Sunday, February 02, 2020

Helen Stinson interview, Drexciya press clippings, Avina Vishnu film and more

There is a brilliant interview (below) with James Stinson's mother, Helen, by Haqq over on the Drexciya Empire YouTube channel. The softcover edition of The Book of Drexciya Volume One pre-orders are being posted out by Tresor but the hardcover will be delayed until May according to them.

Dopplereffekt play live with DJ Stingray, Ectomorph and more at Tresor, Berlin on 13th March.

There has been a vinyl re-press of Drexciya's Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller I-IV on Clone Records. This will keep it at reasonable prices and more easy to find at least.

This is the newly uploaded 40 minute film made to accompany Avina Vishnu's Transforma album on WeMe Records. There are still a few copies left of the album on double orange vinyl at just 10 euro from WeMe. The film will premier in Augsburg, Germany on 29th February.

There is a new track, 'Binary State Zero', up on the Daughter Produkt Bandcamp, that brings the total to ten.

I found and scanned this brilliant Cristian Vogel piece about the contents of his DJ box from Melody Maker (12/11/94). He made some really great selections including Drexciya's The Unknown Aquazone 12".

I was also really happy to find this in the 4/6/94 issue of Melody Maker (I have zero memory of reading it at the time). Amazing to think of Drexciya's The Unknown Aquazone double pack getting single of the week in the dance section of this UK magazine. It was written by Dave Mothersole, who would interview Drexciya for the same magazine about six months later in 1995.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Abstract Thought EP 12" review

Abstract Thought EP (2019)

You never know what project, new or old, will appear next from the posthumous Drexciyan canon via Clone Records but something from Abstract Thought was certainly unexpected. This three track 12" first appeared at Clone's pop-up shop at the Amsterdam Dance Event, which was also how last year's A Moment of Insanity 12" by Transllusion was first released. This time there was no melodramatic lost DAT tape backstory, instead we just get three high quality untitled tracks, said to be 'taken from the original project tapes from 2003, recorded around the same time as the well known full length album release'. In a way to me these tracks don't even sound particularly like the Abstract Thought album but this should not be surprising as they were probably never outtakes in my opinion, but approached as a whole new release (if not project). I personally wouldn't put too much weight on the Abstract Thought connection but they do certainly have many of James Stinson's signature sounds and approaches.

'A1 Untitled' starts off with some bare drum programming and gradually builds up, with an addictive wriggly riff at its core and throughout. Over the top some atmospheric textures get added as elements are dropped in and out. There is one point where it gets very minimal indeed and gets very reverby and free-form. This stripping away could be interpreted as a way to reveal the very soul of the track before everything comes back in more or less as before. This is a brilliant track, sounding uniquely itself, a new universe of possibility which makes you wish James was still around to explore beyond it.

'A2 Untitled' starts off with the riff/lead part first and then again begins to build, but more quickly than before. After awhile there are some really warm tones that cover it and quite a few elements begin working together and sparking off each other that at least two if not three melodies are dividing your attention but yet it all somehow works together very well.  The breakdown here is not as severe or prolonged as the previous track and then it begins again to pull us along but in slightly different directions that before. A very subtle shift has occurred. I love the sad notes played for awhile about halfway through, a beautiful melody which somehow feels familiar. The track is just over 8 minutes and really stretches itself out and never gets boring.

'B1 Untitled' is also quite long at just over 8 minutes (both sides are cut at 33) but has a faster tempo than the others. It takes its time to get started and is much darker in mood than the others as well. The main beat sounds more like a flare than a drum sound to me. It could have worked very well in a dark club like the original Tresor basement when people fancied a breather but not a change of mood. At the end you can really appreciate this was made in one take as things get pressed and notes are played within more of a human time frame. The vinyl gives all the tracks a nice, full frequency bassy sound with loads of depth.

I'm reviewing this from the white label but from the images of the artwork I've seen online I really like the design and how it all looks and plan to pick up a copy for my collection as well. The hand-drawn quality of the cover image reminds me a little of Joy Division's iconic Unknown Pleasures diagram. This is a very strong EP, for me quite unconnected from any other existing record or project. I'm hoping there is more unreleased material to come in the years ahead, especially if it's of this quality.

You can sample and purchase it from Clone here and elsewhere online and in real record shops too of course. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

New Abstract Thought EP available soon, relaunch of Daugther Produkt and more

'Music beamed through Dimensional Waves by Abstract Thought. 3 unnamed Abstract Thoughts taken from the original project tapes from 2003, recorded around the same time as the well known full length album release. Sonic expressions that will need your own interpretation to lead to a reality-oriented conclusion.'

The new Abstract Thought EP on Clone's Aqualung is available from 9th December. You can pre-order and hear samples of all three tracks here.

Nine brand new tracks are currently available on a new Daughter Produkt Bandcamp. This is one of Heinrich Mueller's collaborative projects which first appeared in 2007 on MySpace and 10 years later re-emerged with a track on Tresor's Dreamy Harbor compilation. This latest iteration includes Richard Smith, Sarah Davachi, Barbara Castelvi, Ruben Spiel, Anna Cadabra, Elena Sizova and Christina Vantzou. While you can download these individual tracks, hopefully an album or physical release is on the way. Some stunning music there already.

In the current issue of the French magazine, Technikart, there is an extensive piece about Drexciya written by Jean-Baptiste Chiara. You can read the whole text here.

If you click on the Multimedia page on Dopplereffekt's new website you will find a new Dimensional Gate, (No. 4). It will bring you to their Bandcamp page where there are now two unreleased tracks and the Calabi Yau Space album, nice.

A Qadim Haqq is on a book tour for The Book of Drexciya, check put dates on his Drexciyan Empire page. The book can be bought on the tour but will be available from March from Tresor.

Arpanet's long out of press album, Quantum Transposition (2005), is now available for the first time as a digital download on Bandcamp (with new cover artwork). It was originally released on Rephlex Records and when that label closed they returned all the rights to the artists. I actually listened to this on vinyl not that long ago and am enjoying streaming it now, amazing album, very experimental and pushing at the boundaries for sure.

I have been diligently keeping the DRL discography up to date, it now lists all of Heinrich Mueller's latest Bandcamp releases and new projects.

I've made a Drexciya special for my monthly Time Travel show on Dublin Digital Radio. As it's just an hour long show I've kept it to music only released as Drexciya (no side projects). I tell their basic story in between tracks. I kicked things off with a real rarity, 'Interstellar Crime Report' from UR's Interstellar Fugitives. You can listen here.

For no good reason here are all three physical editions of Drexciya's Neptune's Lair. Actually I had noticed that someone else made the connection with Abu Qadim Haqq's artwork and the double vinyl and wanted to take a better shot. I was damn lucky to come across the cassette edition in Poland (not a bootleg, licensed to Outside Media), now wish I'd bought every one they had in stock! Neptune's Lair turned 20 this year too.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Abstract Thought on Clone Aqualung and more

Great news, it looks like the next release on Clone Records Aqualung label will be a 12" by Abstract Thought. Not much more is known but I'm told these images came from Clone's Instagram account (may not be still there now). I was just sent this info by an eagle eyed reader, thanks.

The pics were taken during the Amsterdam Dance Event at Clone's pop-up shop, which is still ongoing (maybe it will be possible to buy it there during the festival?). This is how they launched the Transllusion 12" last year, at some kind of event like this but the record was for sale. There is no more info about it online. Can't wait, I had a feeling there would be more unreleased/reissued or maybe new material this year as well but something under the Abstract Thought name was unexpected.

A new sound-desk recording of Arpanet live in December 2018, an hour of new and unreleased material, grab this one while you can, great stuff.

This might spark some pre-internet memories for some of you, when choice independent records could be ordered by mail from small ads in the back of the NME and Melody Maker. I was impressed to see that Drexciya's Molecular Enhancement EP on Rephlex is listed (for just £6.49!). The ad is from Xmas 1993, which means the year of release (1994) on Discogs is wrong. Anyone know the exact date of release, possibly it was late '93 or even December?

I was sent a link for an Italian fanzine, Tunnel, from 1993 that listed Drexcya's Bubble Metropolis as the record of the year. You can down the whole zine (in Italian) at link.

This is a 2 hour radio special in German on Drexciya with plenty of talk and great tunes by DJ and producer Deep Down Dave on Visions of Boom on Radio8K. I also found another 2 hour radio special/documentary about Drexciya, again only in German but it sounds very detailed. It's by Paul Gorbach on internet radio station, stay fm, based in Augsburg, Germany.

I've continued to dig deep into my old magazines and I was rewarded with this epic chart from Melody Maker (7/8/93) by Jamie & Ben who placed Drexciya's 'Bubble Metropolis' at #2. The DJs were Jamie Bissmire of Bandulu and Ben Long who later became Space DJz. They had pretty great taste it has to be said.

The cover for the upcoming Drexciya graphic novel looks great too, the first edition is out very soon and then it will be published by Tresor. More details here.

The Miami based Isophlux Records are one of the few labels linked on James Stinson's own Dimensional Waves website. I asked them if they had plans to release a record with him or something. Shad T. Scott (Gosub) from the label kindly wrote back to me with a bit of new information.

“Yes I was friends with James back in the day. We used to enjoy each others projects and what Isophlux was about at the time. We did talk about doing some sort of project with Isophlux but the concept was never developed too deep once James got sicker. I hope this helps you understand why James had Isophlux linked to his page.”

It's sad to think how many more James Stinson projects there might have been. I've previously tracked down Digital Soul Records and got the story of their contact with James. Still no closer to the mystery of James' Digital Aphrodisiac project (listed on his site, perhaps he had this in mind for Isophlux?). I hope Clone Records can unearth that DAT!

Somehow I missed this video interview from 2018 with Serge from Clone Records where he talks about the history of his label and some of the artists. He speaks extensively about Drexciya at 48 mins but they get mentioned earlier too (best to watch the whole talk). There is a text version of the interview as well which is very useful. If you have been curious about how the Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller series came about for example you will love this, loads more info too.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Drexciya Day 2019 and new information

The first of the Drexciya Day events has been confirmed and for the first time there will be one in Reykjavik, Iceland. It happens on Friday 30th August and they will be starting with a special Drexciya quiz and then there will be DJs playing Drexciyan music. The venue is the perfectly named Vinyl Bistro, sounds perfect, hopefully this will give some of you ideas too. There are a few more in the pipeline, I will add them to this post as soon as I have details. 
Manchester's Eastern Bloc Record shop are now on-board too with an event planned for 6th September.

Latest Dates

More details behind Drexciya Day below...

The anniversary of James Stinson's death will be in just over a month's time, 3rd September. He would have been 50 this year! Since 2017 fans around the world have been celebrating his music on or around that date on what has become known as Drexciya Day. As previously I am very happy to promote any events that people feel like organising this year.

As before, they don't have to be something big, just a party in a bar or cafe will do. So far over the last two years there have been events in Tallinn, Vienna, Cambridge, London, Dublin, Birmingham, Glasgow, Rome, Manchester and on radio. There is no guarantee that the same people will do it again in these places, best to go ahead and organise it yourself if you want (as soon as I get confirmation of one I will post details).

Search online for previous Drexciya Days to get ideas. If anyone wants to organise such an event please let me know and I will be very happy to share it. Email or contact me through the DRL FB page with an FB event link or whatever. Thanks. Life Is Fast Ending, So Live!

I was sent a faxed promo sheet for Drexciya's debut 12" EP on Shockwave Records. You can make out a lot more detail of the label image. I may be wrong but I think it's the underwater statue of Christ near Cozumel, Mexico in Chankanab park. Statue number 5 at this link and below.

I also found this pic (below) on Instagram of a very rare fax sent out by Robert Hood's Hardwax label in 1992 to promote the pre-Drexciyan project, L.A.M. (Life After Mutation). I can spot a few more Drexciya/Submerge faxes in the shot as well and possibly the other side of it would have been the record's promo sheet/press release. Before email, sending out faxes was another way to help promote sales with record shops and magazines.

On a hunch I contacted Stewart Caig of the now defunct English label, Digital Soul (2001-2005), because in 2002 its website was linked on James Stinson's Dimensional Waves website. I was wondering if James had ever made contact, perhaps about giving them some of his music to release.

This is part of Stewart's kind and prompt response (he hadn't been aware of the link on the DW site), "...that was so long ago. I remember getting an email from James who said he was reaching out to smaller labels and wanting to put some music out. We exchanged a few emails, but it didn't come to anything and then soon after that he passed away. Since then I'd questioned whether it really was him and certainly at the time I remember thinking that he might have mistook my label for something bigger than what it was, but I was obviously not aware of the full circumstances back then. Good to know I didn't imagine it at least. I certainly got the impression that he had plenty of music he wanted to get out and often wondered how much of it ever saw the light of day."

It's great to get this insight to how James was still wave jumping right up to the end (the term he used for working with different labels around the world) and quite tantalising to note he had lots of unreleased music he wanted to find an outlet for (some of which has now been released by Clone Records).

By chance I had actually heard of Digital Soul around this time as Irish producer and DJ Derek Carr released a 12" EP on the label in 2002. I wonder which of the label's releases had come to James' attention for him to reach out? Quite possibly it actually was Carr's as Anthony Shakir was to work on a remix of 'Synapse 136' (Stewart has been in touch to say that in the end Shake remixed another track but it was never released) and Andrew Duke (who interviewed James in 1999) had included the original version in one of his DJ sets. So this (very Detroit sounding) track had already made a strong impression with at least two people connected to James.

Also, according to Mike Banks' talk with Red Bull Music Academy, James was working at UR's Somewhere in Detroit record shop (not sure exactly when) and I can imagine every vaguely techno record in the world must have been sent to it. Making this a perfect location to discover potentially sympathetic labels for his music. Stewart has now let me know that yes he did send a copy of all his released to Mike Banks care of SID, so quite likely James got to discover Digital Soul that way.

You can stream many of Digital Soul's fine releases on You Tube if you check out their Discogs listing.

This is a new 20 minute documentary about Detroit Techno and how it spread to Berlin and the world. Drexciya feature right at the beginning and end.

New Arpanet date confirmed for Berlin, Solar One Music label night, awesome line-up too, 20th September. There are currently two Dopplereffekt shows upcoming as well.

Buying this remix record is another great way you can help Victoria Lukas (Zerkalo) fight cancer, full details at this Fundamental Records link. You can listen to the new remixes of 'Skylar' here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

New Dopplereffekt website, Hydro Doorways re-press and more

What appears to be an official Dopplereffekt website has just materialised online (their first). It has some nice graphics and a release history, contact page and upcoming events. If you click on 'Multimedia' there are samples of two new tracks, 'Stellar Optika' and 'Quantum Flux' to download as video files. I've just done this and they are very impressive indeed, this all looks like a new release is on the way.

There is a new re-press of Drexciya's classic 12" EP, Hydro Doorways (2000), available now at places like and Juno Records. It's hard to keep up with these Tresor re-presses, 2014 was the last time it got pressed as far as I know and I think this latest one was announced last year but is only available now.

Just a reminder, as far as I know even if you don't have a Facebook account, you can still see my often daily post on the DRL page. You might get annoying messages on the screen to join FB but I know that if you are accessing the page using a computer you can still read the posts (maybe not with a mobile device). I am still posting the new and important news on this site and will continue to do so but you will hear about it first on the DRL FB page.

This is a great Drexciya tribute track by Italian producer 051 Destroyer aka Mattia Trani. Released in 2018 it's available on 12" and download from the UK label Lunar Orbiter Program.

This is a very beautiful Sleeparchive track from 2006, which was inspired by The Other People Place. You will find it on Hospital Tracks double pack.

'Xternal Pulse was a project done by myself and Gerald Donald it was my first project when Ultradyne was in its beginning stages.'

Dennis Richardson of Ultradyne has been in touch with DRL to clarify the personnel behind this project. This one-off track was released on Dan Bell's Accelerate label in 1993 (Various Artists - The Silicon Ghetto EP Vol.3). You can listen here.

'[Ghettotech producers] used to sample a lot of the Drexciya stuff and our stuff (Aux 88)...They would sample Drexciya, or especially Dopplereffekt once Gerald [Donald] went solo.'
-Keith Tucker

Fascinating account of Detroit's Ghettotech scene.

New Drexciya/Heinrich Mueller mix from Kogemoti, some great selections.

In Mike Banks' (UR) Berlin lecture for Red Bull Music Academy in 2018 he mentioned The Abyss (1989) as a possible influence on James Stinson's concept behind Drexciya. I got curious and have been on the look out for a secondhand copy ever since. I probably caught it on TV almost 30 years ago but had no memory of the story.

I've now gotten to watch it and basically it's a cold war science fiction love story and at the very end you do get to glimpse the underwater city of a previously unknown species with advanced intelligence. They may be aliens but I think they are primarily deep sea dwellers from our own planet. James would have been about 20 when this played in theatres, it could have sparked his concept but we might never know for sure. Check it out if you can. 1989 has also been called, 'the year of the “underwater” sci-fi film,' with Deep Star Six, Leviathan and Lords of the Deep all released then as well.

By coincidence or not there are also two Drexciya tracks with 'The Abyss' in the title, 'Beyond The Abyss' on Bubble Metropolis (1993) and 'Sighting in The Abyss' from Aquatic Invasion (1995), both on UR. Was he trying to tell us something?

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Drexciya Special on Bass Agenda and more

This is a link for Bass Agenda's 3 hour Drexciya Special on Deep Space Radio. It was great being interviewed by Andy Barton and reminded that DRL has now been going for 15 years!

Part 1 - Interview & selections from Abdullah Qadim Haqq, the man behind the artwork for the seminal Neptune's Lair album and the forthcoming Book of Drexciya Vol 1.

Part 2 - Interview & selections from Stephen Rennicks, the man behind Drexciya Research Lab - the 'go to' resource for all things Drexciya and James Stinson/Gerald Donald related.

Part 3 - Interview with James Stinson, conducted and recorded by Andrew Duke in 1999, remastered by Alavux for Bass Agenda.

This is a new piece on Bandcamp, an excellent introductory guide to Drexciya's music by Albert Freeman.

I found the Aivina Vishnu Soundcloud, there are four tracks there not on the album on WeMe.

I asked a question on the DRL FB about who William Scott is (he is listed as 'liaison' and presented as a full member in the early Dopplereffekt records). One reader suggested one very interesting possibility. While it may just be a coincidence, a William Scott is said to have been the spark for the infamous Detroit riot of 1967, the legacy of which is still felt there to this day. It's a fascinating piece of Detroit's social history anyway.

Check out upcoming Dopplereffekt and Arpanet shows.

Great interview with DJ and producer Elena Sizova (Der Zyklus Renormalon collaborator).