Monday, January 28, 2013

Drexciya Top 3

I noticed an article that mentioned Drexciya in an end of year round up which bemoaned how every white kid that comes in to the Dope Jams shop in New York “talks about how great he is yet can’t show us what dope track they have done.” I can actually understand why this might be the case (there is so much material and there are tracks that only work in the context of an album or 12" or are just plain weird but enjoyable). The full text of their gripe went, “$100 Gift Certificate to anyone who can tell us what the good Drexciya track is!!! (Hallstrom that includes you!) I know this one is going to ruffle some feathers but I don't care. I don't understand the infatuation with Drexciya. Every white kid that comes in here talks about how great he is yet can't show us what dope track they have done. I've listened to the comps. I've listened to youtube videos and mp3's people have sent me and I don't get it. It just sounds like mediocre techno to me. I will never understand why they get the praise they do.” Link to original article here.

I decided to help these “white kids” out by doing a top 3 for Drexciya. I did consider a top 10 but sadly I realized this is way too many to really register with people, even 5 is probably too many as well but 3 is the magic number and it meant the real essential stuff in my opinion got listed (although as you will see I did manage to kind of do a top 5 anyway). The criteria I used in selecting these “dope tracks” was that it had to work on its own, grab your attention, sound kind of timeless and might make you want to know more about who did it. My selections are obviously very subjective but it made me revisit my collection and I’m already looking forward to delving into the rest of the material for my next choices. Feel free to send in your own in the comments box, I know they will all be very different from mine but we all get another excuse to delve back into their work. It’s a bit of fun but an interesting subject they raised nonetheless, you might even be able to claim that $100 gift certificate from them!

‘Sea Snake’ (1992)

Right back to the first Drexciya 12”, Deep Sea Dweller, for this one. Already 20 years old but I’d feel very confidant playing this one out anywhere. It is primitive but very loose and playful with loads of the Drexciya signatures already in place. I love it when the high frequency stuff comes in. In the current issue of The Wire Ricardo Villalobos talks about music you can either listen or dance to and I think this is one of those tracks. I couldn’t find a single version of this on YouTube that didn’t have static or else had transfer issues so best to listen to your own copy to appreciate it best. Also available on The Quest (1997) and Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller III (2013).

‘Lost Vessel’ (1999)

From the Neptune’s Lair album. This track just leaps right out of the gate and attacks and is one tune you have to move your body to. If I’d limited this to just one track (which I thought about) then it may have been this one. It’s been included already on a few significant compilations including True Spirit on Tresor in 2002 and by Miss Kitten on her Bugged Out mix in 2006.

‘Birth of New Life’ (2001)

This is the closing track on Harnessed the Storm and is quite simply the lost pearl of their catalogue for me. Possibly their most fully realized and elegantly constructed track that can again be danced or listened to and I can’t really say much more about it except listen.


‘Hydro Theory’ (1995)

Mention must also go to this track from The Journey Home as it now has a combined viewing of almost 350000 on YouTube (their highest rated video) which has got to be recognized as some sort of democratic vote on what the public think. I like it too. Available on Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller I (2011).

‘Hydro Cubes’ (1994)

While it’s a little extreme all 7 minutes plus of ‘Hydro Cubes’ from Molecular Enhancement 12” has got to be a contender too. Maybe more of a fan favourite though as it just might scare a lot of other people off but it is certainly a dope tune, one of their best. Also available on The Quest (1997).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Arpanet Dublin 2013 review

Arpanet, Mabos, Dublin, 19/1/13

Gerald Donald returned to Dublin as Arpanet (he played at the seated Sugar club as Dopplereffekt in 2008) and played a suitably mysterious semi private party at a disused warehouse venue on the banks of the Grand Canal close to the eastern edge of the city. I was there earlier and heard them sound-checking (I did get to meet him) and got to run through my own technical requirements. At that time the building had been freezing but by 9pm when the doors opened the main room was heated by a large wood burning stove which was surprisingly effective and once the room filled with about a capacity 400 people it was fine. It’s a cool new venue with seating from recycled pallets and large pieces of sculpture and paintings dotted around and I even saw that a table tennis table had been unfolded and was being played in one corner as I did my DJ set. I was honoured to be asked to open the event and felt my talk and slides went down well (the full text can be read here), but I kept it short to 20 minutes just in case. This was followed by the first showing in this country of Hydra Decapita by The Otolith Group. I had never seen it myself up to this point and liked it. It seems to feature Gerald Donald’s voice at about 4 points and has a blue text scrolling across the screen with images of the ocean surface, some electronic snow like animation and more. I did notice the line ‘rival interpretations’ of Drexciya’s message and the ‘archaeologists of the future’ stuff about the Drexciya star and wondered if those were references to things I’ve written in DRL in the past.

I was back up next followed by another DJ, Kenny Hanlon from Apartment Records. At 12.30 Gerald Donald appeared, dressed in black and wearing a silver mask as he took to the stage. The audience was very into it all the way through and very close to him and his keyboard. There was just a tiny stage and the DJ decks were behind him. All the tracks were unreleased (some label needs to ask him about putting this stuff out) and more accessible than his current work as Dopplereffekt. However there was still about a 50/50 split between the more easily accessible and more experimental parts of the set. The last few tracks were really amazing though and I would hope these at least might come out someday. The crowd was too tightly packed for anyone to really let loose and dance but it was grooving and making an appreciative noise, as well as taking endless photos and videos. The visuals featured Einstein’s hand written theory of relativity and the globe image from the first Arpanet album as well as the light cone from the second. He played for about an hour and afterwards by chance my girlfriend and I were ushered into an upstairs room by one of the promoters and we got to chat some more with him again before he left. We then checked out the amazing DJ set in the other room from Truss who I had also been chatting with earlier. There was a lovely flow to the whole event with no hassle, which the organizers, Shay D Promoters, had gone to a lot of effort to be the case.

There is already a video of it up at this link.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gerald Donald EBM interview

There is a very detailed and through Gerald Donald interview in the current issue of Electronic Beats magazine. It’s been available in a print edition for sometime but you can now follow a link for it online. There are some great new pictures included and if you go to page 98 there is also a piece about the Neutrino Programme with Zazralt Magic and Katarina Markovic (in photo).

There is an artist called Visonia from Chile currently listing on their Facebook and SoundCloud an upcoming album to feature a collaborative track with Dopplereffekt. Hopefully this will be the case, there are 4 tracks on their page there right now, one to watch.

Zerkalo remain very quiet for them but there is a new video for INKAMERA, one of Victoria Lukas's solo projects.

The third installment of Drexciya's Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller was deplayed due to printing problems but is out now from usual places.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Arpanet Live Dublin

Arpanet will be playing live in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday 19th Jan 2013. This will be their live debut in the city, following Dopplereffekt who last played there in 2008. There will be support by a whole host of local DJ’s plus Truss aka MPIA3 (R&S / Perc Trax - London). I have also been kindly invited to open the event with an artists talk which I have entitled The Allure of Mystery/Thinking About Music. I will also be doing a DJ set sometime later in the night. My talk will be illustrated by a slide show and will be about my experience of mystery in relation to music and how that has influenced my own art as well as doing DRL. I’m still working on it but will put a link to a PDF of it here as soon as it’s ready. (My talk now up at this link) The promoters state that 'membership to attend this private warehouse party is available. To receive your invitation for membership send your (non Facebook) email to'