Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Qadim Haqq interview

Abdul Qadim Haqq, who did the artwork for Drexciya's Neptune's Lair album, very kindly answered some questions I posed for him. This is the first interview I've requested for DRL and now I have a few more people in mind to approach.
He is a visual artist who has been working professionally since he first met Derrick May in 1989. Since then he has produced artwork for many notable labels, including Transmat, Planet E and UR. He is still based in Detroit and exhibits all over the world.
Q: How did your first professional involvement with Drexciya come about?
A: It was in the late 90's when James Stinson approached me with his Neptunes Lair concept. I think it was the summer of 99. It was going to be the first Drexciyan concept album.
Q: Did you know them socially already or only when the first project with them arose?
A: I knew James Stinson in passing from being at Submerge often. Gerald Donald I knew of even less.
Q: Did they have specific ideas for you, just give you the title and track listings or completely leave it up to you?
A: James Stinson had very specific ideas about Neptunes Lair. He had their whole underwater world and civilization thought out in his head. He gave me very detailed descriptions and then we worked together on the Drexciyan Warrior and Cruiser.
Q: Did you feel any connection or kinship with their dedicated approach to music, the enigmatic presentation of their image and the imaginary world they created with their words and music with the way you work?
A: I felt a very deep kinship with James. He was brilliant when it came to science fiction and that's always been my favourite subject matter. When we thought out the concepts of the album together it was very natural for me. I think we worked well together.
Q: Did everything you submitted for Neptune s Lair make the finished artwork or was there things you would have liked to have seen added?
A: Yes. We pretty much thought out everything together. There wasn't anything extra that I did that didn't go on the album.
Q: Was there any other work you would have done for them, outside of Neptune's Lair, which people might not be aware of?
A: After the death of James Stinson, I did a tribute painting of the Drexciyan Warrior on a wood panel. The title was "Long live Drexciya".
Q: When you did the artwork for Aquanauts what was your instruction, if any or how did you decide to approach it?
A: I was instructed by Mike Banks to take the concept to the next evolutionary level if you will. Since James Stinson's brother was in the Aquanauts, we wanted to keep the same vibe as with Drexciya but change it up slightly.
Q: The central figure in your Third Earth Heroes image on your websites homepage looks very much like a Drexciyan. What today is your personal feeling and opinion about Drexciya's music and legacy?
A: I am amazed by their achievements looking back after all these years. I think Drexciya was the "perfect storm" if you will. A number of elements that converged to make something unique and sublime.
Q: As one of the illustrators of Drexciya's world, even though it was a commercial job, this places yourself amongst the very first artists to be inspired by them to do work. Were you aware that since the death of James Stinson they have had a similar inspirational effect on other artists such as Ellen Gallagher and Kapwani Kiwanga? How does this make you feel about this ongoing process you played your part in?
A: This is amazing as I was just contacted and interviewed by Ms. Kiwanga just a couple of weeks ago. I'm really glad there is such interest in Drexciya and their concept. I'm proud to have been the choice of James to be the artist for Neptune's Lair. What's funny is most people don't realize that Drexciya themselves didn't write the most famous story (myth, legend) that they are known for! It was the Unknown Writer!
Q: What are your current activities and plans for the future?
A: I'm currently finishing up my project of a lifetime. I've written an artbook that tells the story of Detroit Techno and it's legends done in a sci-fi style. I did all new paintings and images for it too. There will also be a CD that features tracks from 6 of the legends in the
book. They are:
Derrick May
James Pennington
Carl Craig
Jeff Mills
Mike Banks
The Martian
I hope when it comes out, I will be able to bring it to your country!
Best regards,
A Qadim Haqq
Techno Visual Artist

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Heinrich Mueller Remixes

For sometime now I've been conscious that due to the growing number of Heinrich Mueller remixes out there that they deserve a full article in their own right. Maybe in so doing I can help put them in some context and order and hopefully bring a few to your attention that had passed you by. I won't go too deep into them, in most cases they are what they are anyway. A few hidden classics exist within them needless to say. If I've missed anything, made any mistakes or if you can locate any audio links I missed, please let me know. - For sure there is an album in the making here, maybe not all of the tracks would make the cut, but I think it's a shame that some of them can only now be heard on the internet or not at all if you don't already have it. But this is from a fans perspective, from the artists perspective he might not think that releasing a rag bag of old remixes of wildly differing styles would serve him very well at all. The other more obvious thing about a compilation of remixes is that Mueller may not get much financial reward from such a release. He has already been paid for his work, the tracks now belong to whatever label commissioned them. I presume there would be some income for him for the use of his name and goodwill towards the project but unless he was supplying additional material which he owned the copyright to it might not be worth his while. - The real shame and irony of this is that these aren’t strictly speaking remixes at all, they are almost 100% original compositions. Which makes them doubly of value and interest to the fan. Why he does that is one of the few questions I'd like him to answer. I guess at one end of the spectrum he might view them as reworks of someone else's music or concept, just without using very much of the original to do it. At the other he may be appalled by the originals and want to use no element of them. He could also be taking the piss at times which Aphex Twin has admitted to doing when talking about a Lemonheads remix he had forgotten about until a courier came to his door to collect it and he just gave them a random DAT that he knew had a new track of his on it. In fact this artist is the only other one I can think of that more often than not takes this same approach to other people’s work. When his remixes were compiled on the awesome '26 Mixes for Cash’, if you read the credits you can see how on only a fraction of them did he share in the publishing. If you take the cash upfront you forfeit future gains no matter who you are, but that is the nature of the remix. Just ask Jason Nivens! - Discogs was an invaluable source for me when I was putting all of this together and I would like to thank anyone that has ever patiently uploaded information relating to what is to follow. I've included a Discogs link to each release as well. Due to the difficulty in obtaining some of these tracks, where I could find them online I've included links for you to hear them. - Scan X - Wasteland (Prototype 1) & Wasteland (Prototype 2) by Dr Finn & Dr. Otto Henke (F Communications CD single &12” 1996) The French techno artist Stéphane Dri aka Scan X released this as a CD and 12” single. In the artwork for the 12” they have split it into French and Detroit sides. For some reason the slightly shorter 'Prototype 2' comes first on side B of the 12". This was the only time this extremely Germanic sounding pseudonym was used by Heinrich Mueller. It doesn't sound like him at all but some more familiar and Muellerish sounds do emerge though. I wouldn't say there very remarkable, kind of spacey acid tracks. Maybe, owing to the new name he was thinking of exploring this sound? One thing about them which is consistent with his future approach to remixes is that they are basically his own creation, being whole new tracks and not remixes in the normally accepted sense. ‘Prototype 2’ can also be found on the ‘Funk Electric’ mix CD on Hydrogen Dukebox from 1998. Very interestingly, the same year, what appears to be ‘Wasteland (Prototype 1)’ got another lease of life when it was included on the ‘Techno Parade’ compilation CD by Sony but here it is credited as being a Dopplereffekt remix. I wouldn’t say that was approved of! http://www.discogs.com/release/524 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtW3lajW3NE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xxWj_SR9oc - Hell - ‘Suicide Commando’ (Translation Mix) Translated by: Heinrich Mueller (Disko B/V2 12" 1998) You can find this on the Hell 12” and CD single ‘Suicide Commando’. This as you all no doubt know is DJ Hell. This mix also comes from the same period when he began to work with Hells International DJ Gigolo’s label when they released the debut Der Zyklus 12" the same year. So some kind of relationship building was going on between them. Hell must have approved of the mix because it was included as one of the extra tracks on the Japanese CD version of his 1999 ‘Munich Machine’ album as well. It starts off very like the original but does turn into it's own thing. Although it is probably the only remix here which does bear a resemblance to the original track throughout. Which is why I suppose it was allowed to be included as a bonus track on Hell's album. The sound is pure Mueller during this Der Zyklus period. More details at http://www.discogs.com/release/67748 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmWB7A0vNO8 - Le Car - ‘Cinematic-Automatic’ (Heinrich Muller Remix) (Intuit-Solar 12” 1999) You can find this on ‘Comin from tha D’ (instalment 3.0). On the sticker it states that the remix is by Dopplereffekt but on the label it reads less sensationally, ’Heinrich Mueller Remix‘. One of my personal favourites, having beautiful textures and sounds, very smooth, kind of perfect, time capsule stuff. The “Cinematic” and “Automatic” vocal samples sound like they come from the original. You can also hear it on the 2002(3 years ahead of its time!) Electroclash compilation, ‘Flash’, on UCMG France. It can also be found on a mix CD, ‘The Next Step of New Wave‘ by The Hacker, from 2000 on Human. This collection came out again in 2004 twinned with an Oxia mix CD as ’An Electro Mix Box’ on UWe(making it 5 years before its time!) More details here http://www.discogs.com/release/13810 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QMMlQ9m2Tc - The Hacker - ‘Fadin' away’ (Heinrich Müeller Remix) (GoodLife 12” 2000) Also found on the ‘GoodLife Volume 1’ label compilation from 2002. Very spacey opening, very Der Zyklus II sounding as well which is no surprise, being from the same time period. Lovely keyboard line, classic Mueller bass line which launched a thousand tracks and nice wobbly bit! It’s a pure dream. If it had vocals and was slower it could be a bit like The Other People Place stuff. Sounds nothing like the original of course. I haven’t heard this in a long time and glad I put it on is how I feel about it. More details here http://www.discogs.com/release/10801 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bpdxmAFBpA - Station Rose - ‘Dave’ (Heinrich Mueller: Stanley Kubricks Vision Mix) (Gigolo 12” 2000) Here Mueller really does return to Stanley Kubricks vision and employ a huge chunk of dialogue from the Hal 9000 computer speaking in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. This film was the original inspiration for the Station Rose track as well. But Mueller uses what sounds like the entire scene of when Dave is turning Hal off with again a totally new composition on top. It’s a minimal enough track even though it seems to have all the usual Mueller elements on show. The track is also a bit subdued and stuck in its own groove but that is a small complaint in this context. More details here http://www.discogs.com/release/20120 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YujAdut7ms - Tuxedomoon - ‘What Use’ (Heinrich Mueller Technik Mix) (Gigolo 12” 2000) Another classic from Mueller! It takes a while to get going but once that bass line kicks in you now who it is and where your going. He employs a female vocal sample from somewhere and it all sounds new to me. There is also a male “What is the use?” sample which sounds like it could be Mueller speaking himself, it has to be. This repeated phrase gets to you after awhile, what is the use, what is he really talking about? This track has many of the production sounds we expect from Mueller and could be viewed as the high water mark of his sound at this time. His old friends Ectomorph remix the other side which makes this release something of a Detroit affair marketing-wise. On my record there is a black piece of tape over Schwarzenegger’s face as well, dating it to after Gigolo were told to stop using this image of body building Arnold. Also found on the Gigolo CD ‘No Tears/What Use Remixes & Originals’. It also opens a mix CD called ‘Gazometertraxxx Vol. 14’ on XXX in 2001. But the most exposure it would surely have got was by being included on the mega selling ‘World Service’ mix by Dave Clarke in 2001, it actually also opens the Electro Mix CD there. More details here http://www.discogs.com/release/18021 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhK_1xZdWgw - Air - ‘Le Soleil Est Près De Moi’ (Dopplereffekt Remix) (Source CD 2001) This is an incredible remix I have mentioned before. It was only available on a CD given away free with a French music magazine alongside another Air remix by another artist. This is pure electro, so much so that someone used it for a break-dancing video on YouTube. Really this is a track that is just perfect. The only element of the original is a vocal sample at the beginning of the track. Going by the year the style of this track is not totally unexpected from him, he would soon be releasing the first Arpanet album on Record Makers, which is a label founded by Air. Maybe this is how these hook ups happen, a remix request and then if things work out they go further. Maybe the same thing happened with DJ Hell as well. Going further back in time, it was Source, which is Air’s label, who licensed Dopplereffekts ‘Gesamtkunswerk’ for France, the UK and Ireland. It’s no wonder then that they used a Dopplereffekt remix credit rather than Heinrich Mueller or something, so they might promote another release on their catalogue. I’m just glad they kept it in the family or we might not have got such a great track. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SuiaDrw5n4 More details here http://www.discogs.com/release/807584 - Takbam - Takbam (Photon Mix) by Heinrich Mueller. (Loopa / Ki/oon CD single 2001) Found on ‘Technomusik Ab Und Zu (Galactik Pizza Delivery Vol. 3)’by Japan’s own Takbam. I wonder how this one came about? I'm guessing the only element he has borrowed is the central vocal sample saying, you guessed it, "Takbam". This is extremely good, with many classic Mueller atmospherics very typical of what you hear on the Der Zyklus II 12" and if you liked that period you will love this. It is a fast paced track as well, with almost a Drexciyan drum pattern in some places to my ears. Although the drum programming is a bit over crowded in places. It's lengthy as well at over 8 minutes. More details here http://www.discogs.com/release/315555 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2yIuqjFznI - The Advent - Untitled (Heinrich Mueller Remix) (Kombination Research 2X12” 2003) Found on a 12” double pack, ‘Recreations Part 3', of remixes by various artists of an untitled track by The Advent. It should come as no surprise to see Mueller working with The Advent as they were the first to licence Dopplereffekt material outside of the US on a compilation they put out in 1997. Also their label Kombination Research released the Abstract Thought album from the Storm Series. This is another amazing track I must say, right up there with the Air remix for me, I could listen to this all day. Not sure how much of the original is here but it is tight, designed to move a floor, has great piano and an awesome synth. This remix however does throw up an unexpected production style from him in 2003, when he released ‘Linear Accelerator’ of all things. Maybe this track was done as something of an antidote to what he was working on. By the way, if there ever is a collection of these remixes someday then this alone would justify it quality-wise. Incidentally on the label each artists country of residence is given, Germany is given for Mueller. He is obviously comfortable to let people know where he is then. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFOVla2j5M8 More details here http://www.discogs.com/release/118365 - Duplex - P.O.M. (Time Dilation) & (Time Dilation 2) by Heinrich Mueller (Clone 12” 2005) P.O.M. is a Duplex track which is a plea to ‘Play Our Music’. ‘Time Dilation’ has disturbing what sound like vocal samples throughout, about halfway it goes through a very eerie and bare breakdown. At one point it briefly morphs into something else and then changes back again. The ending is like a minute of its own thing as well. It’s a mid tempo track and not bad. ’Time Dilation 2’ is killer, drop this anywhere and you’ll have the floor on your side. They might not be dancing on their own terms, it’s not obvious, but this track can work its own magic. Again it is bleak but the rapid tempo saves it from boredom, it has a major change towards the last third of the track which the DJ would better have mixed out of by then. This is very worthwhile release and worth finding. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfaJnFZ0IXo More details here http://www.discogs.com/release/545817 - Kavinsky - Testarossa Autodrive (Arpanet Nightdrive Rework) (Record Makers 12” 2006) Found on Kavinsky’s Teddy Boy 12” EP. Mueller here moves to his Arpanet guise but this makes sense as it helps Record Makers promote one of Kavinsky's label mates as well. Some very sharp and funky sounds on display here at a fast tempo with nice breakdowns. There is some real Dopplereffekt 'Calabi Yau Spaces' type sounds going on here as well, no-one quite sounds like this, but it is still to me very accessible. Again it is very different to the original, it may borrow one or two elements but these are very minor pieces of the remix as a whole. Listen to it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlgkFeFzpZA More details here http://www.discogs.com/release/602070 - Duplex - Autosug (Heinrich Mueller rmx) (Clone 12” 2006) Another Duplex remix and this time also very much showcasing Muellers own sound from this period. This is spooky stuff but because of its fast tempo it kind of makes it less disturbing. The other remixer on this side of the 12” is Anthony ’Shake’ Shakir which makes this side somewhat Detroit centric. Also this indirectly unites two artists which have worked together in the past, on one of the tracks on the debut Der Zyklus 12”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14OL52uekGo More details http://www.discogs.com/release/616278 - Cisco Ferreira - Womans Scent (Heinrich Mueller Remix) (Tresor 12” 2006) From the ‘T.R.I.N.I.T.Y. Remixed’ 12” by The Advent man Cisco Ferreira. This is a very fun track that has a lot going on within its bouncy and hyperactive frame. There is a female vocal sample which says, “A woman’s scent is determined by pheromones. Estragon develops the females secondary sexual characterises. The physiology of the female body and pheromones attracts males ” This sentence gets broken up throughout the track. The subject could have been total early period Dopplereffekt. Musically however it fits in well with what we expect from Mueller in 2006. It has some great breakdowns and a very experimental sounding ending as well with sense of humour intact. Listen to it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-HHBSPt2UM More details here http://www.discogs.com/release/683678 - Bochum Welt - Saint (Heinrich Mueller - Z Version) (Rephlex 10” 2007) 10” release by Bochum Welt which features his own ‘Robotic Operating Body’ as the other track. Nicely insistent but laid back instrumental track. It’s a bit light maybe but it does have an edge from some weird sporadic sounds. In keeping with what we expect from the Mueller of this modern period. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrK1yu569BE More details here http://www.discogs.com/release/1126759

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Further Visual Research

I’ve here compiled a bunch of stuff from YouTube which all has connections to Drexciya and Heinrich Mueller for your own research. You’ll see tons more links to other video’s if you want to go further. See you again in a few hours!

Large Hadron Collider documentary

Cern self-made documentary

And who said scientists don't have a sense of humour, check out the 'Large Hadron Rap'! They should have gotten Dopplereffekt on the case.

Biometrics Introduction
Biometrics in use in Afghanistan
Biometrics future

Onefor the German speakers, programme featuring and about Anton Zeilinger’s theory

Also some lighter stuff...
DJ Stingray 313 interview where he mentions Drexciya

Some Detroit music history
Mad Mike of UR on Slices 2006
Universal Techno 1996 documentary

Just a few rarities now thankfully existing in video form, with things like these they will never be forgotten. Some of these have and will be watched a serious amount of times.

Clarence G - Turbine
Drexciya - Aquarazorda
Drexciya - Davey Jones Locker
Drexciya - Hydro Theory
Drexciya - Vampire Island
Drexciya - Devil Ray Cove
Drexciya - 700 Million Light Years From Earth
Japanese Telecom - Virtual Geisha (she interacts)
Japanese Telecom - Japanese Animation
The Other People Place - You Said You Want Me
Lastly a tasteful audio tribute to Drexciya from CN on their latest EP, listen at link below