Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Abstract Thought/Cisco Ferreira interview


Following on from the Arpanet show in Sweden in January Dopplereffekt have also opened their live account for this year with a show in France on 16/1/15. Dopplereffekt's next advertised date is 5th April 2015 at the Bloc Festival in Paris on a great bill with Carl Craig, Mad Mike and Moritz von Oswald.

Other than a fake Drexciya EP and album on Bandcamp (both very quickly removed and discredited by Clone) things have been a little quiet as far as official news is concerned so I thought it was a good time to revisit  this January 2009 interview I did with Cisco Ferreira of The Advent about working with Heinrich Mueller and putting out Drexciya's Abstract Thought album (part of the Storm series) on his Kombination Research label in 2002. Of all the series this album, Hypothetical Situations, could be argued has become the most obscure and hard to find of the seven. I have previously written about the album in more detail here and currently it's long out of press and is valued between £40 and £125 Sterling on Amazon (CD only) with just two copies of the vinyl available on Discogs at between £80 and £385. It would be so great for new and old fans if this album was ever to be reissued and I would imagine it could be licensed or whatever easily enough if some label wanted to pursue it. My original introduction and interview with a few updated links and Cisco's favourite track from the album is below.


I am very pleased to bring you an exclusive interview with Cisco Ferreira about his involvement with Drexciya/Heinrich Mueller. He is a man who within electro/techno circles needs no introduction but to give him the respect he deserves I‘ll give him one anyway. He has been involved in the UK dance scene, DJing and producing, since pretty much the very beginning (1986) and today is known and continues to play around the world on a regular basis. Solo and as The Advent (from 1993-1999 Colin McBean was also in group) he has been responsible for so many amazing tracks, many seminal, which have moved so many minds and dance-floors. In fact when I first started getting seriously into underground dance music and began buying 12 inches it was The Advent that helped educate me.

Q: I believe you were the first person to licence any Dopplereffekt material outside of the United States in 1997 on the Kombination Phunk compilation. Can you talk about how you first came across their music and what impression it made on you then.
A: I didn't realize that. I knew that those tracks were Hot and I needed them on this compilation and luckily we got two tracks approved.

Q: Was it an easy process to get in contact and licence the material?
A: Nope, we got our record company (BMG) to get in touch and go through the proper channels which all worked out perfectly.

Q: You added some subtle touches to these tracks, 'Pornoactress’ and 'Plastiphilia’, how was this done and why?
A: Yes I was into tape editing in a big way, back in the day's before DAT and CD, so I wanted to add the same analogue feel, so a Studer 1/2 inch tape was hired from "Studio Hire" for this whole Kombination Phunk project.

Q: Dopplereffekt of this period would have quite a prolonged impact on modern electro and on some other electronic music genres of the time. How influential were they, what is your opinion?
A: Very.. as they for me took off where Kraftwerk left off.

Q: Were you also a fan of Drexciya, how did you discover them?
A: Was always a big fan of all things electro that came out of Detroit. Doesn't get any better than Drexciya.

Q: When in 2002 your label, Kombination Research, released Abstract Thought's Hypothetical Situations album from Drexciya's Storm Series, was it a matter of it just being offered out of the blue or did you seek it. Had you maintained a continuous contact from before?
A: This I don't want to go into, but for sure it was a blessing to have this important piece of work.

Q: Did you deal with Gerald Donald or James Stinson?
A: Cannot disclose this information.

Q: The music on the album still sounds pretty amazing and timeless, when you first heard it what did you think? Any favourites? 'Galactic Rotation' is a bit of a monster.
A: They all hit me the same way.. 'Me Luv Womans punani' was the one that stood out for me, not because of the title. :-)

Q: I remember a friend of mine had this on white label for months before it came out, was there a problem or was this how you planned it?
A: I did have some drama with my previous distributor that put this out and I was disappointed they didn't do more to push this release. They were "ELP DISTRIBUTION" run by Corrado Izo. (he ended up shutting down just after I released it).

Q: The artwork is credited to Dimensional Waves Imaging and Oblivion Visual Concepts. Do you know if this was the group themselves or an anonymous outside party? Were they very particular about the details of the text, eg. ‘Music beamed through Dimensional Waves by Abstract thought‘ and the deep abstract thought email address? Did you or they include the 'Drexciya Storm #4' line?
A: What was given to me on text is what I put. Oblivion Visual Concepts is a company here in Portugal that did the final artwork, is run by DJ A Paul.

Q: How has it sold to date?
A: I didn't do this for the sales figures. I did it because I'm a big supporter of electro and to have a release like this I felt honoured to have it on my KR Label.

Q: As a record label owner and music producer that actively uses artwork and titles etc to tie all of your work together and give it depth, like Drexciya, in an age where collecting music has become for many reduced to file sharing and downloading how do you feel about this?
A: Well times have changed and we can't ignore this, with records/vinyl it had a physical identity, now an MP3 in your hard disk doesn't quite cut it for me, technology is changing.

Q: You worked again with Heinrich Mueller on your Recreations project in 2003. Mueller’s track is pretty phenomenal and very different to what he was producing at the time. Where you pleased with what he did with your music?
A: Very pleased, like I said I’m a fan of this music and to have top level artists remixing and doing releases, I’m very honoured to have.

Q: What are your own current artistic activities and plans for the future?
A: More music to release and started a distribution.

Since this interview Cisco's main web contact points have changed to Facebook and Soundcloud.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Drexciyan Future: Aquaman Crystals

In a case of Drexciyan fiction becoming fact; over the holidays I heard someone on the radio talking about a scientific breakthrough for breathing underwater and today I got around to finding more about the subject online.

A new scientific breakthrough has created a material being called the Aquaman crystal that stores and releases oxygen. This which could allow humans to breathe underwater. Researchers have synthesized a crystalline material that absorbs oxygen, stores it, and can release it for breathing.

It's still a good few years off and you would wear a mask with these crystals inside it when being underwater but it does sound a lot like a Drexciyan to me. Human science and evolution is an amazing thing. More information on this at this link. To get you in the mood, Drexciya's 'The Mutant Gillmen' video here.

Heinrich Mueller has already played his first show of 2015 with a rare set as Arpanet in Sweden on 2/1/15. Details of this past event here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Victoria Lukas mix

There is a new mix by Victoria Lukas for TechnoBass.net which features three Zerkalo tracks, including one which is unreleased, 'The Lake'. It also features some other unreleased music by Lukas for an upcoming short film soundtrack as well as music from one of her other musical projects, Inkamera. It's a great mix and can be listened to here along with the original article.

She also has a new Tumblr website full of text, images, videos and links to her world. I'm also told that following on from their past releases with Visonia/Dopplereffekt and Inkamera, the Last Known Trajectory label will be adding a new Zerkalo 12" to their fine catalogue sometime in 2015. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Dopplereffekt live Hong Kong & interview


"Man is retrogressive in many aspects of his existence, namely social. War, famine, discrimination, etc. still exist in our world. So I do not see a very bright future for mankind at this point, there is much work needed to be done and more evolutionary stages have to be fulfilled."

There is a new Dopplereffekt interview with Heinrich Mueller and To-Nhan Le Thi at Boom magazine. It is to coincide with their appearance this Sunday at the Clockenflap festival in Hong Kong, China.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Unofficial Merchandise

I knew there has been some unofficial Drexciya merchandise such as T-shirts available in the last few years but I was surprised when I did some research and found you can also get hoodies, mugs, iPhone cases and even pillow cases with their name and logo on them as well. This merchandise I found from at least three different companies that use the same Drexciya logo from the Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller series and in one case the album title as well. I would have thought that either Clone, UR or Drexciya would have held the copyright for this and could stop anyone from using it but I'm not sure of the law in this regard or if it would be worth their while to pursue it (the sales might not be that significant).  One of the companies producing them is called Bees Knees Tees and they also produce T-shirts, mugs etc with the names and logos of a lot of other techno artists as well. On their Ebay listing they do say "Unless otherwise stated, all items are 100% unofficial, and are in no way endorsed by, or affiliated with any of the people/personalities or companies stated." As Drexciya are bigger now than ever I think its worth posting this perhaps obvious information here in case you might not be aware of this and think that a percentage of your money might be going to Drexciya or James Stinson's estate. One of the reasons for this of course is that there are no official Drexciya T-shirts or other merchandise available to my knowledge, perhaps this will change someday. As tempting as it is to have a Drexciya mug in my life, until then I think it would be far cooler and much more interesting to make our own individual Drexciya shirts etc  or designs by hand. They couldn't be any worse than the one I just made below.  It might also make a great Xmas present for that special Drexciya fan in your life too.

In case you missed it a few weeks back I got a nice surprise while reading a recent and very techie Aphex Twin interview at Noyzelab (very sadly both parts of the interview have since been removed for some mysterious reason, see below) where he mentioned he would like to collaborate with Gerald Donald. Richard D. James has been a long-time fan of Drexciya and his label Rephlex were the first label after UR to licence material by them way back in 1994 with Drexciya 3 aka Molecular Enhancement 12". In later years they also put out albums by Transllusion, Dopplereffekt and Arpanet. The interview has since been archived here for part 1 and part 2.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Abdul Haqq - 25 Years of Techno Art

The first interview I did for DRL back in 2008 was with Abdul Haqq aka the Ancient (above second from left) who illustrated Drexciya's Neptune's Lair album. Haqq is a hidden but extremely central and very influential figure right at the heart of Detroit techno and its science fiction roots. He has also done artwork for Model 500, Derrick May, Underground Resistance and many many more.  As he has just released his 25 Years of Techno Art book I thought it might be a good time to revisit the interview again. Also one of my readers sent me a scan of a page from his book which includes an intriguing page called 'The House of Drexciya'. It features a photo of the house James Stinson lived in (they lived right around the corner from each other) while they were working on the artwork for the album. The page also includes a short and touching text about his experience working with Stinson as well as the album and Drexciya's legacy. The book also includes his illustrations of the 'Drexciyan Cruiser' and 'Warriors Returning' (both below) from NL. Details of his book can be found at his website here.

For my interview I was lucky that Haqq was willing to expand on the detail about his work on Neptune's Lair and his relationship with Stinson and Drexciya.  Quite recently Neptune's Lair was also reissued by Tresor. My original post on this subject can still be read here.

Q: How did your first professional involvement with Drexciya come about?
A: It was in the late 90's when James Stinson approached me with his Neptune's Lair concept. I think it was the summer of 99. It was going to be the first Drexciyan concept album.

Q: Did you know them socially already or only when the first project with them arose?
A: I knew James Stinson in passing from being at Submerge often. Gerald Donald I knew of even less.

Q: Did they have specific ideas for you, just give you the title and track listings or completely leave it up to you?
A: James Stinson had very specific ideas about Neptune's Lair. He had their whole underwater world and civilization thought out in his head. He gave me very detailed descriptions and then we worked together on the Drexciyan Warrior and Cruiser.

Q: Did you feel any connection or kinship with their dedicated approach to music, the enigmatic presentation of their image and the imaginary world they created with their words and music with the way you work?
A: I felt a very deep kinship with James. He was brilliant when it came to science fiction and that's always been my favourite subject matter. When we thought out the concepts of the album together it was very natural for me. I think we worked well together.

Q: Did everything you submitted for Neptune's Lair make the finished artwork or was there things you would have liked to have seen added?
A: Yes. We pretty much thought out everything together. There wasn't anything extra that I did that didn't go on the album.

Q: Was there any other work you would have done for them, outside of Neptune's Lair, which people might not be aware of?
A: After the death of James Stinson, I did a tribute painting of the Drexciyan Warrior on a wood panel. The title was "Long live Drexciya".

Q: When you did the artwork for Aquanauts what was your instruction, if any or how did you decide to approach it?
A: I was instructed by Mike Banks to take the concept to the next evolutionary level if you will. Since James Stinson's brother was in the Aquanauts, we wanted to keep the same vibe as with Drexciya but change it up slightly.

Q: The central figure in your Third Earth Heroes image on your websites homepage looks very much like a Drexciyan. What today is your personal feeling and opinion about Drexciya's music and legacy?
A: I am amazed by their achievements looking back after all these years. I think Drexciya was the "perfect storm" if you will. A number of elements that converged to make something unique and sublime.


Q: As one of the illustrators of Drexciya's world, even though it was a commercial job, this places yourself amongst the very first artists to be inspired by them to do work. Were you aware that since the death of James Stinson they have had a similar inspirational effect on other artists such as Ellen Gallagher and Kapwani Kiwanga? How does this make you feel about this ongoing process you played your part in?
A: This is amazing as I was just contacted and interviewed by Ms. Kiwanga just a couple of weeks ago. I'm really glad there is such interest in Drexciya and their concept. I'm proud to have been the choice of James to be the artist for Neptune's Lair. 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!


Q: What are your current activities and plans for the future?
A: I'm currently finishing up my project of a lifetime. I've written an artbook that tells the story of Detroit Techno and it's legends done in a sci-fi style. I did all new paintings and images for it too. There will also be a CD that features tracks from 6 of the legends in the
book. They are:
Derrick May
James Pennington
Carl Craig
Jeff Mills
Mike Banks
The Martian
I hope when it comes out, I will be able to bring it to your country!

Best regards,
A Qadim Haqq
Techno Visual Artist

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Visonia album/video

The official video for 'Die Reisen', the collaborative track released at the start of this year by Visonia and Dopplereffekt, can be viewed at this link. It has been up for a long time now but had passed me by. It was directed by Virginie Von Virou who has also worked with Victoria Lukas on videos for Zerkalo, Vita and Weltgeist. The director's Vimeo channel is here. Anyone waiting for the Visonia album, Impossible Romance, which features 'Die Reisen' can expect it in November on Last Known Trajectory. The track has already been available on 12", which according to its Discogs entry, has already been re-pressed. Details and pre-order for album here.

Dopplereffekt currently have one new upcoming live show to my knowledge on 11th Nov in Paris, France. They are also due to play on 22nd Nov in London, England.

After a delay the reissues of Drexciya's Neptune's Lair and Transllusion's The Opening of the Cerebral Gate appear to be close (NL can be ordered now). There is an interesting Pitchfork review of both albums here too