Since 2009, John Dimas has been keeping contemporary minimal, loop-based music sounding sleek and soulful. His substantial catalogue of EPs on labels like raum…musik, One Records and Raresh’s Metereze (though largely slept on by wider audiences) are sought-after goods for DJs operating at the crossover between house and techno. Amongst his later releases, too, we’ve seen sci-fi seep further into his work in both concept and sound. Beyond titles like 2016’s Multiverse and 2017’s Telexistence, there’s been a subtle lift from the deep and techy club-thumpers and into a spacier realm. Elephant Moon – the label he launched in 2015 – sets its location as the ‘Andromeda Galaxy’, and the near-dozen releases so far support this claim nicely.
What better home for his biggest release, then, than his own cosmic imprint. We’re transported deep into the faded, blue-tinged galaxy on the handmade collage cover, guided by 14 chapters on galaxies, stars, asteroids, and planets. Machines whirr and bleep, thick basslines travel weightlessly, and synths – like signals – pulsate into a twinkling abyss. But as the record’s bookends make clear this is, in his own words, an excursion Into and Out of My Mind. At once introspective and outwardlooking, we are invited in on a voyage around his own universe.
Clearly, Dimas thrives in the space afforded by a long player format. One Against Time is a fluid and cohesive release which flaunts his signature skittering, shuffling, or smooth-sliding looped rhythms with finesse. Yet mingled into this framework are a whole range of sounds from his own lineage of influences. There’s a familiarity to the moodier, cruising cuts like Digital Moon, Delusions, and Cosmic Epiphany, as if they occupy a parallel realm to Juan Atkins and Moritz von Oswald’s Borderlands: Transport project. Amongst acid, Chicago, and wonky electro are also the garage twangs on Lost & Found and trip-hop on the downbeat curveball Riko’s Trip - it’s a tightly packed release.
One Against Time is Dimas’ showpiece. Stylistically, it's on the same deep and minimal trajectory as his other projects. But carried by Dimas’ ear for detail, we are drawn into a universe rich in a variety of patterns, textures and sounds, and stamped by his own personal experiences on this planet. A truly curious and captivating debut.
Words: Josie Roberts