Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Exaltics & Heinrich Mueller - Dimensional Shifting review

Dimensional Shifting
The Exaltics & Heinrich Mueller
(Solar One Music / 2020)

On Spiralgalaxie (Hubble Telescope Series Vol. III) (2016) on Solar One Music, Heinrich Mueller and Robert Witschakowski last paired their own separate music together as a collection. There were also a few collaborative tracks to be found as well under the name Project STS-31. This must have paved the way for Dimensional Shifting, a whole album of them working together. Going by the superb artwork and the track titles it appears to be a concept album about the possibilities of a wormhole (an Einstein-Rosen bridge). On Bandcamp it's described as, '...stripped down layers mixed with chunky synthetic bass lines and stellar melodies over pounding 808 drums on this future classic tinted with nostalgia. Built as a journey through unknown territories...oscillates between moments of bravery on the dancefloor and moody sequences...' (a fair enough self-assessment). In fact they have been building a working relationship since at least 2015 with a few one-offs collaborations and Mueller remixes (check the Solar One Music discography).

I have here reviewed the tracks found on the standard double vinyl album and then move onto the bonus 12" and the extra tracks on the CD (both found on the special editions of the album). It's also worth stating (the obvious) how much of a positive difference is made to the musical frequencies here from being pressed on vinyl and heard through a half-decent hi-fi compared to listening to them as MP3 files through computer speakers/headphones.

'Temporal Matrix' opens the album and is a moody short introduction which sets the scene very well. 'Hologram Universe' really stood out for me and cheekily samples or recreates the bedrock of  'Superior Race', Dopplereffekt's debut 7" from 1995. This is a very unexpected move and obviously that wormhole goes back as well as forward! If you have been waiting for a return to this sound your hopes have been rewarded here. As the track evolves new sounds get added to the mix which do noticeably take it elsewhere but it's a nice 25 years later reboot for sure.

'Signal Filtering From Interstellar Noise' has a real cool bass line and synth sound and might actually be my favourite track. It ricochets along and gradually relaxes for a breather. The sounds are very dreamy and it keeps your attention throughout. 'Encoding' uses a signature Mueller bass-line (circa 2000) which propels it to the outer limits. The creeping atmospherics easily ignite the imagination too.

'Time Aperture' is another favourite for me, bouncy, light and very accessible, one of those tracks you would feel compelled to find out more about if you heard it at a club or party. I think this is one of their best efforts and will hopefully find a wider audience (one for those 'best of' Mueller radio mixes). '3.26 Parallax Seconds' is uptempo and really engages. It has at least three melodies complementing each other. One of those tracks which should manage to always sound fresh due to the surprising ways its sections work together.

'Search For Artificial Intelligence' is similar to the template and even some of the sounds used for 'Encoder'. Another fast pitched number, it really rockets along. In a classic Electro way, this will always be the sound of the future. 'Dimensional Shift' features Paris The Black Fu on vocals (by this stage the human element is welcome). This may be a leftover vocal track from a previous collaboration he did with The Exaltics on the We Exist (Chapter One) 12" (2020). A very uptempo back and forth track with a great change just before the vocal kicks in, edge of the seat stuff.

'Microwave Photon' again uses 'that' Mueller signature bass-line from both 'Encoder' and 'Search For Artificial Intelligence' but luckily the rest of the elements sprinkled around easily make it sufficiently different to function in its own unique terms. Another real standout for me.

In a fitting way the 'Closing The EPR Bridge' could also have served as the start of this time travelling and dimensional shifting journey. It's a more experimental sounding 3 minute movement you could enjoy on an infinite loop. It's a strong album but in the classic double pack tradition, a few real big ones for the feet and enough to satisfy the mind also.

Moving onto the generous bonus coloured vinyl 12" (available in the special editions) you find 'Wissenschaft der Zukunft' ('Science of the Future'). This is another track featuring vocals by Paris The Black Fu who in this case repeats the phrase, "Future and Science" in the way only he can. A good uptempo track with loads of nice atmospheric tones which keeps you listening. 'Dimensionsformel' is the other track and is another uptempo jumpy track which smoothly moves along and even though not a lot happens, somehow by the time you get to the half way point I got really into it.

There are three bonus tracks on the CD as well, also from the special edition and they are all short and more experimental (2-3 mins).

'Anti Proton Engagement Field' boldly stakes out some new ground. It's a bit short for me and could easily have evolved. I like where 'Dark Matter Radiation' was going as well on its slow, sinister, spacey, out of control orbit. 'Non Synchronised Multiverse (Hologram Updating) is quite beautiful and shimmers along in a detached standalone sort of way. 

You can order the digital and physical formats here and at all good record shops. Sound samples here.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Heinrich Mueller & The Exaltics' Dimensional Shifting, Dopplereffekt live video and more

There is another truly amazing package from Solar One Music, Dimensional Shifting by The Exaltics and Heinrich Mueller. Available to pre-order from Bandcamp on 12" vinyl and digital download now (the box set version has already sold out). It will also be available as a double black vinyl gate-fold from Clone (with sound samples) and all usual record shops. You can also listen to the full length 'Signal Filtering From Interstellar Noise' here. Promo text below.

'Four years after their almighty collaboration on “Project STS-31 (Hubble Telescope Series Vol.3)”, Solar One Music’s cofounder Robert Witschakowski and half of Dopplereffekt duo Gerald Donald return with another cosmic album of their instantly recognizable trademark. Featuring ten detailed and luminous cuts of beautifully crafted emotional music, with deep narrative over tough machine groove, the opus takes you on a moody trip across craggy soundscapes made of abrasive tones, crossing the red line between tight-strapped melodic waves, subaquatic underground electro, and intricate structures. Expect nothing but stripped down layers mixed with chunky synthetic bass lines and stellar melodies over pounding 808 drums on this future classic tinted with nostalgia. Built as a journey through unknown territories, much anticipating “Dimensional Shifting” oscillates between moments of bravery on the dancefloor and moody sequences, keeping intact the aesthetic signature of the Jena-based electro emissary and the legend from Detroit.'

Dopplereffekt played a special one hour concert for the Balance - Club / Culture Festival recently and it has been made available on YouTube. They were due to play this festival but due to the Coronavirus it had to happen online instead. Loads of new and unreleased material to enjoy.

There are also five short 15 sec tracks up on the Dopplereffekt Bandcamp. They all include '...= ringtone object' in the title and yes they would make for some pretty cool sounding ringtones. Don't forget that their debut single in 1995 was 'Cellular Phone'.

The hardcover of The Book of Drexciya is available to pre-order now. Abu Qadim Haqq's and other contributors interpretation of the Drexciyan myhos as a graphic novel. Available from Tresor.

New interview from Haqq's The Drexciyan Empire of James Stinson's younger brother Tyree.

There is a new track, 'Filter Schematic', up on the Daughter Produkt Bandcamp. There are now 13 tracks to explore.

Some early Ultradyne productions are getting reissued on this new EP, including a new mix of 'Dr. Blowfins's Experiment' and 'Crossphaze' by X-Ternal Pulse. For those who know. Available to sample and pre-order now at this Clone link.

Random Fact: The first Drexciya track released by Tresor was 'Positron Island', which can be found on their second EP, Bubble Metropolis (1993). It was originally selected by Juan Atkins for his Magic Tracks: Deep Detroit Volume Two compilation, which was a CD only release that Tresor co-released in 1994. I knew about that but until I saw an old Subterranean Distribution advert (Sept '95) I wasn't aware that there had been a limited 12" on Tresor as well which selected just four tracks from the comp and included 'Positron Island'. Someone at Tresor must have liked what they heard, although by this time Drexciya were becoming quite well known in Europe This was four years before they would release Neptune's Lair.

There is a new Zerkalo digital download from Victoria Lukas and Heinrich Mueller. Great to see these tracks get a proper release 'The Lake' and 'You, Whose Sleep Is Without Awakening' were previously only available as videos on YouTube.

Good to see Drexciya included in the so-called 'New Skool' Electro revival of 1995. This chart comes from NME (13/5/95) and was compiled by Ben Willmott. They are in some good company too. Electro never goes out of style!

Legendary Detroit DJ and producer Claude Young has been going through his record box and discovered this previously unknown record. It's a 10" dub-plate made at National Sound Corporation with handwritten lettering, 'Pornophonic Prototypes'. The pre-Drexciyan Glass Domain used the one-off label, Pornophonic Sound Disc for their self-titled EP in 1991. It's actually not this record according to Young. What he said on his Twitter posts below.

'10" Dubplate of the original Drexciya material before the group even had that name. Given to me in the early 90's. Found in my crate. Hate to say goodbye to it but everything must go...' He also later said to a question, 'Yes all the tracks have been released but this was cut to give me something to play on my radio show before any of those records even existed.' To a question as to whether it was the Glass Domain EP he said, 'Definitely not that EP. Project names were interchangeable. There was a pool of tracks that became different things. This was given to me before all of that that stuff existed.'