Album Review: Space Dimension Controller – Journey To The Core Of The Unknown Sphere

[Clone; 2010]

When the announcement was made that the young Irish house prodigy Space Dimension Controller would be collaborating with the equally prodigious and equally young Detroit producer Kyle Hall, it was just as surprising as it was sensible. The two producers have disarmingly similar styles, both rooted in early melodic Detroit house and techno while maintaining their own unique styles: two peas in a pod despite the Atlantic Ocean looming between them. The thought of Space Dimension Controller’s noodly melodies hemmed in by Hall’s dirty percussion and impressive grasp of all things low-end (see his recent gestures towards dubstep) is an almost irresistibly appealing thought, and the first idea of what it might sound like appears so casually on the Controller’s second release.

Journey To The Core Of The Unknown Sphere is SDC’s first release on venerable record shop and electronic music presence Clone’s new Royal Oak imprint, a surprisingly lengthy EP where he’s allowed to stretch his spindly and. The title track is anthem, lush neon and soft squelches like acid with all the harshness shaved off. It’s one of those impossibly cool tunes that sounds like classic cars and sunglasses and decadent cityscapes. All of that might sound a little cliche but it’s held down by his unusually great grasp of slippery melodies that slide and spiral out from the impossibly bright core of bass and crisp drums: you can tell a Space Dimension Controller track when you hear one. Kyle Hall does away with the sprawl and ups the tempo for a remix full of his trademark chunky percussion and lush faux-string pads, repurposed for rhythm rather than the gorgeous melodies they usually . Reflecting his recent move into UK bass (his fantastic single on Hyperdub in March is not to be missed), his version is all about the twitching bass underneath the track, and could easily be a Kyle Hall original in its own right if it weren’t for the gaudy ribbons of melody that come in about halfway through, unmistakably the work of the Controller.

The EP is rounded off with two more originals, the dubby “BBD Alignment” which heaves and throbs as it luxuriously coasts along, turning its focus inward where the usually limber beams of melody become brilliant snippets of compressed colour. “Cosmo30 Travel Duration” is the hardest-driving track here; if the title track had slight acid tendencies this one goes full bore with squelch, before the disco ball explodes into blissed-out, stained-glass multicolour. The deep shades of red, green, and blue are hastily stuffed into some unseen compartment as the EP winds down much too soon — that Kyle Hall collaboration better come fast. I want more.