Sunday, September 28, 2014

Black Replica

The subject or concept of Black Amnesia (Replica) is about the future of the human emotional state, the science and theory of it, dreams versus reality, the impending darkness of the future of the mind, and how we have to face this. Memories and history also play an important part, may we learn from them. Psychological. 

Next year it will be 10 years since I stated DRL so as things are a bit slow with new Drexciya/Mueller news right now I thought it might be a good idea to begin an occasional series where I refer to some of the previous subjects I covered in those early years. First on my list is easily Black Replica who new readers might not even be aware of. This was the first MySpace based collaborative project of Heinrich Mueller which due to its incredible music and that nothing was ever really resolved about it (there were never any physical releases or new information about them other than what they gave us) it has remained very pure and mysterious and, I believe, remains very compelling for many others too. All of these MySpace projects were perfect for me to cover and publicize with DRL at the time and a lot of fun and exciting to try and figure out at the time.

Their page was first launched on MySpace in October 2006 with three incredible songs and was fronted by a still anonymous female. She did appear to go under the name Black Replica though and did do one interview which actually dated from an embryonic period of the group before their songs were even fully completed. This interview can be read at this archival DRL link and the quote above comes from it. About the same time they launched a YouTube account called Paradox Twin to host videos for 'Mathematical Eyes' and 'Twilight Pupil' and later would add one more new song to the player. One of the most surprising things they did was play live with a string of five dates in small clubs in Europe during the first half of 2007. Without Mueller anywhere in sight she appeared solo on stage with a very theatrical show. As she wasn't playing any instruments but had a backing tape it was more like a PA with costume changes and video projections which made me wonder if she was a performance artist of some kind. One of my readers sent me a review of their Swedish date (which was also the very first Dopplereffekt live show which also bizarrely didn't feature Mueller either). We now know that this was also probably the last thing they did until without warning in December 2009 an additional three new songs were added to their player. While again they were very good tracks they may have been leftovers and since then there has been nothing.

About the same time as that nice surprise they removed all images from their MySpace account and also took down the two videos they had made from YouTube (a still from one is above and was their profile pic). Even a fan video I had done for 'Black Feathers' which had been up for two years or more suddenly prompted a short message from their account asking me to please remove it as the song belonged to Dataphysix (Mueller's label and production company). I complied and presume others must have gotten the same request as many of their live videos and otherwise disappeared also around this time. A few live videos do still exist online however and I'm glad they do as this is now our only live record of them, links below. I had already used their images many times on DRL so I had copies of them which I reproduce here but the originals were mostly quite low resolution (they had probably been automatically resized by MySpace when uploaded).

As all of Mueller's other collaborative MySpace projects from this time, Zwischenwelt and Zerkalo and later Gedankenexperiment, all went on to have more conventional releases I have a feeling that they wanted to keep Black Replica separate from this for some reason. Perhaps it was just an experiment with new media, something for the fans and not to be tainted by commerce but this is just speculation on my part.  I got the impression at the time they were really beginning to find their own small fanbase in the dark wave electro scene that was kind of popular in the underground at the time and could easily have continued.

Thankfully all seven of their tracks can still be heard on their player and they are all well worth hearing. I don't know what happened with MySpace since then, it did go through some big changes and became old news pretty fast once Facebook came on the scene. The old accounts which survive are pretty plain looking today and obnoxious MySpace promoting videos tend to pop up on them but please don't let this put you off from checking out Black Replica. Alternately you can use the player to record the songs as MP3s and add them to your iPod or computer as I have. Today after almost 10 years the music has very much endured and I'm quite comfortable to never know what it was all about and would be very surprised indeed if they were ever to reform at this stage. While hard to discover they are not a group easily forgotten, let the mystery continue.

I wrote quite a long piece about them in late 2008 which is a good place to read more details and speculation about the project or if you simply use the search box for Black Replica you will find whatever I wrote about them and more. That all important MySpace player can be accessed at this link. There is a live video with a new track not on the player from Madrid and also a two part video from a show in Gent (here is part 2) and one more from another show which shows a clip from one of the videos as a projection. There are also again plenty of fan videos for tracks from the player if you search YouTube.