Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Japanese Telecom, Grava 4 and Black Replica reissues and more

Heinrich Mueller's debut self titled 12" EP/mini album as Japanese Telecom is to be reissued and remastered for the first time since 1999 on Clone Records' Aqualung label (in fact there was a very limited re-press in 2007). As you can see it comes with new artwork. It first came out on Detroit's Intuit Solar on both vinyl and CD and contained seven tracks. Hopefully this means the other release under this name, Virtual Geisha (2001), will be next!  It's available for pre-order from Clone now and will be available from about 4th June. 

Drexciya's Grava 4 is also due to be reissued again on vinyl, available from usual outlets from 7th May on Clone Aqualung.

Metaphysik have a limited re-press of the Black Replica album on vinyl and for the first time on cassette. Check their Bandcamp and Big Cartel sites.

There is now an official Soundcloud page for Daughter Produkt. There are 11 tracks there now with 13 on their Bandcamp. 

Roland have included Drexciya's 'Rublick's Cube' in their 'Sound Behind The Song' series. 

You will find the Transllusion releases on a new Tresor Bandcamp.

There is a book in Spanish on Drexciya. You can order it here.

I made a new DRL themed mix for London's Morley Radio, archived here.

I've decided to archive a post (1/3/21) from the DRL FB page to make my feelings known about the article by S. David on Ars Technica (which has yet to be corrected). Since writing it the thought occurred to me that just before he died James Stinson himself settled the matter of the Drexciyan origins in the artwork of Grava 4 (in the CD booklet only) and clearly states that the Drexciya Home Universe lies in space. 

"Drexciya live in two different worlds, what Drexciya does and what UR asks it to do on certain missions"  -James Stinson talking with Tsutomu Noda for Ele-King for Straight No Chaser in 1999

By sharing this new piece by S. David about Drexciya I want to point out that I don't agree with his assessment of Clone Records. I personally think their presentation of Drexciya's music from 1992-1997 in the Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller series is in line with the mystery surrounding those original 12" EPs as they first appeared but this is a community and we are all free to hold our own points of view. 

I would also like to point out that the author makes the mistake of accrediting UR's The Unknown Writer aka Cornelius Harris' sleeve notes from The Quest (1997), only found on the CD, to James Stinson. These sleeve notes of course are the bedrock on which the whole edifice of Drexciya as 'offspring of pregnant African slaves' comes from, which S. David thinks Clone should have referenced in the packaging of Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller

This is an issue that comes up time and again in journalism about them and I totally understand why. I've written about this here before a few times. I love Harris' poetic and very compelling interpretation of where Drexciya come from and it's no wonder this is the version that has been most widely embraced and known around the world. However, if you read his text closely he is careful to pose his words as questions/possibilities only. Drexciya were over about late '95 due to Stinson's health but unexpectedly returned in 1999. I would imagine James saw The Quest sleeve notes and map artwork and was consulted by UR/Submerge about it and approved (we don't as fans know this for sure).

Like any great piece of art, I believe Drexciya's music has been left open to be interpreted in any number of different ways. Perhaps I am wrong, I did not know him personally of course. In all of James' eleven interviews I've archived he has never commented on The Quest sleeve notes or talked in those terms and in fact only directly mentioned slavery once in a different context. He has been vocal about the exploitation of Black culture which S. David rightly brings up and I think his piece raises some very important points in general. Gerald Donald has similarly never talked about the origins of Drexciya. Even Abdul Haqq has acknowledged this in the past, "What's funny is most people don't realize that Drexciya themselves didn't write the most famous story (myth, legend) that they are known for! It was the Unknown Writer!" (in an interview with DRL in 2008).

Clone I believe are essentially just like all of us, fans of James Stinson's music and have been doing a brilliant job keeping it alive and available for new generations of fans. I can only assume they continue to work with the blessing of James Stinson's Estate (his wife and children) as Clone have put out unreleased projects since the original Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller series and I hope there is more to come. 

I would recommend Marcus Barnes' recent piece for Mixmag as I think it manages to successfully address the admittedly complex origin of the Drexciya myth/story.


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