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White Noise: Space Dimension Controller - Correlation #1

Monday, 16 September 2013

Space Dimension Controller - Correlation #1

Label: Clone Royal Oak

Since his appearance on the scene in 2009, Irish producer Jack Hamill, aka Space Dimension Controller, has attracted attention for both his music and his mythos. The SDC sound, a hardware-fed blend of funk, house and disco, has always been strong, with glittering hits such as The Love Quadrant and Transatlantic Landing Bay studding his early career. More recently, however, Hamill has become just as known for his dedication to the scifi narrative of his full-length releases, with extensive liner notes and even long dramatic monologues on his recent Welcome To Mikrosector-50. If anything, Hamill’s return to Clone is a paring down: his name has received the acronym treatment, the release is narrative-free (there’s barely a press release), and his sound is more stripped and precise than ever before. The Correlation EP, the first in a planned series, is a tasteful and colourful outing, yet unfortunately suffers from a loss of energy around its mid-section.

Opener First Glance is as strong an SDC track as you’ll ever hear, and a winning start to the release. The build-up is slow but promising, as Hamill allows jazzy synth notes to play lightly across a field of detailed percussive textures. It’s not a case of restraint though: when the snares roll and the synthline squeals out there’s a free-jazz energy that bursts through the song’s glossy ambience. After such an exhilarating introduction, listeners will be wanting more, yet the energy level of that first rush is never really revisited. Butterflies of Malaysia is a chilled-out number which ventures uncomfortably close to lounge territory, while even the more compelling drumwork of Familiar Terrain never manages to summon the breathless energy of the opener. It’s a polished track, right down to the dubbed-out piano keys that trace the drums of its second half, but it lacks the opener’s irresistible urgency.

Penultimate cut Chemoreceptor goes for a different style, and is more successful as a result. Lying on a bed of bristling, insectoid scratches, dark bass swipes and the lightest of synth touches carress the white space, unfolding achingly slowly into a sophisticated house burner, using its pent-up anticipation to leave a real impression. Finally the release closes with Petrichor, named for the smell of earth after rain has fallen, which is a short and pretty (albeit insubstantial) dabble in ambient atmospherics and water effects. There’s nothing mind-boggling about SDC’s latest but it’s a classy, at times excellent listen, and a welcome return to the cosmic funk of one of house’s stratospheric citizens.


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