Spotlight 9

Cory Allen
Ellen Allien
Barry Altschul
A-Sun Amissa
Matt Baldwin
Gensu Dean & Planet Asia
Mats Eilertsen Trio
Farthest South
Ben Fleury-Steiner
William Ryan Fritch
Ben Goldberg
Graveyard Tapes
Julia Kent
Annea Lockwood
Stephan Mathieu
Moss Garden
Ian Pooley
Quiet Evenings
Dirk Serries
Nadia Sirota
Space Dim. Controller
Mark Templeton

Compilations / Mixes
The Aftermath
DJ Sprinkles
Finding Time
Friends Will Carry You
Future Disco Vol. 6

EPs / Cassettes / Singles
Break / Enei
Elektro Guzzi
Stefan Goldmann
Hogweed And The Aderyn
Karol XVII & MB Valence
Mise En Place Pt. 2

Space Dimension Controller: Welcome to Mikrosector-50
R&S Records

An incredibly convoluted sci-fi narrative underpins Space Dimension Controller's Welcome to Mikrosector-50, which, depending on the listener, might be regarded as a fascinating analogue to the recording or a total waste of time and energy. Those inclined to the latter will want to pass on the saga and focus exclusively on the project's musical side, which is about as wide-ranging and decades-spanning as might be imagined. Arriving after two mini-albums, 2010's Temporary Thrillz and 2011's The Pathway to Tiraquon6, the third collection on R&S Records by Belfast resident Jack Hamill (the ‘real name' of the Space Dimension Controller of the Tiraquon Security Council) serves up a seventy-minute ride through multiple galaxial spheres. A number of influences or at least reference points spring to mind as the album unfolds: for the story, early computer games, Tron, Battlestar Galactica, The Matrix; on musical grounds, Detroit techno (Drexciya, Model 500) of course, but also disco, John Carpenter, Prince, and even (in the guitar solos) a band like REO Speedwagon or Def Leppard.

A Vangelis-styled, blink-and-you'll-miss-it intro (“Feature Presentation”) transports us to “2357 A.D.” where a serene synthetic paradise of tinkling arpeggios and soft piano shadings awaits. Things change up stylistically, however, with, first, the arrival of the ‘80s-styled B-boy funk of “Mr. 8040's Introduction” and its turntable scratches, analog synths, and drum machine beats, and, secondly, “Welcome to Mikrosector-50,” whose creamy synths riff on Purple Rain-era Prince and his mid-‘80s Minneapolis sound (the material's ‘80s feel is strengthened by the presence of an occasional electric guitar solo, too). Elsewhere, “Confusion on the Armament Moon” and “Back Through Time With a Mission of Groove” offer smooth and soulful fusions of synth-funk and house, while “Quadraskank Interlude” and “The Love Quadrant” are electro-fied love jams.

Bridging voice interludes surface now and then to remind the listener that the recording isn't a purely musical affair but something more like a concept album or radio drama. One might be reminded of The Matrix and 2001: A Space Odyssey when Mr. 8040's deep, Morpheus-like voice (Hamill's own) converses with a computerized female voice at the end of the title track. That deep voice gives the spoken word part in the MOR-styled “When Your Love Feels Like It's Fading” a bit of a Barry White vibe, even if the effect's undercut by a vocodered vocal that's also featured, whereas a disco-funk dimension emerges during “You Can't Have My Love” (“disco lights” are even referenced by the cooing female vocalist). The album perches precariously at such moments between Hamill's genuine affection for such styles and the cheesiness that a fixation on such styles invariably brings.

March 2013