Published Nov 13, 2019Welcome to Mikrosector-50, Jack Hamill's debut full-length as Space Dimension Controller, was an ambitious piece of narrative-driven space-funk that made good on the promise shown in his singles and EPs up to that point. Released back in 2013, it introduced us to Mr. 8040, a galactic explorer on a dangerous journey back to his home world.
Six years later, things are similarly dire (if not exactly original) on Love Beyond the Intersect, with Hamill's numerical hero crash-landed on a distant planet with no escape. It's a tighter, more focussed version this time around, however, (the lengthy narrative exposition dumps have been jettisoned into deep-space for instance), and after 11 well-crafted tracks of funked-out bass lines, spacey synths, and more robot-voiced pseudo-rapping from the man himself (once again gamely played by Hamill), you'll be glad you were along for this latest, more polished adventure.
Hamill sticks with similar-sounding hardware to Mr. 8040's last outing, retaining an inviting analogue vibe over the pristine digital soundscapes others might use as soon as someone says the word sci-fi, and it's satisfying to hear an artist avoid the pitfall of assuming that a narratively and thematically ambitious project needs a similar level of excess in its production. Hamill's latest is free of this, but full of attention to detail in the simpler things, sounding very lived-in and hands-on; practiced live countless times, with all the insight that should bring. It also grounds his sound more explicitly in the rough and ready '80s electro-funk groove he's working in. Mr. 8040's gruff exclamations are probably the most obvious relic of this funky past, saying things like "system failure" and "computer down" with the requisite period detail, but they're not the only one.
It's not a hard or particularly dance-oriented record however, sticking mostly to mid and slower tempos — veering perhaps even into sexiness now and then, with Mr. 8040 emitting some amusingly intimate sighs. It is, however, lively and playful, and there's a gorgeous ambient piece midway through, in the form of "Intersect Encounter," that breaks things up nicely. Love Beyond the Intersect is a worthy followup that refines what was good about its predecessor, and if only one can fit in the space time-capsule, this should be it. (R&S)