Saturday, February 20, 2021

Victoria Lukas' Final Release - Vita ALTAR'


Victoria Lukas' final project, Altar' under her Vita alias, is now available for the first time to see and hear. In total there are six tracks, this link will bring you to five of the videos that were all directed by her regular collaborator Julia Pello (the other video by Anaïs Boudot is linked here). 

It's quite an experience to listen and view them all together, she really was making her best work right at the end of her life. She had been writing on her FB page about this project in the year before she died (see below). Also be sure to check out the Altar' website, as this was approached as a multi media project. 

It's fantastic to experience this new work and see her living on like this. She was a member of Zerkalo with Heinrich Mueller, I wrote a post here to mark her passing. You can find some of her other music here.

'hi everyone,

Its been months that we are polishing a project called the VITA Alta'r Ep. It is a multimedia project which has its own site where some medias and writings are posted frequently: https://vitaaltar.tumblr.com/

We are intensively working on the videos actually, there is one directed for each of the 6 tracks of the Ep...under my alias VITA i release some very personal electronic music which is experimental, sentimental and dark, so don't expect any electro following the codes. w/ Julia Pello and an unique and marvellous participation of Anaïs Boudot, for the astounding video intro of the project, the song called "The Awaiting". Alta'r is a multimedia project about dedication, love, and eternity ...

The 6 tracks has been recorded and produced by Victoria Lukas. 

It contains collaborations with Pierre Bastien and Christoph De Babalon.

The videos have been directed by Anaïs Boudot & Julia Pello.

The poems have been written by Julia Pello.

Before selling the tracks we would like the videos to stay online to be seen as a whole.'

VITA ALTAR'

1 The Awaiting 

2 I wish 

3 Muse

4 Let's have no more nights

5 As long as I stay 

6 Oblik


Monday, February 01, 2021

New James Stinson interview uncovered from Lotus magazine 2002 and more


One of my readers has very kindly sent me a copy of a short interview with James Stinson from the US music magazine Lotus (#36 March 2002). You can click on it and it will open in a bigger size to read. I'm told it was a mag from Los Angeles and the piece was written by Thomas Kelley. I was not previously aware of it so it was a real surprise when it turned up. I'm trying to archive whatever I can here so please keep an eye out in old magazines from about 1992-2002 and you never know what you might find (particularly in the final two years). I've now added the interview text to Drexciya Speaks (all of James' interviews compiled) and below. 

Asked about his move to Atlanta 

"It's the weather. The weather up here in Michigan is really getting to me. I have to get to a warmer climate, but I really don't want to move to Florida because I don't want to deal with no damn hurricanes."

On the Storm Series

"It's like a whirl storm, all of the music was done within one year. It was one helluva storm brewing when all of this music got made. That's the best way to describe it. So we decided to release our music in different spots around the world and whatnot. The last three (albums), I'm not going to say when and what they are. I'm leaving it as a sudden storm that brews up on you! It's on a need to know basis. But it's also like the release of one of our recent records, 'Wavejumper'. The definition of 'Wavejumper' is what we're doing with Dimensional Waves. We're going from record label to record label around the world and jumping to different portals. There is a mystery to a lot of the things you an follow in each project, looking for little things, reading the track titles for clues. Linkage."

Drexciya have been cited in this piece by the Guardian as an influence on a plan for an underwater memorial for slaves lost during the middle passage.

Following on from a recent post on the DRL FB page about a cartoon James Stinson used to watch as a child, Abdul Haqq was in touch to say he consulted with Tyree Stinson and found out that the cartoon was Battle of the Planets. BOTP ran from 1979-1980 and totalled 85 episodes. Its story has roots in an earlier Japanese anime series. Most interestingly, G-Force had an underwater base called Centre Neptune. 

Dopplereffekt were interviewed for Azimuth 2020, an online event they played live at recently. You can listen to the interview here

There is now a new Tactical Airspace FB page. TA is described as, 'Audiovisual and educational program founded and develop by H. Mueller, Ruben Benabou, Christina Vantzou, Dr. Katarina Markovic, Philip Washington. This program's goal is to educate on the military Aeronautical and Aerospace fields.'

You can listen to one of the tracks Dopplereffekt created for The Book of Drexciya vol. 2 fundraiser here

On YouTube I came across a copy of the a capella/skit version of Doppereffekt's 'Scientist' from their debut 7". 

You can listen to Dopplereffekt's recent live show from Vilnius, Lithuania (6/11/20). It was streamed on radio for one time only last night. Quality is excellent

Adult. have two recent pieces online where they cite Drexciya as an influence. The Quietus and London in Stereo.

On Ebay I noticed that someone is selling a copy of Hard Sync #5, a US electronic music zine from 1995. Luckily one of the pages they scanned was a full page advert from Dopplereffekt (looking for a female collaborator). 

By now they would have already released their Fascist State EP. I'm not sure how serious the advert is, it may have been meant to be humorous, provocative or totally sincere (I wonder if anyone got in touch). 

They obviously had some kind of theme going on as previously, from the same zine (#3), I've previously scanned another full page Dopplereffekt advert (Fascist State 4018). Click on image to read at larger size.




Saturday, December 12, 2020

New tracks from Tactical Airspace, XOR Gate, Daugther Produkt, Drexciya research and more


This incredible artwork is by Abdul Haqq and ties in with the exclusive Dopplereffekt music which was made available as one of the perks for The Book of Drexciya Vol. 2. 

There is a brand new Daughter Produkt track, 'Anisotropy', hidden away on this new ambient compilation from !K7 Records. You can see it in this YouTube video. There are also 13 tracks up on the DP Bandcamp page.

In case you missed it, at the end of October 2020 'Boolean Logic Gate' by Heinrich Mueller's XOR Gate was included in a 5 12" box set from Berlin Atonal. It can also be downloaded as a single track from this link.

Tactical Airspace now have a YouTube channel and have posted their 'Technical Demonstrator' video. There is something so sad and melancholic about this melody. 'Tactical Airspace is not endorsed by nor affiliated with the United States Department of Defence.'

The first new music from Aquanauts in 15 years is now available. You will find it on D.J. Di'jital's Bandcamp. The other members of the collective were last listed as Tyree Stinson (James' younger brother), DJ Skurge (UR) and Bileebob (UR). Good to have them back! More info in comments.

'U R GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN - THE X-PERIMENTS WILL CONTINUE AT ALL COSTS EVEN DEATH. YOUR WORLD WILL LIVE ON THRU US. TYREE STINSON' - Aquanauts run-out groove message from 2003

This is a real treat for you from Issue Project Room. The first 11 minutes of this 47 min long video is brand new music from Dopplereffekt, illustrated by images from The Book of Drexciya. Then there is a fascinating interview between DeForrest Brown Jr. and Abdul Qadim Haqq of The Drexciyan Empire.

Following on from a post I made on DRL FB page, Record Makers made a very welcome statement in the comments: 'For your information, we are working on re-pressing both "Wireless Internet" and "Inertial Frame" on vinyl in 2021.' That is great news for new fans as prices for Wireless Internet are currently around 100eu and Inertial Frame is not far behind. You can download and even still buy a CD copy from a Record Makers main website. 

The new 12" EP, Hidden Forces, of rarities by Ultradyne is out now and available from online retailers. It includes a new mix of 'Dr. Blowfin's Experiment', 'Crossphaze' by X-Ternal Pulse and more. Samples and purchase here.

The below is some DRL research I've been doing...

Drexciya's The Journey Home EP (1995) on Warp Records was their fifth EP and release. Up to then (barring their debut, Deep Sea Dweller) there was always 'Drexciya 2', 'Drexciya 3', 'Drexciya 4' somewhere clearly on the label artwork. It's missing on The Journey Home until you look at the label's small print, '(Epsilon Aquazone We're Going Deep)'.

Epsilon is the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet and can be used to donate the 5th in a series of items, eg. in astronomy the fifth star in a constellation would be written as ‘Epsilon Carinae’. 

'Aquazone' was a word Drexciya had used before (Unknown Aquazone) and actually created themselves or made their own at least. It could be seen as referring to a deep undiscovered and uncharted region of the sea ('We're Going Deep').

In 1995 there were still only four recognised oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic) so maybe they were thinking of a fifth ocean/aquazone? Not until 2002 was the Southern Ocean officially accepted as being the fifth ocean. 

'He (Gerald Donald) said that he and James Stinson used to imagine themselves in a submersible descending to the bottom of the ocean, the absolute depths of the Mariana Trenches – absolute silence, blackness, crushing pressure, the creaking of metal. He said that they would think themselves into this space and then they would start making music from this perspective of insulation and isolation. '

- Afrofuturism, Afro-Pessimism and the Politics of Abstraction: A Conversation with Kodwo Eshun by Christoph Cox (2014). Full text and more Drexciya and GD references at this link.

This very revealing quote appears in Marcus Barnes' new piece on Drexciya in Mixmag. The Mariana Trenches are located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is the deepest part of the world’s oceans at 10,994 metres. It is a mark of crescent shape in the Earth's crust, which is considered 2,550 km long and 69 km wide.

Lastly, after 15 years of doing DRL it never ceases to amaze me how new and unexpected information continues to come my way. One of my readers recently brought LEGO's 'Aquazone' theme to my attention. They had a series of these underwater themed kits from 1995-1998. There was even a Neptune's Discovery Lab and the characters were Aquanauts. This phrase was first used by Drexciya the previous year on 1994's The Unknown Aquazone double pack. While this could well be just a coincidence, I like to imagine one of their designers or marketers was a Drexciya fan! 

What makes this even more strange is that 'Lego blocks' are the subject of Glass Domain's 'Interlock' from 1991. The lyrics sound like they come from an actual Lego catalogue. Perhaps James Stinson and Gerald Donald had been big Lego fans as children? More details about LEGO's Aquazone here






Friday, November 13, 2020

Victoria Lukas RIP

Yesterday the sad news reached me that Victoria Lukas had died from cancer. Reportedly she fought a long and brave battle against it. My deepest condolences to her family and loved ones. I didn't know her personally and would only have exchanged a few messages with her over the years. I really only knew her from her music and videos. She first came on my radar in 2006 when she began to collaborate with Heinrich Mueller as Zerkalo. In those early days their music could only be heard on MySpace and YouTube so there was still a lot of mystery around them. At this time I did backtrack to her previous project, Weltgeist, with long-time collaborator Julia Pello. Again, this was a project with an online and live presence only. She soon became very prolific and released music on vinyl and digital as InKamera, Vita and under her own name. There always seemed to be lots of collaborations too, with artists like Jauzas The Shining and Alek Stark to name but a few. It strikes me that someone could easily start a DRL type project to solely concentrate on her output and interests. I always liked how she brought her passion for the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, poetry and art etc into her music. It was an education along with amazing music. She will be very missed but like any great artist will continue to live on in many different ways. RIP

You can investigate her music through these links but this is just the tip of a large iceberg. 

https://mirrorsscreens.tumblr.com/

https://victorialukas.bandcamp.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/victorialukas/videos

https://www.discogs.com/artist/1572747-Zerkalo


Friday, October 16, 2020

The Book of Drexciya Vol. 2, Mixmag, Tactical Airspace, Drexciya French radio doc and more


There will be second volume of The Book of Drexciya by Abdul Haqq and other collaborators. The first one was great and this one should be too. You can only get it by pre-ordering here. This is a crowd funded project like last time and there are other exclusive Drexciya and even Dopplereffekt themed perks to sign up for. There is an interview about the latest volume here

There is an excellent new long read about Drexiya in Mixmag with new interviews with Abdul Qadim Haqq, Carola Stroiber and even myself. You can read it here.

Tactical Airspace is a new Heinrich Mueller plus collaborators project, check it out on their Facebook page and on Instagram

Phase Fatal selects Dopplereffekt's 'Cellular Phone' as one of his favourite B-Sides here.  

Alex Wilcox has made an epic breakdown of all the tracks from The Other People Place album. You can find it on his YouTube channel along with other fascinating Drexciya and Der Zyklus breakdowns. 

Drexciya were the subject of a major French radio documentary

I've just added a donate/tip button to the website. While I have no plans to stop doing DRL or any of my other creative online projects (my art, daily DRL FB pageAbstract Analogue, Searching for The White Room, Time Travel radio show etc) I thought I should give people an option if they would like to show support for my time and efforts. I would be very grateful, thanks. 


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Drexciya Day 2020, reissues of Dopplereffekt's Linear Accelerator, Gesamtkunserk & Cellular Automata and more

A Drexciya Day event had been organised for Weimar, Germany on Thur 3rd Sept, details here.

There will also be an event in Rome, Italy on Thur 3rd Sept, details here.

The 18th anniversary of James Stinson's death will be in just under 3 weeks time, 3rd September. Since 2017 fans around the world have been celebrating his music on or around this date on what has become known as Drexciya Day. This year will no doubt will be very different due to Covid-19 restrictions but perhaps people might want to organise online or radio events instead or get more creative.

As ever there is no pressure from DRL as this concept originally happened spontaneously from fans and I simply remind people about it and promote whatever anyone feels like doing that year.

So far over the last three years there have been events in Tallinn, Vienna, Cambridge, London, Dublin, Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow, Reykjavik, Grenoble, Rome, Manchester, Turin, Thessaloniki 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 here).

Search online for previous Drexciya Days to get ideas. If anyone wants to organise something 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. Please use #drexciyaday2020 for your events. Thanks

Alex Wilcox has been doing a track by track breakdown of Lifestyles of the Laptop Cafe by The Other People Place on his YouTube channel here. He has also made videos for Drexciya ('Andrean Sand |Dunes' & 'Black Sea') and Der Zylus ('Elektronisches Zeitecho').

The last few months have been incredibly busy for Dopplereffekt reissues. If you missed it, a third vinyl pressing of their Cellular Automata (2017) is now available. You can now also get copies of the new vinyl re-pressing of Dopplereffekt's Gesamtkunswerk (1999) from Clone Classic Cuts. WeMe Records also got the rights to reissue Linear Accelerator (2003) for the first time on vinyl. It is available in two editions, clear double vinyl and regular black.  

There is a new track on the Avina Vishnu (Heinrich Mueller & Aina) Bandcamp, 'Samhita', which makes two there now. They have a new FB page  and website as well.

You can now watch the video for 'Spiderweb Symmetry' by Black Replica at the 13 minute point on this episode of Monomer TV. This was a new track included on the s/t release on metaphysik in 2018. The video was made by Hectic Laboratory and has been nominated semifinalist in the best experimental film category at the Toronto's Alternative film festival.

In the current issue of The Wire you will find an articles about Drexciya by DeForrest Brown Jr, a look back at The Quest, a review of The Exaltic's & Heinrich Mueller's Dimensional Shifting and even a review of the Drexciya graphic novel. Deforrest has tweeted about it here with images of the text.

'(Drexciya's 'Lardossen Funk') This is the pure essence of Detroit electro. I get very nostalgic about my days growing up in Detroit and hearing it takes my mind back to a warehouse party where I got to hear Drexciya live; still one of my fondest memories. I never heard such pretty, spaced-out electro before and it’s been a big influence on me since.'

Magda 'opens the contents of her psychic record bag' for The Guardian in 2017. Wow, I guess she saw them play their only known live show at DEMF in 2001.

Four Four magazine selected their five favourite Drexciya tracks in a new piece. 

This is an excellent and recently published short essay about Drexciya by Mick Harvey M.Sc.

I made a Time Travel radio show special which focuses on my favourite Heinrich Mueller remixes/remodels for Dublin Digital Radio. 

Remember, even if you are not a member of Facebook you can still read my daily DRL posts there. Direct link to the FB photo archive here (loads of rare press cuttings like the one below etc).

It seems very strange to see Drexciya at number 8 in the UK Indie Singles Chart (Melody Maker 11/3/95) but it really happened! In fact at the height of Britpop they were in the top 30 for at least a month with The Journey Home EP on Warp Records. Sales of the 12" and CD must have been very strong and consistent (8 was as high as it went).

While still remaining very underground, 1995 was certainly Drexciya's breakthrough year as far as recognition goes with this EP, the Aquatic Invasion 12" on UR and the Elecktroids EP and album also on Warp. Of course sales of their back catalogue would also have been increasing from this year on. This same year Dopplereffekt also released their debut EP, Fascist State.

The MM indie charts at this time were compiled from sales from the Subterranean chain of record shops. According to a comment on Discogs, Drexciya also appeared in the NME's Indie Singles chart for the same period but I don't have any copies. To my knowledge their charts were compiled from a different source. Nice one for the archive anyway.



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.