Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Alden Tyrell interview

There is a very interesting interview with Alden Tyrell about his remastering job of Drexciya’s Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller series on Juno now.

“I must admit, I felt a bit more pressure because of their reputation. It’s pretty easy to fuck up somebody’s work as a mastering engineer and that’s something that’s always in the back of my mind. I think destroying Drexciya’s work would be considered blasphemy in the scene! On the other hand, sometimes I think ‘wow this is pretty amazing, I’m mastering some guys’ music that I always really admired’. I always loved Drexciya’s music: the mysterious Drexciya are from another world and now I have all the original recordings here on my hard drive!” Alden Tyrell, more at link below.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gerald Donald Groove interview

Gerald Donald aka Heinrich Mueller has spoken again in connection to Drexciya’s Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller series. This time he did it to Florian Sievers in the current issue of Groove but in a German text. I used a translation site which is not perfect but for the answers I fixed them up a bit better myself. It’s pretty interesting reading.

Drexciya have purists and Detroit Electro fanatics always addressed as nerds with European interest in African-American blues continuum. Today, many bass music producers refer to the now defunct duo from Detroit. Member Gerald Donald was always the silent technician - until now.

Back overboard, and you have the filter turned on: there is a different world underwater. Not only visually, with all the blue and green, but also sonically. From here, Drexciya have sent 1992-2002 their messages to the surface: While many electronics producers traveled the nineties to the Outer Space of Saturn and Milky Way, or retreated into the inner space, the narrative space of Drexciya was always the abyss of the oceans. Suitable to be found in their second-wave electro-liquid radio, streaming filters rides, hi-hat and emotional shoals, um: depth. In any case, Drexciya have published not just Electro plates. Drexciya had something to say. They had a concept: aesthetically, musically, and ultimately political. It was clear, from Africa. Examples illustrated in the booklet of music compilation The Quest of 1997. There were four cards arrows, first as slaves abducted in the southern United States and were later migrated to the urban centers of the North and West. In 1988, "Techno leaves Detroit, spreads worldwide". And lastly, finally, "The Journey Home (Future)": a dense network lines between North and South America and Africa, without directional arrows. The future has begun.

On Drexciyas 12-inches and albums on labels such as Underground Resistance, Tresor or warp track title were the names of mysterious places such as "Dead Man's Reef", with recurring characters such as Doctor Blowfin or dramatic sketches like "Sighting In The Abyss", the imagination flow freely. They could also be because there were few direct contacts in the deep. They knew that the Drexciya-submarine sat two. On the bridge, James Stinson said at least sometimes, while in the belly of the silent machinery technician Gerald Donald tinkering. Ten years after Stinson's death in 2002 expressed Donald now, even if only using Skype. He collaborated with Stinson as Elecktroids, solo releases under names such as Arpanet, Heinrich Mueller, Japanese Telecom and Rudolf Klorzeiger and was part of Der Zyklus, among other things, Dopplereffekt or Ectomorph. Donald calls himself consistently afrogermanisch "Mr. Jones" - and put his e-mails and Skype messages chosen as a mix of British colonial officials and megalomaniac scientist for tea time. He refused to face questions about the past, its obvious germanophilia and his current whereabouts. But he is closer to home than we think.

Mr. Mueller, why did Drexciya at all times plunge into the water?

We humans face two spheres of existence, the world of gas and the liquid state of the world. In the one we live in, the other is full of mystery and undiscovered regions. It makes up three quarters of the earth's surface, a huge unexplored space right next to us.

Is the water a place to which it drags you? An aquatopia then?

It would be tempting to exist there. We humanoids would need technology because we are air-breathers. Evolution would have us take a point at which we could exist there without technical aids. We know that organisms can adapt to most living conditions. It would need to be given sufficient time, millions of years.

The slave babies were going incredibly fast.

Could you specify that?

Your myth is that the underwater Drexciya people are the descendants of slaves unborn babies whose mothers during passage across the Atlantic as useless cargo and were thrown overboard and learned in the womb to breathe liquid oxygen?

This is a component of the theory, but not comprehensive.

Could you add more components?

Quite simply, the maritime world is a world in itself, and that includes hydrogen, a constituent of water, in abundance in the universe. And the first item of all.

Aha. What influence did example Parliaments play "Aqua Boogie" from 1978 and Miles Davis' album Water Babies of 1976 have?

Irrelevant. The theory developed in isolation.

They said initially been about technology. You have solo pieces with titles like "Biometric ID" or "Cherenkov Radiation". Where does your fascination for technology and physics?

Technology is the manifestation of the human understanding of the natural laws of the universe. Man understands these laws are not complete, but it only works with approximations. But these approaches are at least well enough to manipulate the laws of nature for advancing civilization. Man uses physical force to make machines and build his architectural designs. Technology is therefore extremely urgent for humanity. Music, whose topic this is, is a celebration of our progress.

The way you describe it sounds, but in such a way as if the man in your opinion, is not in full control and engages in risky ventures.

That is correct. Sometimes he loses control, just think of nuclear disasters such as those in Harrisburg, Chernobyl or recently Fukushima. This shows us that the nature and especially the atom are ultimately more powerful.

You just mentioned music, the topic is technology. Technology is the basis of techno, techno, or is a contemporary version of funk and disco - and something more human?

Techno as a sub-category of electronic music is a result of technology, which in turn is a result of scientific progress. But I advocate no such terminology.
Your former partner, James Stinson, worked as a balance to Drexciya as a truck driver. What do you do besides?

Sonic and conceptual research.

So you are a music producer?

In other words, yes.

Stinson died ten years ago, since then Drexciya has ceased. Will there ever be new sound transmissions under this name?

This era has been finalized and is not reinitialized.

That's respectable and consistent. What results of your new sonic and conceptual research can we expect from you instead?

Currently I am working in conjunction with Dopplereffect on a project called "neutrino", which is integrated in addition to the usual sound research astrophysics with electronic music.

Are you aware of the effect that Drexciya is tailored to the aesthetic of many contemporary dance-music-sheets from the dubstep genre? Many producers currently refer back to your boards from the early nineties.

Interestingly, this connection I was not aware. All musical forms interact with each other, there is exchange between different configurations of music. The established diversity.

It shows how ideas can live on, because some of these producers were not even born when your first EPs would have been released. How old are you?

Let me put it this way: I'm in a later stage of my life.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Kim Karli interview

Earlier this year Kim Karli contacted me out of the blue to say hi and after some procrastination on my part I sent her some questions about her time in Dopplereffekt. I knew she wouldn’t or couldn’t answer them all without destroying the mystery surrounding the early years of the group but I told her to answer what she felt comfortable with and luckily for us she did.

Kim was a member of Dopplereffekt from 1994 to roughly 97 where she most obviously contributed vocals on what have since become some of their best known tracks. Also various images of her could be found in their sleeve artwork of the time, which she explained to me were actually publicity shots from her acting days. She lives a more private life now in Detroit but did make it out to catch up with Dopplereffekt and see them play live recently at Movement 2012 there. She does still make music in her home studio but only for herself. I wonder instead if some producer of today could ever coax her into a guest appearance; it would be great to hear her iconic voice again.

She mostly chose to talk about that show, the origins of her name and a little of what it was like to be in the group. However on the subject of mystery she said, “You like the handmade look of the records and all the aliases you say. You agree then that mystery lures.” From this interview those mysteries are sure to continue to lure us in for some time to come then.

How was Dopplereffekt at Movement?

“Let's start by saying - show well done, Movement at Hart Plaza in Detroit. This event brought out some of Detroit's good old boys -- or, innovators I should say. Nice to see the city come alive and bounce to some great beats! I love that Dopplereffekt is still evolving and I enjoy that people old and YOUNG alike appreciate. So much of a YOUNG crowd these days. Some weren't even born in the early 90's yet. I shudder to think!! Yet that's what keeps us relevant, so thank you - buy our records, come to the shows. We need you to listen and dance! I need to get a new DE shirt - GERALD.........! I overheard this guy standing next to me while watching a portion of the DE show from the side... I like to watch people and their craziness... Anyways, he was talking to his buddy and trying to catch a glimpse of the girl on stage...and he said, "It doesn't seem to look like the original girl." That put a GIGANTIC smile on my face. You don't even know. I also remember a time though when Andrea Parker called me "Kim Kandi" in a review from back around 1995. I guess it depends who your crowd is... but at least she knew enough to comment. So, no offense taken Andrea :O)”

Is that your real name?

“In college I was a radio DJ for a while and you were encouraged to pick an "on air" name."Kim Karli" came from wanting to sound like Anne Carlini. She has been rockin' the airwaves at WRIF for over 20 years! One of the most recognizable voices on Detroit radio. Her sexy voice is a favorite amongst Riff listeners, and a HUGE favorite of mine.”

Can you give me some info on when you joined Dopplereffekt and what it was like?

“Kim Karli joined DE in the early mid 90's. It was an interesting union. Suburb & City. Getting to the Reactor Electronics Laboratory was not as easy as one would think. I had to ride a gravity wave created by Element 115 and it's time distortion field would sometimes throw me off for SEVEN DAYS or so. CRAZY”

How’s your life today?

“I've lived about nine lives... and I still can't stop, but I'm much less public now. So you will be lucky to catch me in a DE show these days, but you never do really know......... one can't keep this kitty in a box, that's for sure.”

Thanks Kim

Kim supplied the weblinks in her answers so I have included them too.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

New Drexciya interview?

ClashMusic received a communiqué from someone claiming to be from Drexciya in answer to some questions they sent. I'm sure that Drexciya mania must be peaking about now as we come to the mid-point of the Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller reissue series and Gerald Donald must be getting some emails at the very least about his work with them. Judging by the style of answers it may well be him doing the talking here but you be the judge of that. The full article by Matthew Bennett is at link below.

Why has your music remained so singular?
“Endurance is relative to the observer.”

Why the anonymity?
“The music is more urgent than the organizers of it and should take a place of primary importance, so it does not matter if one is known or not known directly. Personality is not a requirement for serious music production and they should remain separate. When the cult of personality displaces the importance of the creative process, problems begin and degeneracy unfolds.”

How did you stay so true to your creativity?
“To never compromise their original creative vision and amplify its intensity over time. For it to be definitive, it must increase chronologically.”


Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN today may have found the elusive Higgs Boson. Perhaps we can expect a new Dopplereffekt album soon then?

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Der Zyklus - Von Neumann Replicator review

A new Der Zyklus track appears on the just released split 12” with Albert van Abbe on his No Comment label. Last time Mueller remixed a van Abbe track on a previous No Comment 12” but this time they do their own thing on this split release but perhaps sharing the same Von Neumann inspiration as you will see. These two men have been steadily building a working relationship, van Abbe also does the visuals for Dopplereffekt’s Neutrino A/V show, and it would not surprise me to see this continue and grow.

Der Zyklus open side 1 with 'Von Neumann Replicator', which originally was a self-replicating machine in a cellular automata environment. I have struggled to get my head around just what this might actually be and have a link below for you to try yourselves. Musically it is a reasonably bright and spritely instrumental number from Mueller with a lovely collection of synth washes and melodies with a snare sound that must be one of his sharpest to date. You could miss the subtle and curious bass line weaving it’s way throughout as well but it may be what is really pulling you along all the time. It made me (predictably maybe) think of it as a soundtrack for deep space probes hurtling to the edges of the known universe. Maybe I should be thinking more of a self-replicating machine but that is what it does to this listener! While you may find it a short enough track at just over 4 minutes it does somehow feel longer, making you lose your sense of time to a degree as you listen.

Next up on this side is the first of the van Abbe tracks. If you need reference points I would say that both of his contributions have a bit of a Basic Channel feel to them with a quite minimal and serious production approach. They have the funk too with ‘Von Neumann Machine’ (Version 2) the more loose of the two with some nice Muellerish atmospherics emerging halfway through. The next of his tracks takes up the whole of side 2 and is another version of ‘Von Neumann Machine’ (perhaps version 1?). This features a faster tempo with harder beats and gradually grows into a bit of a showstopper he should be very proud of.

So there you have it, one more piece of the ever expanding Mueller catalogue finding its home on a limited to 300 marbled vinyl 12”. I was sent the white label test pressing on black vinyl for this review. You can listen to samples from all the tracks at this Clone link and go deeper at the others.