- Looking back on the year 2976.
- Detroit techno's space travelers meet on Terrence Dixon's latest album release, issued on the digital arm of Jeff Mills' Axis label. Galactic Halo is a mind-bending vision of techno with a highbrow concept yet gritty, unpretentious execution. It's Terrence Dixon's tale of a new, Saturn-type planet in 2976, whose Halo ring is a sign of infinity given to those who complete one mission around. Both Dixon and Mills have been so innovatively committed to this style of sci-fi techno that any space odyssey clichés are excused.
Dixon's signature, unsettling atmospheres create an intensely cinematic soundworld and story. There's no need for radio room transmissions—it's quite clear where we're meant to be. The short runtime works in the album's favour. It's a concise story with each track bringing something new and powerful. The music is minimal in its few elements and uncomplicated arrangements, but there's a lot going on. Each component, and its trailing reverb or delay, fizzes around like asteroids in the sky. You can feel the live programming in the tracks' rough edges and it adds to the sense of adventure.
In an interview on Jeff Mills' Facebook page, Dixon said the harmonies in the music come from confusion and frustrations in his life. The title track and "Multiple Star" have particularly otherworldly melody and bassline combinations, which sound like the kind of spiralling chaos you might feel when alone, far outside the earth's orbit. I'd back a couple of the tracks, from Galactic Halo's first half in particular, to clear a dance floor, but those who stay would be transported in a way unique to Dixon's music.
The second half is smoother, once you're past the furthest reaches of the imaginary galaxy and on the way back around the ring. "Perfect Vacuum" is a highlight, its filter sweeps resembling a black hole opening and closing. "Quasar" and "Teleportation" are also easily digestible by Dixon's uncompromising standards, great examples of how beautiful his music can be. Even at a time when Jeff Mills has been prolific with his own output and that of Axis, Galactic Halo stands out as something special.
01. Centrifugal Force
02. Direct Drive
03. Galactic Halo
04. Multiple Star
05. Perfect Vacuum
07. Space Opera