Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Exaltics & Heinrich Mueller - Dimensional Shifting review

Dimensional Shifting
The Exaltics & Heinrich Mueller
(Solar One Music / 2020)

On Spiralgalaxie (Hubble Telescope Series Vol. III) (2016) on Solar One Music, Heinrich Mueller and Robert Witschakowski last paired their own separate music together as a collection. There were also a few collaborative tracks to be found as well under the name Project STS-31. This must have paved the way for Dimensional Shifting, a whole album of them working together. Going by the superb artwork and the track titles it appears to be a concept album about the possibilities of a wormhole (an Einstein-Rosen bridge). On Bandcamp it's described as, '...stripped down layers mixed with chunky synthetic bass lines and stellar melodies over pounding 808 drums on this future classic tinted with nostalgia. Built as a journey through unknown territories...oscillates between moments of bravery on the dancefloor and moody sequences...' (a fair enough self-assessment). In fact they have been building a working relationship since at least 2015 with a few one-offs collaborations and Mueller remixes (check the Solar One Music discography).

I have here reviewed the tracks found on the standard double vinyl album and then move onto the bonus 12" and the extra tracks on the CD (both found on the special editions of the album). It's also worth stating (the obvious) how much of a positive difference is made to the musical frequencies here from being pressed on vinyl and heard through a half-decent hi-fi compared to listening to them as MP3 files through computer speakers/headphones.

'Temporal Matrix' opens the album and is a moody short introduction which sets the scene very well. 'Hologram Universe' really stood out for me and cheekily samples or recreates the bedrock of  'Superior Race', Dopplereffekt's debut 7" from 1995. This is a very unexpected move and obviously that wormhole goes back as well as forward! If you have been waiting for a return to this sound your hopes have been rewarded here. As the track evolves new sounds get added to the mix which do noticeably take it elsewhere but it's a nice 25 years later reboot for sure.

'Signal Filtering From Interstellar Noise' has a real cool bass line and synth sound and might actually be my favourite track. It ricochets along and gradually relaxes for a breather. The sounds are very dreamy and it keeps your attention throughout. 'Encoding' uses a signature Mueller bass-line (circa 2000) which propels it to the outer limits. The creeping atmospherics easily ignite the imagination too.

'Time Aperture' is another favourite for me, bouncy, light and very accessible, one of those tracks you would feel compelled to find out more about if you heard it at a club or party. I think this is one of their best efforts and will hopefully find a wider audience (one for those 'best of' Mueller radio mixes). '3.26 Parallax Seconds' is uptempo and really engages. It has at least three melodies complementing each other. One of those tracks which should manage to always sound fresh due to the surprising ways its sections work together.

'Search For Artificial Intelligence' is similar to the template and even some of the sounds used for 'Encoder'. Another fast pitched number, it really rockets along. In a classic Electro way, this will always be the sound of the future. 'Dimensional Shift' features Paris The Black Fu on vocals (by this stage the human element is welcome). This may be a leftover vocal track from a previous collaboration he did with The Exaltics on the We Exist (Chapter One) 12" (2020). A very uptempo back and forth track with a great change just before the vocal kicks in, edge of the seat stuff.

'Microwave Photon' again uses 'that' Mueller signature bass-line from both 'Encoder' and 'Search For Artificial Intelligence' but luckily the rest of the elements sprinkled around easily make it sufficiently different to function in its own unique terms. Another real standout for me.

In a fitting way the 'Closing The EPR Bridge' could also have served as the start of this time travelling and dimensional shifting journey. It's a more experimental sounding 3 minute movement you could enjoy on an infinite loop. It's a strong album but in the classic double pack tradition, a few real big ones for the feet and enough to satisfy the mind also.

Moving onto the generous bonus coloured vinyl 12" (available in the special editions) you find 'Wissenschaft der Zukunft' ('Science of the Future'). This is another track featuring vocals by Paris The Black Fu who in this case repeats the phrase, "Future and Science" in the way only he can. A good uptempo track with loads of nice atmospheric tones which keeps you listening. 'Dimensionsformel' is the other track and is another uptempo jumpy track which smoothly moves along and even though not a lot happens, somehow by the time you get to the half way point I got really into it.

There are three bonus tracks on the CD as well, also from the special edition and they are all short and more experimental (2-3 mins).

'Anti Proton Engagement Field' boldly stakes out some new ground. It's a bit short for me and could easily have evolved. I like where 'Dark Matter Radiation' was going as well on its slow, sinister, spacey, out of control orbit. 'Non Synchronised Multiverse (Hologram Updating) is quite beautiful and shimmers along in a detached standalone sort of way. 

You can order the digital and physical formats here and at all good record shops. Sound samples here.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Heinrich Mueller & The Exaltics' Dimensional Shifting, Dopplereffekt live video and more

There is another truly amazing package from Solar One Music, Dimensional Shifting by The Exaltics and Heinrich Mueller. Available to pre-order from Bandcamp on 12" vinyl and digital download now (the box set version has already sold out). It will also be available as a double black vinyl gate-fold from Clone (with sound samples) and all usual record shops. You can also listen to the full length 'Signal Filtering From Interstellar Noise' here. Promo text below.

'Four years after their almighty collaboration on “Project STS-31 (Hubble Telescope Series Vol.3)”, Solar One Music’s cofounder Robert Witschakowski and half of Dopplereffekt duo Gerald Donald return with another cosmic album of their instantly recognizable trademark. Featuring ten detailed and luminous cuts of beautifully crafted emotional music, with deep narrative over tough machine groove, the opus takes you on a moody trip across craggy soundscapes made of abrasive tones, crossing the red line between tight-strapped melodic waves, subaquatic underground electro, and intricate structures. Expect nothing but stripped down layers mixed with chunky synthetic bass lines and stellar melodies over pounding 808 drums on this future classic tinted with nostalgia. Built as a journey through unknown territories, much anticipating “Dimensional Shifting” oscillates between moments of bravery on the dancefloor and moody sequences, keeping intact the aesthetic signature of the Jena-based electro emissary and the legend from Detroit.'

Dopplereffekt played a special one hour concert for the Balance - Club / Culture Festival recently and it has been made available on YouTube. They were due to play this festival but due to the Coronavirus it had to happen online instead. Loads of new and unreleased material to enjoy.

There are also five short 15 sec tracks up on the Dopplereffekt Bandcamp. They all include '...= ringtone object' in the title and yes they would make for some pretty cool sounding ringtones. Don't forget that their debut single in 1995 was 'Cellular Phone'.

The hardcover of The Book of Drexciya is available to pre-order now. Abu Qadim Haqq's and other contributors interpretation of the Drexciyan myhos as a graphic novel. Available from Tresor.

New interview from Haqq's The Drexciyan Empire of James Stinson's younger brother Tyree.

There is a new track, 'Filter Schematic', up on the Daughter Produkt Bandcamp. There are now 13 tracks to explore.

Some early Ultradyne productions are getting reissued on this new EP, including a new mix of 'Dr. Blowfins's Experiment' and 'Crossphaze' by X-Ternal Pulse. For those who know. Available to sample and pre-order now at this Clone link.

Random Fact: The first Drexciya track released by Tresor was 'Positron Island', which can be found on their second EP, Bubble Metropolis (1993). It was originally selected by Juan Atkins for his Magic Tracks: Deep Detroit Volume Two compilation, which was a CD only release that Tresor co-released in 1994. I knew about that but until I saw an old Subterranean Distribution advert (Sept '95) I wasn't aware that there had been a limited 12" on Tresor as well which selected just four tracks from the comp and included 'Positron Island'. Someone at Tresor must have liked what they heard, although by this time Drexciya were becoming quite well known in Europe This was four years before they would release Neptune's Lair.

There is a new Zerkalo digital download from Victoria Lukas and Heinrich Mueller. Great to see these tracks get a proper release 'The Lake' and 'You, Whose Sleep Is Without Awakening' were previously only available as videos on YouTube.

Good to see Drexciya included in the so-called 'New Skool' Electro revival of 1995. This chart comes from NME (13/5/95) and was compiled by Ben Willmott. They are in some good company too. Electro never goes out of style!

Legendary Detroit DJ and producer Claude Young has been going through his record box and discovered this previously unknown record. It's a 10" dub-plate made at National Sound Corporation with handwritten lettering, 'Pornophonic Prototypes'. The pre-Drexciyan Glass Domain used the one-off label, Pornophonic Sound Disc for their self-titled EP in 1991. It's actually not this record according to Young. What he said on his Twitter posts below.

'10" Dubplate of the original Drexciya material before the group even had that name. Given to me in the early 90's. Found in my crate. Hate to say goodbye to it but everything must go...' He also later said to a question, 'Yes all the tracks have been released but this was cut to give me something to play on my radio show before any of those records even existed.' To a question as to whether it was the Glass Domain EP he said, 'Definitely not that EP. Project names were interchangeable. There was a pool of tracks that became different things. This was given to me before all of that that stuff existed.'

Saturday, April 18, 2020

New Heinrich Mueller collaborative tracks, Opening of the Cerebral Gate artwork, Fascist State 4018, cuttings, tribute mixes and more

The brilliantly minimal artwork for Transllusion's The Opening of the Cerebral Gate (2001) and its accompanying 12" on Supremat/Tresor was designed by the UK based Semiconductor. It doesn't appear they did much or any sleeve design before, I wonder how Tresor came across them?

They became established in 1997 and consist of the artists Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt. You will find some images from their film, Linear, which dates from the same time period and appears to have some pleasing similarities to their Transllusion design. They also made the related artwork for the other release on Supremat, Sing Sweet Software! by Trurl and Klapaucius aka Cristian Vogel.

Update: When I posted this on the DRL FB Semiconductor commented, "We loved doing these designs!! Cristian Vogel asked us to be involved."

'Mummy, what's an Elecktroid?' I was sent these great pics of a very cool looking promo postcard that was originally sent out by Warp Records in 1995. It went to people on the mailing list. The text is on the back

The Trilogy Tapes site have shared a scan of issue 3 of the US electronic music magazine Hard Sync. I haven't seen this before, it dates from 1994 and features an advert/page given over to Dopplerffekt and a review of their debut 7" single, Superior Race/Cellular Phone.

The text for 'Fascist State 4018' appears to have been written by the band and as you will see is very dystopian. To some degree it reminded me of George Orwell's 'Sex-Pol' from his novel 1984.

There is a new track, the 32 minute 'Immunoflourescence', up on the Daughter Produkt Bandcamp page. I'm told it is the work of Ruben Spiel and Christina Vantzou from the collective. There are now 12 songs there in total.

Dark Body Parameter (Heinrich Mueller and Beta Evers) have added a previous collaborative project, Gedankenexperiment's Experiment Defined EP to their Bandcamp page as a digital download. This was previously available from WeMe Records on 12" vinyl in 2011.

Dopplereffekt have just made a third track available on their Bandcamp page. 'Dyson Sphere' was originally included only on a limited various artists double LP, Festival Electrónica En Abril (2012). It's over six minutes long and a real hidden gem from their catalogue.

This is the first time I've shared this review of Drexciya's Aquatic Invasion EP, which I scanned from Melody Maker (11/2/95) and was written by Ben Turner. The same week or the one before their Black Sea EP had been released on Warp (nice to know the month these came out). With the Elecktroids album and EP also on Warp that year (August), 1995 was a huge year for Drexciya.

I realised I hadn't shared this 2012 interview on the DRL FB page and it got a great response so am sharing it here gain too. It's with Alden Tyrell and is about remastering the music for Drexciya's epic Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller series on Clone Records. It was written by Richard Brophy (First Cut) who interviewed James Stinson twice.

Amsterdam's Interstellar Funk selects Transllusion's 'You're Holding Me Up' as one of his favourite B-sides for Telekom Electronic Beats TV. It's his first selection but it's well worth watching the whole video, great taste.

'The festival’s name is inspired by an act vital to that history: Detroit electro-techno pioneers Drexciya.'

DJ Stingray was one of the highlights of the Dweller festival in New York at the start of February. Hopefully more great things to come from them next year.

This is a fascinating article which contrasts the Drexciyan mythology with that of HP Lovecraft's 'Cthulhu' stories, which feature fantastical underwater creatures. These science fiction stories were written in the 1920s.

Fans of Zerkalo will enjoy Victoria Lukas' latest release, a soundtrack for Les Apocalyptiques.

This is a great new Drexciya/Mueller mix from Glasgow's Fear-E. Love the track selection.

The third and latest Drexciya themed mix on The Beat radio show on the French station Canal B. 

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.