Space Dimension Controller's new EP - the prelude to a full-length album - is proof of three very important and significant points about modern electronic music.
- While techno can seem to be all about forcefully dark and misanthropically minimalist structures (something I do endorse) there's still plenty of room for lush landscapes and the epically cosmic.
- R&S records will never be "too old for this shit", they still very much have it, and are putting out bold and challenging records that are well worth paying attention to.
- Artists should never write their own press releases.
"In the mid 24th Century, a cosmic accident caused Mr. 8040, the Space Dimension Controller, to spiral back through time to the year 2009. Over the past year, stranded in our time, and confined to his Electropod. Mr. 8040 has been preparing an account of the events that led to the discovery of Mikrosector-50 and the creation of the Tiraquon6 security barrier...."
After a further six paragraphs of Buck Rogers/ Star Wars EU / 2000 AD-styled ramblings about "the Pulsovian leader, Xymah the Usurper", "the flourescent trails of [an] electropod", "micron accelerators" and time travel, we finally conclude this rambling origin story.
Utter bollocks; hammier than Raul Julia in Street Fighter and manages about as much subtlety as the worst David Gemmel novel.
However, as a great man once warned us, "It's Hip to Be Disillusioned" and you have to admire the sheer indulgence of the writing - this was never meant to be cool. Affectionate parody or ludicrous indulgence, it perfectly sums up the EP's content; Moroder-esque analogue synths chock out hi-energy disco riffs alongside Detroit electro rhythms worthy of Model 500, expousing a complex narrative over the eleven tracks. In fitting with the storytelling concept, the EP is bookended by a Feature Presentation and Closing Credits, the former a swift synth noodle of the EP's leitmotifs, whilst the latter starts off riff-centric, blurs away into a void of drawn-out drones and springs a surprising coda. Inbetween, we get the RGC-esque machine funk of Pulsovian Invasion, the beatless Last Sunset On Planet Earth, and deliciously retro techno in Tiraquon's Return (A New Home) and Usurper.
Whilst SDC's unashamedly hyperactive and indulgent style will turn more resolute techno heads away, Pathway is a strongly crafted EP that showcases a brave new talent. Space Dimension Controller is comfortable in his geekiness, and he has a real ear for melody.
Admittedly it is hard to find workable DJ tools. The strong narrative focus naturally leads to a more meandering piece that relies on context, and the continual spacey interludes seem more designed as album filler. However, for those with a love of R&S' golden age, cosmic disco and Juan Atkins, this is pure dynamite.