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).

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Heinrich Mueller & Aina - Transforma album on WeMe Records and more

There is a new collaborative album, Transforma, between Heinrich Mueller and Aina upcoming on WeMe Records. It will be available as a double vinyl set on orange vinyl. I'm not sure who the other artist is (send me a link for their music if you know) but collectively they are using the name, Aivina Vishnu. You can listen to clips of all the tracks and pre-order direct from WeMe only. Artwork is by Annika Hippler. Shipping on 2nd May. 

There is a re-press of Drexciya's Digital Tsunami 12" EP from 2001 in the works by Tresor. Clone are listing it as in stock as well as the usual places too.

There are a few Dopplereffekt and Arpanet live dates upcoming, check links for each group.

'Victoria Lukas, our common and cosmic friend, received a few days ago the announcement of a cancer recurrence, which had already visited her body three years ago. The multiple chemotherapy and surgery sessions killed that first cancer ; but could not prevent its alarming return.'

Sending Victoria (Zerkalo) best wishes for her recovery. There is a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for her expenses, full details at link.

Fans of Zerkalo can also now join this new Facebook group set up by Victoria Lukas. Some great insights to their working process and concept so far.

James Stinson and Gerald Donald met each other while students at Charles Kettering High School on the east-side of Detroit. Don't expect any plaques to commemorate this however as since 2012 its become one more of the cities many abandoned buildings. It was quite an impressive and sprawling campus in its day though as this link explains. Also check out the amazing video of the school today in comments.

It's not often that one of Heinrich Mueller's remixes/remodels gets a re-press but its been 10 years since the quite exceptional 'Celestial Sphere Mix' of Jason Fine's 'Human Need'. Available again on 10" with a mix by A Made Up Sound, on the Swedish label, Kontra-Musik/Ulf Eriksson. It's already in-stock at Juno.

You can find an excellent homage to Drexciya by the producer, Caltrop, on a cassette compilation from the Polish label, Laral Tapes.

I've been slowly updating and editing one of the very early posts on DRL from 2005. I have now compiled 10 interviews with James Stinson plus various quotes from other sources and divided them into various topics. It's quite long but is now easier to see where each quote comes from and there are links for his two zine Q&As and other stuff too. The interviews are...

Dave Mothersole (Melody Maker/Muzik 1995)
Tim Barr (Muzik 1997)
Tsutomu Noda (Ele-King/Straight No Chaser 1999)
Andrew Duke (Cognition Audioworks 1999)
Nick Phillips (Groovesmag 2001)
John Osselaer (Techno Tourist 2002)
Tim Pratt (Detroit Free Press 2002)
Derek Beere (Future BPM 2002)
Richard Brophy (Clubbing Dot Com 2002)
Liz Copland (Detroit Public Radio 2002)

Lastly, there are more great new characters and illustrations by A Qadim Haqq on his Drexciyan Empire FB page. I particularly like Shauqo, who is 'one of the top students of Dr. Blowfin. Head of R.E.S.T. Laboratories', which was very kindly based on me! See image below.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Drexciya graphic novel target reached, Afrofuturism and the Myth of Drexciya film and more

This video interview with A Qadim Haqq from an Afrofuturism event in Greece in 2017 is really excellent. If you have the time the whole interview is worth watching but he talks quite extensively about working with Drexciya at 11mins and 26mins (this is the longest section on them). His Indiegogo campaign for a Drexciya graphic novel reached its target too. Thanks to all who contributed.

This is a link to a new and really excellent and informative 15 minute documentary type film, Afrofuturism and the Myth of Drexciya, about Drexciya and their link to Afrofuturism.

Heinrich Mueller and Beta Evers' new project, Dark Body Parameter, continues to bubble with a new video on their YouTube channel (now 5 in total). This project is really starting to grow on me.

"There's a few Drexciya/Stinson related tunes I love to open with but I think this one gets played the most, so full of emotion and anticipation, excites the crowd and makes it easy to follow with the next tune."

Glasgow based DJ and producer Maya Medvesek aka Nightwave picks Drexciya's 'C To The Power Of X + C To The Power Of X = MM = Unknown' for this great Clash Magazine piece about what tracks she uses to open a set with.

The line-up for Dekmantel has been announced and they have bagged a rare appearance by Arpanet. This festival happens in Amsterdam from 31st July to 4th August this year.

This is not your average mix featuring Drexciya, but one that uses their music and other artists to tell a story (English and Italian text and images available as a PDF at link in comments). The podcast was created a year ago by Ashed Thought. Text below...

'The idea of using the songs titles, to build a text that would illustrate the emotive tension of the podcast, derives from a Discogs review of The Other People Place’s album Lifestyles Of The Laptop Café, written by user Ron242 on the 5th of September, 2008. The Practice Of Death is the title of a drawing designed by Architect Prof. John Hejduk, taken from his book Soundings: a work by John Hejduk and published in Italy by Rizzoli in 1993, of which I am appropriated. Drexciya and John Hejduk have been two of my biggest inspirations over the last years.'

New all Drexciya mix from Brazil on Rádio Live Canoas.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Book of Drexciya: Volume One

Volume One of the Drexciyan graphic novel, The Book of Drexciya, by A Qadim Haqq is open for pre-orders. There are also T-shirts, prints and even original paintings available from this link too. They are trying to raise $10,000 and 50% of the money raised is pledged to support James Stinson's mother. Be sure to read their link for all the details about this very worthy project. There is now a picture of James Stinson on the Indiegogo page from 1979!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Dark Body Parameter and more

Dark Body Parameter is a new collaborative project between Heinrich Mueller and Beta Evers begun in 2016. There has been a track, 'Nichts Ist (Test Mix)' online since about August 2018 on Soundcloud, which has only just come to my attention. They have a YouTube account with five short teaser tracks and videos. A Bandcamp page has also since been discovered with four digital tracks for purchase. Keep an eye on their official  Facebook page, more is promised in 2019.

Techno: Ritmi Afrofuturisti (Afrofuturist Rhythms) by Claudia Attimonelli is now in its second edition and features chapters on both Drexciya and Dopplereffekt. Currently available only in Italian (purchase here), I am told it is to be translated into French and English as well. I'd love to read this, interested publishers should get in touch with the author.

'Now in the second edition. Techno: Afrofuturist Rhythms traces the cultural comparison between Africa and the West through the stages that led techno, born from the metropolitan tribes, to spread from North America to Europe, from Icelandic ice to the Far East and the islands of the Indian Ocean, between the farms of Southern Italy and the metropolitan landscapes of the metropolis.'

"When it was time I started hooking up with friends trying different styles until one night I could not sleep, cold sweat, tossing and turning and around 3 am September 18, 1989 I stood up and said Drexciya . It felt like a tidal wave rushing across my brain. All kinds of ideas were coming out. I could not stop it and I would not stop it. For the next three years we worked hard to perfect Drexciya before we would release it onto the world. Getting into production was not quick. It took a year of experimenting."

This is what James Stinson himself very specifically said about the beginning of his concept for Drexciya when he spoke with John Osselaer for Techno Tourist in 2002. I've been thinking about what Mike Banks said in the recent Red Bill interview about this subject and how the movie, Dagon, had been an influence. It turns out that this horror film about underwater sea creatures was only released in 2001, a year before Stinson died. More promisingly, he mentions The Abyss (1989) as well, this much more widely seen film features a mysterious and cipher-like deep sea dwelling entity that possibly could have been the very beginning of James' concept.

If you are wondering where the pregnant African slaves thrown overboard story fits in, Mike explains that he (plus UR's The Unknown Writer) came up with this text for The Quest compilation in 1997. While I assume James gave his blessing to this interpretation at the time, if you read the original text closely, it's clear that they were only presenting this scenario as a possibility as to where Drexciyans come from (note all the question marks). As we know, this has become the most widely known and accepted interpretation of the mythology but it is only one of many, as infinite as there are listeners and I think the connection to The Abyss give us more to consider.

Also in the Mike Banks interview for Red Bull (at 1hr 23 mins), he tells the story of how he initially met Drexciya through Derrick May (they came to audition their music). Surprisingly he names four people from that first meeting, James Stinson, Gerald Donald, Dennis Richardson and James' brother, Tyree Stinson ('the four young sons of an electrician'?). We may never know the true combinations of who produced the early or even the late music of Drexciya etc but in case anyone is wondering who these other two people are; they are Dennis Richardson of Ultradyne and Tyree Stinson of Aquanauts (2003-2005).

It was very interesting to learn as well from the Mike Banks interview that he credits Rephlex Records for the start of Drexciya's popularity. He said very few people outside of Detroit were buying their first two EPs but once Rephlex released the material for Drexciya 3 aka Molecular Enhancement (1994), orders in the 1000s suddenly began to come in. A year later UR/Submerge would release the EP themselves with two extra tracks.

Connected to this, he also told a story of Ed DMX (DMX Krew) hearing Drexciya at their Somewhere In Detroit record store and flipping over the music and tipping off Rephlex about them (at 1hr 23 mins here). I'm sure this visit must have happened at some point in the 90s, but in 2016 Ed spoke with Boiler Room Collections (at 1hr 15 mins here) and explained how he first heard their music through people like Mike Paradinas and Clair Poulton of the Clear label and initially bought things like the Glass Domain EP at London's Fat Cat Record shop. Which makes me think that Rephlex would have already been aware of them at this stage.

You can watch the trailer of The Abyss here. It's worth noting that this film was released in theatres just a month before James had his Drexciya epiphany at age 20.

Drexciya have even inspired Jazz musicians, Lars Danielsson & Paolo Fresu, to name a track after them on their new album, Summerwind. It appears that, Italian Paolo Fresu (trumpet & flugelhorn) wrote the piece. Very nice it is too.

The UK's Perseus Traxx aka Nigel Rogers included 'Destination Drexciya' on his debut EP on Bunker Records in 2010.

In 2017, Die Kartoffel contributed the darkly infectious 'Welcome To Drexciya' to a various artist EP on Mélodies Souterraines.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Mike Banks interview 2018

This is an amazing and very frank interview with Mike Banks (UR), Dimitri Hegemann and Carola Stoiber (both Tresor). They speak about Drexciya about 1hr. 23mins for well over 15 mins (more about Gerald Donald during the Rob Hood section too).

This is an awesome reboot of Andrew Duke's 1999 interview with James Stinson.

Great new Stinson/Donald mix with some obscurities. New edition of The Beat dedicated to them also.

The Black Replica 12" is now available from Metaphysik's Bandcamp as a digital download and from their site on vinyl (w/download code).

Drexciya are included as one of Adult's influences here.

The debut EP from Ectomorph, Subsonic Vibrations (1995), is being re-pressed on Interdimensional Transmissions. Gerald Donald was involved with this right at the beginning with Brendan M. Gillen. While his name does not appear on the credits, 'Skin' appears to have his fingerprints all over it. Available for pre-order now at Bandcamp.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

James Stinson 2002 phone interview w/ Derek Beere (Future BPM)

Derek Beere has kindly sent me the phone interview recording that he made with James Stinson back in early 2002 for Future BPM. This tape has not been heard before and been in Derek's safe keeping for the last 16 years and we both felt it should be heard by fans. It's a fascinating, often humorous and quite inspiring listen. You can still read the text version at this link too.