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Harnessed the Storm (2002) Drexciya
[FR] [DE] [UK]

Drexciyan dies

James Marcel Stinson dies on the 3rd of September 2002 from a heart complication. The project Drexciya loses one of its masterminds, and the electronic music world looses one of it's most innovative musicians.


Drexciya was an electronic music band from Detroit, Michigan. The late James Stinson was the only officially identified member of Drexciya, but it was considered an open secret that he had a partner, Gerald Donald.

The majority of Drexciya's releases were in the style of harsh, dancefloor oriented Electro, punctuated with elements of retro, 1980s Detroit Techno, with occasional excursions into the Ambient and Industrial genres.

Drexciya combined a faceless, underground, anti-mainstream media stance with mythological, sci-fi narratives, to help heighten the dramatic effect of their music. In this respect they were similar to artists within and close to the Detroit collective Underground Resistance.

Their name referred to a myth comparable to Plato's myth of Atlantis, which the group revealed in the sleeve notes to their 1997 album "The Quest". "Drexciya" was an underwater country populated by the unborn children of pregnant African women thrown off of slave ships that had adapted to breathe underwater in their mother's wombs.

Reports of Drexciya's disbanding in 1997 were contradicted two years later when a new Drexciya track appeared on the Underground Resistance compilation Interstellar Fugitives, followed by three more Drexciya albums. It appears that these were the solo work of Stinson. Both he and Gerald Donald continued to be prolific in their respective side projects.

Although both members of Drexciya remained completely anonymous throughout their active recording career, James Stinson, was identified posthumously in 2002. The members of Drexciya have never been photographed, although they have given interviews, throughout one of which they wore Star Trek masks to conceal their identity! --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drexciya [Jan 2007]

Profile by Kodwo Eshun

Drexciya drains the claps, cowbells and tomtoms, siphons off the salsa from Electro. With the vocoder id deleted, 90s Electro becomes even more enthralling, even more inhibiting. Such tracks as '93's Danger Bay and Positron Island are monsters from the low end which submerge you in liquid dystopia. Acrid frequencies clench the nerves like tazers, oscillations wince across the body in wave motion, abrasive tones remove cotton wool from your ears and vigorously scour inside the brainpan. Jagged snare velocities pinch the nerves until you're locked uptight. Sea Snake's scorching deathray sweeps the seacraters with its acoustic searchlight of astringent 303.

Each Drexicya EP -- from '92's Deep Sea Dweller, through Bubble Metropolis, Molecular Enhancement, Aquatic Invasion, The Unknown Aquazone, The Journey Home and Return of Drexciya to '97's Uncharted -- militarizes Parliament's 70s and Hendrix's 60s Atlantean aquatopias. Their underwater paradise is hydroterritorialized into a geopolitical subcontinent mapped through cartographic track titles: Positron Island, Danger Bay, The Red Hills of Lardossa, The Basalt Zone 4.977Z, The Invisible City, Dead Man's Reef, Vampire Island, Neon Falls, Bubble Metropolis. The Bermuda Triangle becomes a basstation from which wavejumper commandos and the 'dreaded Drexciya stingray and barracuda battalions' launch their Aquatic Invasion against the AudioVisual Programmers. --Via 'More Brilliant Than The Sun: Adventures In Sonic Fiction' by Kodwo Eshun, pp. 06[083] - 06[085] (Quartet Books, London, 1998).


Harnessed the Storm () Drexciya
[FR] [DE] [UK]

Drexciya:enigmatic aquatic masters of Motor City electro/techno. This album definitely draws it's tough, but warm sound palette from the now classic sounds of Kraftwerk, Afrika Bambatta, and The Belleville Three(Detroit techno pioneers Derrick May, Juan Atkins, and Kevin Saunderson). However these warm, resonant Roland tones are shaped and arranged, into tight, innovative rhythmic constructions, augmented by the "warm pads" string emulations that give Detroit techno it's distinctive combination of moody emotion and Alvin Toffler/Fritz Lang-informed futurism. Subtle reverb, tones that seem to receed into a murky background, and crystalline shimmering effects successfully embody Drexciya's undersea themes within the fabric of the music itself, rather than simply layering "aquatic" signifiers over a musical backdrop, as a less subtle artist would be tempted to do. When people talk about "warmth" in electronic music, they are often referring to samples and loops of recognizable, comfortingly familiar acoustic instruments that gloss over the intrinsic beauty of pure electronics. Detroit's finest and certain segments of their European progeny have spent the last 15-odd years creating emotional, human music with the visceral, immanent tones of misused analog gear and modified sine tones as the basic material, often working below the radar of a scene focused on slick club trends and cookie-cutter sampledelia. Along with artists such as Jeff Mills, Stacey Pullen, Underground Resistance, Surgeon, Monolake, Sean Deason, Fluxion, John Tejada, and others, Drexciya are dedicated to exploring the still-fertile ground of pure techno and it's ability to continually mutate while maintaining a focus on rhythm, intra-compositional relations of push/pull and spatiality, and emotion articulated THROUGH structure rather than draped over it. "Harnessed The Storm" is a fine example of tight, kinetic beat design with a shimmering corona of effusive feeling. --Phil Berdecio for amazon.com

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