- Dance music isn't exactly known for its artist albums. In general, the vast majority of producers are in the singles-and-EPs game, with albums tending to be the capstone of a particular period or the start of a new direction. Though his career is still very much at its beginning, Space Dimension Controller, AKA Jack Hamill, gives the impression he might be heading in the direction of becoming an album artist: his last R&S release, Temporary Thrills, was a supremely focused and surprisingly complete double pack, and his latest for the label, The Pathway To Tiraquon6, which press releases somewhat downplay as a "prequel" to his debut album-in-earnest, is an excellent quasi-full-length. Not really listenable in any way other than from start to finish, Tiraquon6 is the first dance record I've heard this year that I can call—smirk-free—a song cycle. And while it doesn't forsake all that has heretofore made Space Dimension Controller your favorite Mr. 8040, it's very much not a retread of his past material.
Before we arrive at the first immediately recognizable SDC moment, the future-by-way-of-1983 groover "Flight of the Escaped Vessels," we've encountered some deeply unfamiliar space-flotsam: a pair of ambient cuts ridden with decaying bytes ("2257 AD," "Last Sunset on Planet Earth"), a time capsule full of warped drum & bass ("Pulsovian Invasion") and a crunchy jack-track ("Usurper") that could be Mathematics's 5000th release. Even as Hamill settles into what's typically been his comfort zone during the album's second half, the results feel advanced.
On "Confined to Deep Space" and "Max Tiraquon," SDC continues to inject the off-kilter, unquantized shuffle of Dam-Funk into the trappings of house, but there's a new insistence and dexterity to his irregular beats. The relatively standard "Tiraquon's Return (A New Home)" creates a kind of false landing pad, suggesting all these new looks might just be costumes. But "Closing Titles" provides the kind of open ending that feels more befitting of the collection: uncertain flutters of Italo descend into a disconcertingly high noise floor, leaving you with the feeling of watching a spacecraft plunge ever deeper into an unknown universe. If you stick around for the final moments, you'll hear a quick blurb about the forthcoming Welcome to Mikrosector-5. Don't let this diminish The Pathway to Tiraquon6: preview-of-sorts or not, it's a worthy contender in its own right.
01. Feature Presentation
02. 2257 AD
03. Pulsovian Invasion
04. Last Sunset On Planet Earth
06. Flight of the Escape Vessels
07. Confined to Deep Space
08. Max Tiraquon
09. Floating Blind Through Blue Trails
10. Tiraquon's Return (A New Home)
11. Closing Title