- Q & A – Part 6
- Dimensional Space [Original 2CD Edition] :: Review
- Digital Bonus Content :: Review
- Vinyl Remaster :: Review
- Alchemy CD Edition :: Review
It appears that the rule of thumb with cv313 is: expect the unexpected. When it transpired that Dimensional Space consisted of seven completely new tracks, it left the dangling question of what happened to all those singles that preceded it, all of which are absent here. It turns out the answer is simple: Dimensional Space evolves, always about the current and never the past. There’s no grounds to complain either, frankly, as all that back catalog material exists alongside a wealth of new tracks previously unavailable elsewhere that sees cv313 operating at its most mysterious.
Dimensional Space was the debut album proper by cv313, but now exists in a number of wildly different configurations, so let’s try to make some sense of it all, if that’s even possible.
Q & A with Stephen Hitchell
The history of Dimensional Space is a long, turbulent and painful one. If you can bear it, could you talk us through the genesis, troubled production and final release of this long-awaited album?
SH :: “The adjectives are true. Regarding this album, it has undoubtedly proven to be a long, turbulent and a painful one. For starters, my entire studio flooded with nearly a foot of water. And that was three years ago. I lost all of the original content for these recordings. With that said, I found a way to develop something radically different from where this album started, and ultimately, where it ended. Hindsight is always 20/20. And looking back at it now, this album ended up in a better place than it had originally begun.”
Dimensional Space is much darker and more brooding than your previous work, as typified by tracks like “Durveda” and “Luna Petra”. Was this the original intention for the album, or a reflection of the difficulties in finally getting it out into the world?
SH :: “Luna Petra is about passion; the type that never ceases to exist. Durveda encapsulates the experience of walking on the dark side of the street, and feeling really good about it. It is about celebration. Sometimes, and I do hope that I am not speaking too frankly when I say now, that when you are an artist invested in a creative process, things naturally mature. How they are meant to become is up to the universe, and not up to me. The end result would not have become what it is now if it never was to begin with. In so may words, enlightenment is always the greater path to truth. Love is undeniable. Everything I invest into my work, I do so in my life, today.”
The album itself was, surprisingly, comprised of seven new and previously unreleased tracks. Had you been keeping these tracks back for the album for a long time, or are they mostly newer tracks?
SH :: “Evolution can be an unfamiliar, yet an inviting occurrence. :)
With that said, elements of the original source material were present but had to be reworked and reshaped due to the loss of the finished tracks.”
Will any of the tracks on Dimensional Space be released as singles with alternate versions in the future?
SH :: “With everything I write, there is always an alternate version. There is a plethora of options, in terms of what I would like to release. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. All I can find is some degree of translation as to what the work means to me. If it doesn’t resonate, it will stay in the archives.”
Where did the idea for the second disc, a massive compendium of remixes of “Subtraktive”, come from?
SH :: “I have had a lot of friends express complete and utter love for this composition. I felt they could bring something that I couldn’t think of to the table. I felt honored in their vision for this complete and unique piece of work. The concept wasn’t to convey or display the integrity of the original, but to highlight the beauty of their uniqueness. The end result is simply lush.”
There’s an impressive range of artists that have remixed both “Subtraktive” and other tracks by cv313. How do you go about collating remixes by yourself and other artists?
SH :: “That’s easy. I just go with the flow of my heart. I am deeply humbled by everyone involved with this particular project.”
There was obviously a massive surplus of material that could have been included on Dimensional Space, as illustrated by the additional material exclusive to both the upfront, downloadable digital version of the album and the exclusive tracks on the vinyl edition. How did you go about choosing what to exclude?
SH :: “I kept it current, and as real as possible. I selected tracks for this album that felt the most cohesive, and could tell a story, like a script for a David Lynch movie, which has yet to manifest. It is dark, foreboding, and has all the ominous and psychological implications of seduction. But to the point, I lost interest in what I was doing for all of this, and made a decision to explore new avenues. And, that is exactly what Dimensional Space represents.”
Dimensional Space :: Original 2CD Edition
Disk 1 :: Dimensional Space
- Luna Petra :: 9:55
- Serenity Thru Sorrow :: 13:00
- Clouds Beyond :: 10:07
- Energies Collide :: 12:51
- Durveda :: 7:50
- Evocation :: 10:02
- Sella Bay :: 15:50
It’s hard to imagine a stronger opener than “Luna Petra,” immediately situating Dimensional Space in darker, more brooding territory. The depth of focus is sublime, layering the deepest, pounding base pulse underneath waves of shimmering pads, shaker percussion, and texturing present here it’s impossible not to get lost. When the distorted, slowed vocal kicks in, the piece is complete. Indeed every subsequent listen is fueled by a tension and anticipation of the final culmination of “Luna Petra”‘s unstoppable, tidal build up earning it the accolade of one the most sublime pieces of music Hitchell has ever produced.
“Serenity Thru Sorrow” is classic territory for Hitchell in The Coldest Season style, hissing jets of steam enshrouding chitinous hats, shuffling pads and a sub-bass rumble before the pace picks up on the propulsive downhill rumble and tumble of “Clouds Beyond”.
The drifting “Energies Collide”—unlike its brethren in Dimensional Space—assumes a weightless, crackling and ethereal form, with subtle melodic melancholy and blustery solar winds vividly channeling Hitchell’s classic extended one-track Variant album Falling Stars. “Evocation” takes this even further and combines it with more Coldest Season hiss.
One of the biggest surprises to appear here is the pitch-black “Durveda,” revealing an inky, deep-sea murk that would later come to the fore in Hitchell’s newest Phase 90 work. It bubbles and rumbles over a bed of engine noise and tinny chattering as searchlight beams reveal plumes of gas and rippling pools of super-heavy underwater oil. Nothing else in the cv313 canon quite comes close to this.
Dimensional Space then closes with the crumbling cliff-faces of “Sella Bay,” a super-deep workout of skanking bass throb, electrical thrum, chittering crickets and clattering metal struts. Immense.
Disk 2 :: Subtraktive
- Subtraktive [Remastered] :: 15:44
- Subtraktive [The Sight Below Mix] :: 6:30
- Subtraktive [Luke Hess + Brian Kage’s Reference Mix] :: 11:57
- Subtraktive [DeepChord Presents Echospace Live Dub] Remastered :: 10:42
- Subtraktive [King Midas Sound Dub] :: 6:43
- Subtraktive [Intrusion’s Enchantment] Extended Version :: 22:17
- Subtraktive [Bvdub’s Journey East Of The Lotus Leaves] :: 20:05
The real surprise on this edition of Dimensional Space was that the second disc was not given over to any of the previous cv313 singles, but instead served as full album’s worth of remixes of the celebrated “Subtraktive,” that roils and swells like the waves on the ocean and the rush and roar of great rivers.
Even better is just how varied this disc sounds, thanks to some stellar reworkings like “The Sight Below Mix 2.0” that muffles everything under Iritarri’s Gas-like low pass filters as sensuous and mysterious guitars purr in the distance, or the dance-floor friendly “Luke Hess + Brian Kage Reference Mix” that shuffles hi-hats, melodic bass lines, clangs, whistles and tweets into the deck.
The “King Midas Sound Dub” is possibly the only misstep, a weird and unsettling twist on the original sandwiched between two far more recognizable and conventional Deepchord presents Echospace and Intrusion mixes. This excellent disc of material is heart-stoppingly rounded off by that always essential combination of Hitchell and Brock van Wey in the deeply melancholy, angelic vocal-tinged “Bvdub’s Journey East of the Lotus Leaves,” the tug of the receding tide never quite so deeply felt in “Subtraktive” as it is here.
Dimensional Space :: Bonus Digital Exclusive Tracks
- Luna Petra [Live Mix] :: 13:46
- Energies Collide [Live Mix] :: 12:33
- Subtraktive [The Sight Below Mix 1.0] :: 6:08
- Subtraktive [Fingertip Contrail By Area] :: 9:39
- Subtraktive [Intrusion Twilight Dub] :: 8:20
- Infinit-1 [Remastered] :: 5:55
- Infinit-1 [Remodeled + Remastered] :: 5:26
- Space :: 11:53
- Dimensional : 12:04
- Steering By Starlight :: 10:55
- Jasna Gora :: 15:38
The digital bonus content available exclusively to those that order the original 2CD edition label-direct from the Bandcamp site is an embarrassment of riches in and of itself. This begins with early, live versions of “Luna Petra” and “Energies Collide” that both provide an interesting insight into the far more sparse and skeletal early origins of these deepest of tracks.
There are a few additional remixes of “Subtraktive” included that didn’t make it onto the second disc of ‘Dimensional Space,’ most interesting of which is the ambient “Fingertip Contrail by Area.”
The previously vinyl-only “Infinit-1” is present here in two versions: the skull-knocking clonk of the original in newly remastered form, and the radically different “Remodeled” interpretation that brightens, electrifies and houses up the skeletal original considerably.
Two tracks you’d think would have been included on the main album given their names, the classic “Dimensional” and “Space” from that earliest of cv313 EP’s of the same name are included here as well, which is a nice touch.
And finally there are two exclusive tracks that don’t appear anywhere else in the cv313 catalogue. The sparse “Stearing by Starlight” launches firework flares into a hissing ether that’s cut to ribbons by scissor slicing hats and the dubbed out skank of “Jasna Gora” is scoured by coarse static and pounding, echo chambers of bass.
Dimensional Space :: 3LP Vinyl Edition
- Luna Petra :: 9:54
- Clouds Beyond :: 10:08
- Beyond The Clouds [Seconds To Forever Live Mix] :: 21:41
- Isis [Reimagined] :: 19:18
- Beyond Starlit Skies [Reimagined] :: 14:35
- Sella Bay :: 15:50
In November 2014, a six track, triple vinyl iteration of Dimensional Space was released that only had three tracks in common with the original. Freshly remastered for vinyl at Alchemy in London, it is housed in a screen printed sleeve with a striking new design by House of Traps that recalls the stylized internal organs sleevage of Orbital’s In Sides.
“Beyond the Clouds [Seconds To Forever Live Mix]” is a twenty-one minute edit of the crucial middle section of the amazing, sixty-minute Seconds To Forever Extended Live Excursion album released back in 2011 and makes for a killer addition to Dimensional Space.
“Isis [Reimagined]” is a new take on a track that first debuted on the Echospace [Detroit] presents: Altering Illusions Chapter One: cv313 double CD compliation, only here it is transformed into a near twenty-minute mix of giddying, out of focus keys, wall-vibrating bass blooms and hypnotic, reverb drenched ambiance.
But perhaps the finest new body to appear hurtling through Dimensional Space is the stellar “Beyond Starlit Skies [Reimagined],” a crackling ball of electrical energy with a rapidly beating core, tendrils of static hiss and a gaseous ambient corona.
Dimensional Space :: Alchemy CD Edition
- Luna Petra [Alchemy Remaster] :: 9:54
- Clouds Beyond [Reprise] :: 14:33
- Clouds Beyond [Alchemy Remastered Mix] :: 10:08
- Sella Bay [Unreleased Edit] :: 11:11
- Beyond Dreams :: 20:07
- Cloudburst :: 5:54
- Isis [Remake] :: 6:40
And finally, here we are in December 2016 with a new Alchemy edition on CD, featuring yet another clutch of new tracks to further the seemingly ever-expanding realms of Dimensional Space.
To clear up any confusion, the track labelled “Clouds Beyond (Reprise)” here is actually the same track that is labelled “Beyond Starlit Skies [Reimagined]” from the 3LP Alchemy Edition, while “Sella Bay [Unreleased Edit]” is essentially just a cut down version of the original, with the Alchemy Remaster.
Where this new edition differs is in the stunning suite of new ambient tracks at the end of Dimensional Space. This begins with “Beyond Dreams,” a truly intoxicating new twenty-minute journey that begins with birdsong and muted, almost choral intonations and a characteristic hiss that forms the backbone of this slowly building, shimmering, streaming comet of a track. The shuddering sub-bass that joins later completes the effect, but it’s the way the track ends that’s the most affecting, extinguished so suddenly it leaves an aching gap in the space it previously occupied.
The six-minute “Cloudburst” recalls Deepchord presents Echospace’s Liumin Reduced in the best possible way, being basically distantly heard drones underpinning immersively mixed and processed field recordings, this time of torrential rain drenching illuminated night time urban streets.
And finally we have “Isis (Remake)” that continues the eccentric orbit this piece has taken over the years, with no two versions sounding even more alike. This is the shortest take on the track yet, at six and half minutes, and is probably the deepest and darkest.
It’s highly unusual to come across multiple editions of effectively the same album with such radically different content, but it’s been fascinating to observe Dimensional Space‘s evolution over the years. Each edition brings its own unique essence to the table, telling distinctly different stories, and while the mastering on the two Alchemy Edition’s is easily superior, that expansive original double CD edition contains some truly essential works that have long since vanished.
So is this where we finally get off? Has the path to Dimensional Space ended here? Possibly, but it has been one hell of a journey.