Thursday, August 26, 2010

Drexciya Oddities 4/4: 'Aquatacizem'

In 1998 the Underground Resistance label released their now legendary Interstellar Fugitives album on triple vinyl and CD. It featured the cream of their stable of the time with many previously unreleased classics like ‘Afrogermanic’ by Chaos. It also contained the track ‘Aquatacizem’ by Drexciya which was previously unreleased and has since then not been available elsewhere. This is an album where UR very much took the opportunity to self-mythologise themselves so it is perhaps unsurprising that even though Drexciya were thought to be no more at this stage, ‘Missing in Action’ as it states in the artwork, they were still included. If your attempting to create a legend what better way than to feature a group that doesn’t even exist anymore and therefore can’t contradict you. As I have been working myself with myth as a device on one of my art projects lately I wonder if this quote I came across from the Indian historian and philosopher Ananda Coomaraswamy might illustrate what UR and Drexciya themselves were trying to achieve by using it, “Myth embodies the nearest approach to absolute truth that can be stated in words.” We are of course dealing with a deeper reality if we consider absolute truth and in that reality interstellar fugitives and Drexciyan's make a whole lot more sense. Each artist gets their own mythic description in the inlay which I think also betrays a certain sense of humour behind it all which is essential if this kind of stuff isn’t going to become too overblown and tiresome. The one for Drexciya is typical and reads…

030 A.K.A. DREXCIYA . Status: UR Aquatic Assault Unit. Beach Head Operations. Currently Missing in Action. Gene Type: Z (Full Negative Evolution Sequence Completed). Method of Operation: Underwater Deployment of Funk Bombs. Weapon of Choice: H20. Crimes Committed: Too Many to List. Currently being sought for : Aquatacizem. Mission \UR45 Whereabouts: Last Sighting Eastside Sewer System 7 Mile and Van Dyke Area – Eastside Detroit Sector. Unit or Division: Wave Jumper Special Forces

Loads of facts about them are being stated here but more interestingly some of their future is also leaking out. Like when DJ Stingray 313 would many years later actually become their Aquatic Assault DJ or when Mike Banks of UR would finally have to eulogise his friend James Stinson for real in 2002 and would partly return to a line here when he stated, 'Negative evolution cycle completed. Now in sonic infinitum mode.' This is also where the name Wave Jumper may have first become acknowledged as the favoured term for fans of their music. The image of the biological limpet mine (or whatever you think it is) is interesting, as is the number 030. The number refers to their 'Aquatic Invasion' 12" UR catalogue number and the hand drawn graphic by Abdul Haqq nicely turns them into something beyond a mere humanoid. The title of the track may again be hinting that Drexciya are over, like I stated about the previous oddity ‘Davey Jones Locker’ which came out during this break period as well. From about 1996 till 1999, was when they took a break from production with no guarantee they would ever return; during which time they released The Quest compilation. However within three years return they did with a new album, Neptune’s Lair, on a new label, Tresor.

If some of their future was contained in the text then their past could be found in the intro which had already featured as the intro of CD1 of The Quest a year earlier. This makes this section more “aged wine” as James Stinson himself referred to his older music which would appear years later on releases. The delivery of the spoken intro I have described before as sounding like a weird ancient alien voice and it tells us what I think is “The people of Earth listen closely. We are attempting to avoid the Aquatacizem”. This title of course sounds like they are referring to cataclysm of an aquatic variety but who is speaking is hard to say as I don’t recognise it from any of the voices they’ve used previously. Drexciya have given warnings before in their titles and tracks during their first run of 12” releases. There are some retro filmic sounds in the background too, a bit over the top but suitably so. Talking of the future the closest musical template to the proper musical beginning of this track would be something from that most dense and disjointed of their Storm albums Transllusion - L.I.F.E. but if I checked back into their own catalogue I feel sure there has to be at least one more of their tracks which might have verged into this same territory. It’s also a lengthy track at just over 7 minutes, on the original vinyl it got to be sprawled across a whole side. It features another voice, this time very simple, used over and over which gives me a Native American vibe, think UR’s Galaxy 2 Galaxy’s ‘Astral Apache’ maybe. It’s a dark, mad, moody, brooding and twisted groove track to be sure which is so live and dangerous you can just imagine them creating it right in front of you, which is how it would have been done. The bassline which kicks in at about the 2 minute mark is so modern sounding though, so ahead of its time but actually they were setting the pace. It’s a track that really grows on you with repeated listens too, with each time new textures and sounds being revealed. Even by now Drexciya had secured their place in the history of UR and in their own right but they still deserved their place here for one last time amongst their peers.

This is the last of the Oddities articles which I have been doing over the last while. They covered the four tracks by Drexciya which were released on compilations or whatever and don’t appear on any of their 12” or album releases. Links to the other three articles below.

'Aquatacizem'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0rrR4pbxas&p

Drexciya – Oddities 1 ‘Wardance’

Drexciya – Oddities 2 ‘Electric Eel Mix’

Drexciya – Oddities 3 ‘Davey Jones Locker’

4 Comments:

Blogger Stewart said...

The 030 refers to the UR catalogue number of a release by each artist(not always there first for whateer reason. Its like a code name that each artist used/uses in interviews

In this case its from this http://www.discogs.com/Drexciya-Aquatic-Invasion/master/625

1:07 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Thanks, will amend post. Stephen

2:42 PM  
Blogger pete1 said...

http://redbullmusicacademyradio.com/shows/3013/

6:07 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Dopplereffekt are supposedly playing live this weekend (Sat 4th Sept) at Fabric, London. According to last.fm + fabric website.

http://www.fabriclondon.com/club/listings

3:43 PM  

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