Thursday, December 03, 2009

Drexciya Oddities 1/4 'Wardance'

While I have written an extensive article on every release so far relating to James Stinson and Gerald Donald there are still four individual tracks relating to Drexciya which I have not gone into in detail which are well worth examining while we await new material and news.
The nature of these oddities are, in order of release; a collaboration with The Martian, ‘Wardance' on Red Planet in 1994, a remix of UR’s ‘Electronic Warfare’ in 1996 and the track, 'Davey Jones Locker', included on the 'True People: Detroit Techno' compilation on React in 1996 and the track ‘Aquatacizem‘, included on the Interstellar Fugitives compilation in 1998. For any artist or group after a 10 year lifespan to have so few tracks in their catalogue not exclusive to one of their own releases is unusual, especially in electronic music. But James Stinson at least is on record as not liking the idea of his own material being remixed, "It’s a piece of art, like the Mona Lisa, never meant to be remixed.” So I guess he would have largely felt the same way about doing it to others. Also, while they did appear on many compilations it was usually with previously released material. Stinson did not tend to collaborate with anyone outside of Donald either and if he did this material has never surfaced. I say this as I could imagine it as being very likely that there would have been times he was over at the UR studio for example when his talents might well have been used but not directly acknowledged as this was the collective way with UR. I guess this goes for Donald as well but with him I see it as less likely he would be into hanging out at other people’s sessions but you never know. He did begin officially collaborating with others outside of Stinson in the mid nineties onwards with Brendan M. Gillen as Flexitone and more than likely was at the dawn of Ectomorph as well and this subject I will probably cover in some detail in the future. Not to mention his Dopplereffekt collaborators, Kim Karli and William Scott, from 1994 on. There was also one other collaboration, this time jointly, as X-Ternal Pulse at the beginnings of Ultradyne, I have written a bit about this already and here is link to that article. In case some of you are wondering, The Elecktroids collaboration has already been covered by me. I was going to do these three releases in one article until I realised I had too much to say about each one and with this lengthy intro piece as well I've decided to split them up. Have also squeezed in new Dopplereffekt info at end of article. So in order of release here we go.
- The Martian - 'The Long Winter of Mars’ 2X12" (Red Planet 1994)
This was the fifth in the very popular Red Planet released series and it came out as a double 12” pack in 1994. The Martian is said to be either Mike Banks of UR or maybe someone called Will Thomas, I'm not sure if this has ever been confirmed. But one thing we do know is that on one track here, the opener ‘Wardance’, the credit runs 'Aquatic Assault Programming: by Drexciya'. There are vocals by Astral Apache in this track as well whoever that is but there was a track called 'Astral Apache' by Galaxy 2 Galaxy (UR 25) the year before. It is just over 10 minutes long and if you were expecting it to sound like something Drexciya had done before you will be very very surprised. It does sound a bit dated to me, it was 15 years ago, but we also have to remember that Stinson and or Donald are only down as programmers on this so they didn’t write it or come up with the concept (we can't blame them!) and we can only ever speculate how the collaborative process would have gone down or if they had a big or small part in shaping the track or not. It might even have happened in a very casual way like how I described already. The main rhythm track begins very much like any techno track of the time, but once past the three minute mark enough original signatures have emerged from the mix to give it its own character. As I said, the track does start off very bare but soon jumps fully formed into life with a classic techno snare and a nice rolling bassline. The programming of all these elements together create a very solid and perfectly formed whole. It's a full on dance track alright with a number of breakdowns which strip the track right back and then it comes back full on again. It manages to sustain a groove nonetheless, keeping your interest for the duration. About the three minute mark those new signatures begin emerging like a clipped vocal and rising and falling in the background a weird spacey ringing synth is heard. The only element of the track with a nod to Drexciya might be an odd kind of underwater ringing sound dropped more as an effect than something which is there all the way through. Drexciya were up to their fourth release, ‘The Unknown Aquazone’, by the time they did this so were very well established in the studio and it shows here. If it shows anything it is that even at this stage Drexciya were capable of mastering more than one style and if they had ever wanted to limit themselves to making just pure techno they would have given all the top producers in that field some serious competition. I do like this track but there were so many amazing tracks which came out of this series, one of my true favourites from it would be 'Sex in Zero Gravity' by Eddie Fowlkes and there are many others. In fact there was a CD compilation of tracks from the series in 1999 but alas 'Wardance' wasn't on it. If you want to hear it and as I presume this release is long deleted there are currently 43 copies of it available through Discogs sellers at very affordable prices
Next in this series will be Drexciya's Electric Eel Mix of UR's Electronic Warfare.
There are two full length Dopplereffekt shows online to watch.
The infamous Roxy show in LA from May 2009
and the more recent show in Berlin, Germany 28/11/09.
Also a new live track with vocals has emerged from Dopplereffekt, perhaps called 'Extra Dimensions'. It sounds like an outtake from Calabi Yau Spaces to me but well worth a listen.


Blogger ji said...

don't know if you already mentioned this on your blog but the warp20 boxset contains a previously unreleased elecktroids track called "elecktroids bonus circuit". it can be listened to at

10:19 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

I hadn't known about the unreleased track, will mention it in next article which will be soon I hope. Cheers

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

new songs at Black Replica Myspace page

6:49 AM  

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