Space Dimension Controller – The Bad People
In early 2008, age 18, Space Dimension Controller (R&S, Clone Royal Oak) made his first album in his bedroom in Belfast, out now on Ninja Tune.
Crunchy, tattered and enjoyably odd – “Orange Melamine” is a lovingly produced and deeply personal album that laces supernatural sounds and translucent synths with a sense of overflowing harmony. Washed in reverb and draped in hiss, the album draws influence from the old VHS tapes handed down to Space Dimension Controller from his older brother and cousins, as well as artists like Boards of Canada, Brian Eno and William Basinski. The album is also steeped in audio and visual references from 80’s and 90’s sci-fi films and animations; from The Guyver, Short Circuit, The Gobots, and Ghostbusters through to The Fifth Element, Escape from New York and Power Rangers.
The recording process involved Space Dimension Controller (real name Jack Hamill) using a batch of unopened pyral cassette tapes from the 70’s, some of which were so old they had degraded, he claims: “A lot of the drum sounds were created from scratch in some granular programs and putting them onto the tapes really changed the sound of them. Every track in each track was recorded separately onto one of these tapes at double speed and 200% pitch then the tape was recorded back into the DAW at half speed. Looking back at it now, I can’t believe how patient I was when making this album, it really took a long time.” The use of these tapes creates a rough prettiness and incessant buzz beneath the stuttering beats and glitch-heavy techno effects. On tracks like “The Bad People” and “West G Cafetaria” Hamill, like the best producers of his ilk, has made something just short of pop music without compromising the album’s essential strange qualities.
The title refers to Hamill’s memories of living with his grandparents when he was younger; the orange comes from the 80s style tiling in their kitchen, and the melamine from the snake enclosures his grandfather helped build for him. About the album he explained that: “it definitely means a lot to me as it really shows a very specific time in my production and life. I feel very nostalgic thinking about the period when I was making it all.”
On “Orange Melamine” Hamill skilfully displays his early ability to make electronic tracks there are intricate and futuristic but also imbued with personality. Original without being difficult, enjoyable while being distinctive; that ‘Orange Melamine’ triumphs without compromise is testament to a distinctively creative artist.
Buy it here. Stream “The Bad People” below.