the surface and delve deeper it is possible to find artists that steer away from industry standards and even explore this fear of social and creative stagnation in a way that doesn’t make you want to ditch your iPhone for a Nokia 3310, at the hope that this will somehow focus your mind away from the sheer hullabaloo of networked living.

Dorj is one such artist, having taken the unusual step of releasing a collaboration for his first EP last year, alongside London’s Hip Hop producer Subculture Sounds, this classically trained pop artist appears to be embracing the collective in a way that most tightly controlled industry darlings would never dream of exploring openly. Not only through collaborating with local artists and across oceans, but also by interweaving multiple genres and sounds that might not intuitively combine: mixing a highly sprung Folk style vocal inflection with a heavy concoction of synths and 90s electronica. This is not to suggest that Dorj is alone in working collaboratively, indeed many of the biggest pop stars throughout history have worked in such a way, but ultimately it’s refreshingly honest that Dorj recognises this as an essential part of the process, rather than placing himself front, centre and above those that have helped him to innovate.

It’s still early days for this Israeli born artist, but he seems to be building a sound that is intensively designed. Combining Hip Hop beats and production with chiseled acoustics, borrowed sound bites and souring string orchestration to create an experience that both invigorates and plods. Ultimately reflective of the chaos and monotonous battle of being a modern artist in a saturated industry, or as Dorj put’s it: “The struggle of youthful ambition against the pressures of an uninspired reality.”


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