cv313: Dimensional Space
There are album delays, and then there are album delays. At three years, cv313's debut album Dimensional Space certainly qualifies as an inordinately long one. But the delay wasn't caused by some bureaucratic logjam; instead, the original masters, recorded between 1996 and 2010, were the victims of a flood in Steve Hitchell and Rod Modell's home studio, with some reels completely ruined and others able to be salvaged and painstakingly restored. A characteristically epic collection from the Echospace [Detroit] stable, Dimensional Space pairs an eighty-minute set of originals with a “Subtraktive” disc featuring cv313's own version plus variations by The Sight Below, Reference (Luke Hess and Brian Kage), King Midas Sound, bvdub (Brock Van Wey), and Hitchell and Modell under the Intrusion and Deepchord Presents Echospace monikers.
Dub-techno is the label that's sometimes assigned to the music Hitchell and Modell have released under a number of different aliases, but it's an imperfect term, even if a convenient signifier: as Dimensional Space repeatedly illustrates, their music refuses to be restricted by so simple a designation. If anything, it makes more sense to cast aside genre labels in favour of adjectives such as aquatic, enveloping, oceanic, reverberant, and vaporous, the accumulation of which allows the listener new to their soundworld to acquire some preliminary sense of its character. The material on the release is hardly techno as conventionally defined (if anything, cv313's understated swing has more in common with house), though it does share with dub a concern for multi-dimensional production design.
The eighty-minute opening disc features seven originals of varying mood, the shortest eight minutes and the longest sixteen. Some are rhythmically charged pieces, whereas others drift in a comparatively dream-like and laid-back manner (“Energies Collide,” “Evocation,” “Sella Bay”). Within “Luna Petra,” the presence of a muted instrument—the density of the soundmass of which it's a part makes it difficult to determine whether it's a melodica, harmonica, or horn—lends the material a jazz-like feel. A lumbering pulse injects the burbling swirl of “Serenity Thru Sorrow” with a kinetic and funk-inflected force as cold gusts of winds blow across the track's slippery surfaces, while “Clouds Beyond,” a barely contained fireball of energy, exudes even more propulsive drive in its bubbly, bass-thudding broil.
cv313's ultra-vaporous stepper “Subtraktive,” which captures in a single track the project's persona in its essential form, inaugurates the release's second half. And though it admittedly has the feel of a bonus disc due to its concentration on remix treatments, it also plays very much like a natural sibling to the first half when the guests don't wholly strip the original's cv313 identity away from their own versions. The Sight Below's, for example, could easily be mistaken for a Hitchell and Modell original, while Intrusion's understandably feels closely connected to the original, given that Hitchell's the man behind the Intrusion mask. Not all, however, hew as closely to cv313's version. Hess and Kage's feels like a club track straining to break free of its chains and unleash a full-on house groove—something that Deepchord Presents Echospace's pumping “Live Dub,” in fact, accomplishes. In an especially bold makeover, King Midas Sound re-imagines the track as a trippy dub poetry reverie replete with a female lead vocal, while Van Wey shows himself to be his characteristically voluminous self in transmuting the original into a sweeping, twenty-minute “Journey East of the Lotus Leaves” opus. It seems only fitting that Dimensional Space should end on such an epic note.