Thursday, March 17, 2011

Drexciya at MOCA Detroit

This weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit there will be a showing of Hydra Decapita by The Otolith Group which could be seen as major hometown recognition for Drexciya. This blurb is circulating online about them in relation to it, “Not nearly as well known as the Belleville Three (Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson), or the second wave of Detroit techno talent (Mike Banks, Jeff Mills, Rob Hood) the mysterious duo calling itself Drexciya might be best known for introducing a theoretical thread to electronic dance music called Afro-futurism. The group, made up of the late James Stinson and Gerald Donald, created a fictional waterworld populated by descendants of African slaves drowned during the Middle Passage on their way to North America.”

From the MOCA Detroit website
Hydra Decapita (2010) 32 min.
Dir. by The Otolith Group
From 1993 to 2002, the Detroit-based electronic music duo Drexciya released an influential series of recordings that imagined a fictional world system entitled Drexciya, populated by the subaquatic descendants of Africans drowned by slavers during the Middle Passage. The fabulation of Drexciya provides the point of departure for Hydra Decapita, the new work by The Otolith Group that summons a series of spectres of capital in order to convene a seance that immerses audiences within an affective evocation of contemporary economic abstraction.
Showing on Saturday, March 19th at 7PM, free.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dopplereffekt Live 2011

Three posts in two days, well there’s a bunch of Dopplereffekt live dates coming up now!

18th March 2011 Frankfurt, Germany (Be sure to check details at link)
The Otolith Group: A Sunken Trembling, Recalled Dimly
Lise Autogena & Joshua Portway (Newcastle/Bristol)
Rayya Badran (Beirut)
Justin Barton (London)
Dopplereffekt (München)
Mark Fisher (London)
Brian W. Rogers (Santa Cruz)

9th April 2011 Offenbach, Germany

3rd June London, England

If you don’t want to register with RA to listen to the Heinrich Mueller mix you can listen to it here

Just a few new videos you might like

Drexciya – Black Sea
Dopplereffekt - Unknown Vs. Destination Moonbase Alpha
Elecktroids – Midnight Drive
Mysterious Der Zyklus live clip from who knows where, Michaela solo on the 2004 Hand Geometry tour?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Heinrich Mueller RA mix

Just noticed this after I put up previous post a short while ago! Heinrich Mueller and various members of Zwischenwelt have done a mix for Resident Advisor. There is also a short text interview with him and Penelope Martin which you can read in full there too at same link. When asked what he has been up to recently Mueller states, “Investigating new technologies and developing concepts for future works.” Something to look forward to there then. Tracklist below, you can see it includes not only Mueller tracks but also material from the Zwischenwelt collective and his wider associates. Vocal samples from the 2006 relativity and time-shifting lecture series made to promote Arpanet’s Inertial Frame album are used throughout. Most surprisingly the mix goes right back to mid 90’s Dopplereffekt material. All in all a very interesting and revealing mix made in what they refer to as the “Interworld”. You will have to join RA to download the mix.

For archival purposes here’s the question and answer only part of their piece, see full article at link above.

What have you been up to recently?

Mueller: Investigating new technologies and developing concepts for future works, all these things functions in a unified manner. They feedback to one another.

Martin: Zwischenwelt's album production. We all worked really hard for this project, can't wait to see the album out. Also I have been concentrated on ArD2, a project I share with the Spanish producer Ekis. We just finished a new EP and shot a video for one of the tracks of the new EP. Nowadays I'm researching a lot, building the concept for a new project I want to start very soon.

How and where was the mix recorded?

Martin: My lips are sealed on this one; all I can tell you is that the mix was created in the "Interworld."

Mueller: Unsealing lips slightly. The assembly of this data was really a universal effort; building and exchanging ideas on its production. So there was no particular point in space/time where it was recorded, it was a theory and practice situation. It was truly a group and universal effort. We all were working toward the "Interworld" concept.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the idea behind the mix?

Mueller: The primary purpose of this music data assembly is to demonstrate the latest musical developments I'm involved with in addition to other musical workers. So in summary, it is a promotional demonstrator of music technologies.

Martin: The idea was to demonstrate various new music concepts. We brought together music from other projects of Zwischenwelt's members and mixed it with some of the tracks we will find on the Paranormale Aktivitat album.

Can you tell us about the production process behind the Paranormale Aktivitat. We understand it was mostly created via the Internet?

Martin: Yes, we used the internet to organize the work; a lot of conferences where we all four shared new tracks, ideas and made the concept stronger. The Zwischenwelt LP took quite a long time to complete. I got involved in the project in May 2007. Along those years I had to travel to Germany twice, for real time sessions—a great experience where we all share ideas under the same ceiling.

What are you up to next?

Mueller: At this time as stated previously, looking forward to new technologies and concepts, maybe some possible interactivity with other musical scientists to share ideas.

Martin: I'm setting up the foundations for new projects, researching and preparing rhythms and ideas. We are working on a live set for ArD2 as well as new tracks. Also I am looking forward to a more personal with no collaborations, just me as Penélope Martin.

Mix Tracklist
Voice of Relativity
Dopplereffekt - Mirror Symmetry
ArD2 - Sabotage
Beta Evers - Confusion
ArD2 - Utopia
Gedankenexperiment - Conclusion
Urban Tribe - Carbon 14
Paka - Solitude:
Dopplereffekt - Myon Neutrino
Dopplereffekt - Sterilization
Der Zyklus - Polar Coordinates
Dopplereffekt - Scientist
Zwischenwelt - Remote Viewer
Dopplereffekt - Plastiphilia
Zwischenwelt - Shadow Being
Der Zyklus - Formenverwandler
Zwischenwelt - Telemetric
Dopplereffekt - Speak and Spell
Dopplereffekt - Satellites
Der Zyklus - Biometric Systems
Urban Tribe - Amygdala
ArD2 - Drug of a Nation
Zwischenwelt - Premonition
Der Zyklus - Biometric ID
Zwischenwelt - Enigmata
Zwischenwelt - Multiplexsistence
Arpanet - Universe Oscillation
Beta Evers - Only for My Satisfaction
Dopplereffekt - Non Vanishing Harmonic Spinor
Zwischenwelt - Clairvoyant
Neuroleptica - Tardive Dyskinesia
Zwischenwelt - Shadow Being
Dopplereffekt - Anti Neutrino
Zerkalo - I Know More
Arpanet - Grossvater Paradoxen
Dopplereffekt - Z^0 Boson

Download at

Drexciya & Detroit

A little piece of information came my way from a reliable source about Drexciya’s background concept. Take it for what you think it’s worth but once I did some research I found some interesting things. When they were at some presumably very early point in their train of conceptual thought or even all along, they were said to be thinking of what unique life might be lurking down in the Detroit sewer system. To me this could be seen to tie in more with their first project together, L.A.M. (Life after Mutation) which was of course just pre-Drexciya in 1992. Although its track titles etc seem to refer to mutation brought on by pollution of a nuclear variety, if you read the below excerpt from Wikipedia the stuff being dumped into those sewers in the recent past and ending up in Lake Erie was fairly toxic. As I’ve said in previous posts they would soon come up with a far more sophisticated concept but maybe here’s some evidence of an environmental conscience or whatever as well. I love that there is also a link to the sea from Lake Erie as well, there’s still so many interpretations you can take from this material. James Stinson only said it was their music which had nothing to do with their home city or techno but this toxic sewer mutation thing if true does to a degree put Detroit at the centre of their concept. Interestingly, when speaking with Andrew Duke of Cognition Audioworks in 1999 Stinson said when asked where and whether he would perform live, "Yeah-anywhere. In a sewer, underwater, in a swimming pool, in the middle of a swamp, in a back alley somewhere, it doesn't make a difference, we'll appear anywhere, it all depends." and more substantially in the sleeve notes for UR’s Interstellar Fugitives (1998) it states for Drexciya, 'Whereabouts: Last Sighting Eastside Sewer System 7 Mile and Van Dyke Area – Eastside Detroit Sector.'

(From Wikipedia)Much of the land surrounding the Detroit River is urbanised and, in some places, heavily industrialised. This has resulted in excessive water pollution from the unregulated dumping of chemicals and industrial waste for many decades. Much of the garbage and sewage from Detroit's rapid industrialisation found its way into the river. Much of the Detroit River and its shoreline were heavily polluted and unsafe for recreational use. Large quantities of this pollution collected around the mouth of the Detroit River at Lake Erie. The pollutants were so high after the spring thaw that thousands of migrating birds were killed by oil slicks and contaminated water every year. Oxygen levels in the river were depleted to the point where fish were unable to inhabit its waters. Because much of this pollution drained into and affected Lake Erie, portions of the lake itself were considered “dead” and unable to support aquatic life. Swimming in the water or consuming any of its remaining fish were considered health risks.

Thankfully since 2001 there has been a very successful effort to clean up this area and wildlife is returning to Lake Erie and the local river systems, link below. I also found a link for you to watch Julien Temple’s amazing Requiem for Detroit film which shows and puts in context the ruins of modern day Detroit. Watching this film really made me appreciate how Drexciya could have wanted to escape in their minds from this place and dreamt of potential alternate realities just under the surface of things. I also have a link for more photos of the ruins of Detroit, which includes the below image of the Bagley-Clifford Office of the National Bank of Detroit. It’s not all bad, I found a positive news story about a growing urban farming movement that is happening in the city now as well. I never thought I’d get to include a link to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department but there is a history page there that is worth a read in this context. The main page on Detroit in Wikipedia is far more upbeat and of course there is a whole other side to the urban decay found there too. DRL, going deeper into the sewers!

Julien Temple’s Requiem for Detroit film
Ruins of Detroit Photos