Review: Space Dimension Controller @ Wire

“He has built himself a complex space-opera mythos that pushes the boundaries of funkiness.” Rarely has there been such a stirring description for an event on Facebook. It’s enough to make anyone don their space suit and go to Wire on a bitter Bonfire Night to be warmed by swathes of SDC’s interstellar groove. He has released some great material on R&S in recent years, albums that take you on a sublime, cosmic journey into the unknown with a soundscape that playfully utilise ambient, techno and disco.

Yet this unique sound doesn’t translate well into a claustrohobic subterranean club in Yorkshire.

Occasionally he will open up great wormholes of silence before dropping the sound of a dying star, almost putting the fear of God into you. But for the most part, the set never achieves lift off. The freaky lasered synths and Trekky samples are a bit lame unfortunately. It’s like watching the first Star Wars films: they’re pretty iconic, but the acting is dreadful and the sets are quite clearly made of plastic.

The night is nowhere near as funky as it was billed, either. A bit of disco might have grounded the experience, rather than it getting lost somewhere in the galaxy. Space was a problem on the dancefloor as well: there was too much of it. It seems that most people would rather look up at the real stars and firework-constellations above Woodhouse Moor than come and imagine them in here.

Personally, if I wanted sci fi, I’d go and listen to Kid A.

Ever since Cerrone by Supernature, there has been a strong link between the cosmos and disco, and the genre still shows promise with Todd Terje’s startling space-odyssey It’s Album Time. But, on tonight’s performance, Space Dimension Controller needs to be pulled back down to earth.

[Oliver Walkden]

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