Drexciya Research Lab

DON'T BE AFRAID OF EVOLUTION


Scroll down for articles on...

THE ORDER OF STORMS

DREXCIYA - HARNESSED THE STORM

TRANSLLUSION - THE OPENING OF THE CEREBRAL GATE

THE OTHER PEOPLE PLACE - LIFESTYLES OF THE LAPTOP CAFÉ

ABSTRACT THOUGHTS - HYPOTHETICAL SITUATIONS

LAB RAT XL - MICE OR CYBORG

TRANSLLUSION - L.I.F.E.

SHIFTED PHASES - THE COSMIC MEMOIRS OF THE LATE GREAT RUPERT J. ROSINTHROPE

DREXCIYA - GRAVA 4

Order of Storms

The most obvious unanswered question about the Drexciya storm series is that instead of the oft stated 7 storms there were in fact 8 records released between 2001 and 2002 which could be considered as storms.
Using information from James Stinson interviews and the few records that stated their number in the series its quite clear that Drexciya’s Grava 4 is the odd one out. At first I thought this had to be part of the series, if not the eye of the storm itself. However, once you know that this is the first post storm album its very exciting to see where they get to with their concept.
For now though I will simply list the order of storms.

1. DREXCIYA - HARNESSED THE STORM
2. TRANSLLUSION - THE OPENING OF THE CEREBRAL GATE
3. THE OTHER PEOPLE PLACE - LIFESTYLES OF THE LAPTOP CAFÉ
4. ABSTRACT THOUGHTS - HYPOTHETICAL SITUATIONS
5. LAB RAT XL - MICE OR CYBORG
6. TRANSLLUSION - L.I.F.E.
7. SHIFTED PHASES - THE COSMIC MEMOIRS OF THE LATE GREAT RUPERT J. ROSINTHROPE

Harnessed The Storm

The first album in the Drexciya Storm series, 'Harnessed The Storm' (Tresor 2002), gives the most clues to what the series is all about and where it may be leading. It seems odd that the first storm should come out after The Other People Place and first Transllusion storms, although James Stinson himself said, "There’s no particular order that they’re going to be released in. The records are already done." It does at least seem right and proper that this first storm is the sole record credited to Drexciya in the series.
Looking at the music content first we begin as the title of the first track suggests as a storm is brewing. But this is not a storm of the land for these are ‘Under Sea Disturbances’. Once this track kicks in though it's business as usual, classic dance-floor Drexciya. 'Digital Tsunami' is cut from a similar cloth and of course the title brings to mind further aquatic storm conditions albeit of a worsening variety. The digital reference could only mean music, so this is another way of saying musical storm. 'Soul of the Sea' is more contemplative, the first breath for air from the unbroken fast tempo so far. The pace picks up slightly on 'Song of the Green Whale', you could dance to this although it tends to intentionally break down in places as it nears the close. This track is good to illustrate how Drexciya use a live approach in recording as opposed to sequencing. I've no idea how many versions they might have to jam through before they get to the definite version but certainly this way allows the odd tell-tale mistake to creep in, but nothing more than the odd split second release of a track in the wrong place or an increasing effect being held for a bar too many and overloading. This approach might even be one of the secrets of the music's success; giving it a raw dangerous element of surprise.
'Dr Blowfins' Black Storm Stabilizing Spheres' is much more threatening sounding with lots of sharp angles as it rattles along. This track also introduces us to an early character of Drexciyan yore and also contains a reference to a storm, now we're on to something! On the 'Grave 4' sleeve-notes it states that Dr Blowfin was given the orders to initiate the seven dimensional cloaking spheres to hide the other three planets from Earths view as an Earth scientist has just discovered the Drexciya home planet. The most obvious thing here is the seven spheres reference which has to mean seven storms. Would seven storm spheres cover 3 planets, therefore stabilizing matters and keeping the secret of the planets location? The reference to black storms might mean that the space would now appear to Earth as black, empty. So what does this mean for our interpretation of the seven musical storms? Do they somehow act as cloaking spheres? Well, the first thing to come to mind would be that they do hide the identity of their creators on all but this first one which maybe makes sense as this is the moment when all the storms are harnessed together and everything proceeding will be a mystery. Going further, seeing as Earth has discovered the planet Drexciya then it's ok to give that name away at the beginning as it's no mystery anymore. However I wouldn’t go too much further with this interpretation beyond stating how practical it is that they should use the freedom that pseudonyms provide when releasing so many albums that cover such a variety of styles.
'The Plankton Organization' is very fast paced, on the attack. The title might refer to a group in authority, more on this later. 'Mission to Ociya Syndor and Back' again made sense when Grava 4 came out. Not only is there a track called 'Ociya Syndor' but on the map of the Drexciya home universe there is a planet called, you guessed it, 'Ociya Syndor'. Again more on this later. Musically it might be the most adventurous here, stop-starty and experimental . 'Aquatic Cataclysm' doesn’t sound like things are getting better, this is a violent storm and it’s reflected in the majority of the music. 'Lake Haze' sounds more old school than anything on here but firmly designed for the dance-floor. The positively titled 'Birth of New Life' is my favourite, very laid back, and could easily fit the template of Storm number 3 by The Other People Place. I will tackle this Storm later and only say now that it is very much the love/philosophy album of the seven. Which makes this the violent scene-setter of the series.
In the Pratt interview James Stinson said this directly about the album, "For me and my partner, there was a lot of pressure and lot of personal things in my world being turned upside down. 'Harnessed' has a lot of personal memories. It's melancholy and very well-rounded. There's lot of different emotions: laid-back, mad, frustrated, happy . . . it has it all.” This certainly sounds like they were creating a world that reflected their own at the time. Speaking of the title of the album he said in the Beere interview, "It relates to this whole situation directly with the seven storms that are brewing. It took a whole year to put together these seven albums. It was very, very violent and very chaotic in a lot of different ways. Ups and downs. If you're in the middle of a storm, you have your ups and downs. You have all the elements that there are on this planet that exist in a storm, from water to air, fire, electricity. You might have a cow or a truck mixed up in there too. Those are the images that we perceived when we made the music and that's how the concepts come about. To answer your question, it had a lot to do with the album and everything going on around us was very turbulent.” Knowing this it seems likely that each album was approached separately during this turbulent year, but something like The Other People Place album is quite different in that it sounds like it was completed in one mood, while 'Harnessed' sounds like it was done over a period where many different moods held sway with its creators, but it won't be the only one like that in the series.
I would sum up the story being told in this opening Storm as follows. 'Under Sea Disturbances' is obviously the beginning of major problems in Drexciya's underwater world. This culminates in a tsunami so violent that it effects the very soul of its civilisation, throwing its inhabitants out of its own home, in every sense this is very much a paradise lost. There are a few lines about the Pythagorean concept of the music of the spheres which Robert Fludd wrote that resonate with this idea, "Earthly music is only the faint tradition of the angelic state, it remains in the mind of man as a dream of, and the sorrow for, the lost paradise. (The music)produced from the impact upon the paths of the planets, which stand as chords or strings, by the cross travel of the sun from note to note, as from planet to planet." Perhaps the 'Song of the Green Whale' is composed to mark this momentous event so people do not forget. The scene now changes to the Drexciya Home Universe where perhaps acting under orders from 'The Plankton Organisation' which might be what passes for government/rulers in this place, Dr Blowfin decisively acts and sets in motion the seven black storm stabilising spheres. On the surface level we learn in the 'Grava 4' sleeve notes that these are to hide the remaining planets of the Drexciya Home Universe from the prying eyes of Earth but this is also I believe a metaphor for a puzzle which needs to be figured out before we can ever hope to regain paradise. Back on Earth there is now a mission undertaken to go back to visit this home universe, specifically to the planet Ociya Syndor and then to return. That would be the typical practical reaction, a scientific reaction contemporary with our own reaction if this situation should befall us (if we had a home planet to go to of course). However the seven spheres or storms are there to be understood and when we do we will attain the same goal. In many ways this journey can from now on be read as metaphor, although Drexciya will continue to use the physical journey as a device to tell the story. The most important part of this journey is the return, this is the key to the whole series. But returning to what, a memory of themselves I would say. This is what the rest of the Storm series is all about, becoming, remembering, rediscovery.
The full impact of what has happened their underwater world really hits as the mission begins it’s journey and the event becomes known as the ‘Aquatic Cataclysm’. ‘Lake Haze’ may stand for how they are already forgetting their previous existence. The lake here implies that they don’t even remember that it was once the ocean itself that was their domain, the haze now the fog of memory. ‘Birth of New Life’ can only mean hope. The following storms begin the real process of making us become what we once were, this first one is the very beginning of that process, learning the facts of what has gone before and this kindling a hope within us of a new life, our return.
Sadly there were no extra tracks on the Digital Tsunami 12” to gleam for clues and even the artwork for ‘Harnessed’ was not done by the band. Hard to know if they had much say in it and whether it can really tell us anything.
 
 
Transllusion

Storm number 2 is the first Transllusion album 'The Opening of the Cerebral Gate'. If I had to pick my favourite of the series this might be it, took a while to get into it but once I did I never tired of it. First of all it’s worth considering the name of the project. The closest word it resembles is translucent, which means transparent or see-through. We can take it that it is more than likely that Transllusion means to ‘become transparent’, which will make increasing sense as I probe this album for meaning.
It proved fruitful with ‘Harnessed the Storm’ to follow the running order of the tracks but here we’re in more uncertain territory. Mind you, you could take the opener ‘Transmission of Life’ to be a reference to ‘Birth of New Life’, the last track on ‘Harnessed’ but there, save the last track, the sequence ceases to be of much help. The literal meaning of ‘Transmission of life’ would be to broadcast or spread life. It seems obvious that this would be the ‘new life’ referred to already. So what is the nature of this new life? I believe this is what ‘The Opening of the Cerebral Gate’ makes clear. The new life is not about a new species just the rebirth of an old one, us, the rebirth is mental in nature, and this album marks those beginnings.
The place to begin this change is always within, there’s no point in changing your surroundings in the hope of becoming another person. The title ‘Look Within’ in this context means to become fully aware of yourself, make this your starting point of change, another level of the meaning of this track later.
This storm is also when the ’Dimensional Waves’ phrase starts to reveal its true meaning. This is the production company name that Drexciya used for the series, revealingly it doesn't appear on the post-storm Grava 4. So are we to take it that each storm is from another dimension? Possibly so, but a dimension of what, time, place? I would say it's a dimension of thought, of the mind. In this context ‘Dimensional Glide’ could be a reference to the ease with which they are moving from one dimension to another during this intensive year of production.
To re-cap, the storms are cloaking spheres which are hiding something. On Grava 4 we learn that they are hiding the Drexciya home planet, but this of course is only the surface meaning, a metaphor. There is a revelation waiting for us if we can figure it out and each storm is a puzzle in itself to be understood before we can see the last crucial piece for what it really is.
To open the cerebral gate is to allow this album right into your mental experience, which is the mental dimension, one that is inside us all. Another way of saying this would be the same as the track title ‘Crossing into the Mental Astroplane’. ‘Negative Flash’ might be acknowledgement that the way is not without difficulties, but at least it is only a temporary feeling. ‘Walking With Clouds’ might not be the most amazing title in the world but it probably describes another aspect of the feeling of oneness which this inner flight brings. ‘Unordinary Realities’ is quite an awkward phrase to use but again it’s meaning is quite clear as you start to see things differently. ‘Cerebral Cortex Malfunction’ sounds like something negative, but maybe in this context it is the point where we are set free from its normal function. Maybe this is a necessary step towards where we are going, an evolutionary step. Evolution will become important as the storm continues.
‘War of the Clones’ is a bit of a puzzler, again quite a negative image, although this could make more sense as the storm continues. I think that ‘Cluben in Guyana’ is a sort of day dream title which reminds me of when James Stinson talked about playing unannounced live shows in Japan. I’m sure they, like most musicians, were amazed at how far their music had travelled and all the different scenarios and places it might now appear.
The final track is the perfect link to the following 'The Other People Place' storm. Here we finally have a vocal, which TOPP is full of, and the question, ‘Do you want to get down?’ If your on the same journey as me then the only answer is yes.
This is the album where things start to become clear, we are on the first real step of the journey towards truly finding ourselves, the gate into our mental life has been opened. The significance of there being a second Transllusion album plus a 12" of exclusive tracks later in the series should not be overlooked. I also wouldn't underestimate one or both of their beliefs in God, he gets a ‘special thanks’ in the credits and this is not the first time he has either. Whether they believe in the Christian interpretation or not doesn't matter as it all comes from the same impulse to believe in a creator/controlling intelligence. Anyone who truly believes in a God is a moral person and I believe the intent of this series is extremely just and when understood may deliver one of the greatest gifts of all.
Preceding this was the rare at the time 12" 'Power of the 3rd Brain'. If you have the CD version of the album you will have one of its tracks, 'Do You Want To Get Down?' with even a bonus vocal de void mix of this track as well. It's a real pity that the other two tracks from this, 'Power of the 3rd Brain' and 'Disrupted Neutral Gateway ' were not included here as well. In the artwork for the 12” the sentence, ‘Mind Over Positive And Negative Dimensional Matter’ appears. Taking all we know about this EP we could read it to mean that to find the way to use the power of your third brain/mind over positive and negative dimensional matter would be to disrupt the normally neutral gateway receiver of your mind. This sounds nothing less than becoming a time traveller or something very similar. The meaning of the name Transllusion here becomes interesting as if you did find a way to move faster than light and caught up on yourself, you would indeed become transparent. The label these came out on is Supremat, a Tresor imprint, does anyone know what else came out on this label, if anything?
Drexciya took their image as seriously as their music and both aspects influenced the other. That’s what makes their canon stand up so well today as their work continues to reveal itself with time and inquiry. They managed to strike a balance of giving us just enough information that we were left wanting more, that we would have to use our imagination to fill in the blanks. It might well be true that only the odd title or clue exists to link each storm and everything else is down to that curious human ability to find meaning and patterns in everything. Certainly a percentage of this exists only in our own mind, like so much we imagine about the arts in general, it is a personal thing, but all great art leaves us that option, works of depth. James Stinson said to Tim Pratt, “There are small itty-bitty links between them all - and that's the fun part. You have to see what the pattern is to figure it out. It might just be one song but there's a lot going on." In the same interview he elaborated more, "After the music is created, we're building a concept around it: moods, emotions and feelings from the music helps build the concept. Basically, what we do is listen to the record and then your mind starts to wander and images come to your mind. Hopefully, people that buy the record feel the same thing. When you listen to the music and read the title, you basically have to run with it. The images have to go also with the themes.” On reading this I'd be surprised if they had planned out the concept of the storm series in advance, but it seems like they might have had a broad idea which they more or less stuck to for the storm series and up to Grava 4. That's not to say they didn't go into it blindly either and just work it all out as they went along as this Stinson quote more forcibly attests, "There's nothing that's planned, there's no set course. So the mystery of the unknown is really what makes us tick. The curiosity of not knowing where we're going to end up at once this track is done, or when this album is done, and so forth and so on. We never plan our course or where we're going with a particular project. It's mainly the unknown is what makes us tick. It's like living on the edge."
In interpreting their work we do have some advantage as we can take a subjective viewpoint and look back at the work as a whole and in this way we may notice things that their originators did not, things that only their subconscious was aware of. Of course some people will prove quite immune to their music and world, but to those that know and care about such things it is the entry point to good times and wider possibilities.
The Other People Place will be discussed next but I'll leave the last word to James Stinson who obviously knew people were already intrigued by mystery itself, "We're humans and humans love mystery - we're very curious creatures. If you don't challenge the intellect of people, they're going to be bored."
 

The Other People Place

Although The Other People Place ‘Lifestyles of the Laptop Cafe’ is Storm number 3 it was, I think, the first storm to be released. James Stinson had yet to give any interviews to my knowledge and I suppose it was just treated as simply a Drexciya offshoot at the time. Of course it does contain the line, ‘This was a dimensional waves transmission', in its minimal sleeve-notes, but this hardly informs us of more to come, it would appear only as just another pseudonym. Although I would be interested to read any press stuff that Warp sent out with it, in case any other clues to the groups identity or of the coming Storm were slipped in at this early stage.
At first I thought The Other People Place has to be a dimensional reference, but where exactly would its location be? Where the other people are. The first question then is who are these other people? I’d like to give you a better answer than, the people in the other dimension, but for now that’s were I’ll cop out. Lets tackle this from another angle, the artwork. Now, discounting some blurred swirls on the inner sleeve of ‘Harnessed The Storm’, I don’t believe the band had much direct input into the artwork of the series so far and that includes this album, but that situation will drastically change later. But surely The Designers Republic had some sort of brief for the striking images they produced. Lets presume they got some pointers from Drexciya about the nature of the name of the project and title of the album. Now a lesser design company might have just stuck a steaming coffee cup next to a laptop and left it at that but luckily their not the average company and they came up with an image that hints at the meaning of the album. They made nature a strong dual image alongside current modern technology. The cover image itself could be read to mean that technology, in this case an Apple Powerbook, is the link between the primitive/natural state and this other people place, a glimpse of which we get on the laptop screen. Significantly it appears as the corner of a room someplace indoors, the opposite of the great outdoors environment the laptop sits in. But isn't this just a glimpse of our own world, hardly an exotic other dimension. I think what is simply meant by the titles and artwork is that the other people place is just modern society which technology has hastened to the point we are now at, today's laptop cafe culture. The cover just shows how far we’ve come and acknowledges technologies role.
Going purely by this information you might except to be in for a future embracing cyber sex cloning extravaganza inside but the themes that are actually tackled are all basic human nature stuff, namely love and meaning. The message here may be to not lose focus on human nature in our rush to embrace more and more technology. The Storm analogy could be used here quite easily as we fight to retain our humanity as more and more unnatural/technological behaviour is expected. How face to face conversation happens less and less as email and text messaging becomes the norm or the growing reality of human cloning replacing sexual reproduction would be the most basic examples. Not that Drexciya are taking a luddite stance here, but I think they can see a conflict, in that not everyone can as easily adapt and that maybe we have gone to far. So maybe there is a luddite tendency at work here too.
There are eight gorgeous slow paced tracks on this album, six with vocals. Due to the lyrics this the most direct Storm yet, with no confusion about the sentiments of the tracks. Love and possibly lust are what makes this record tick. The only exception being ‘Let Me Be Me’ which appears more broadly philosophical in nature with the repeated vocal loop of ‘Let me be what I want to be.’ I think this is also my favourite track, such a simple statement which could be directed at parents, lovers, anyone in authority over us. I think it may also be the central piece of the album which connects to the previous storm as it echo’s similar sentiments on the Transllusion album about finding your true self.
The longest vocal is on the opener ‘Eye Contact’, “What do we have here? Wow! Something's happening to my transmitters, starting to over load., sitting here in this cafe drinking my latte. Something's happening to me. What do I see on the other side of the room? My my, hmm that's what, my, she’s gorgeous. So let me slide over, transmission, communication sent.” It sounds like he might have sent her a wireless infra red message or did he really slide over and talk? The following track, ‘It’s Your Love’, has a vocal loop of “It’s your love that’s keeping me sorry” which gives some emotional balance. ‘Moonlight Rendezvous’ is instrumental but the title references the lyrics of 'Running From Love’, “ I’m a fugitive in the moonlight just running from your love”. Maybe the instrumental soundtracks what happens when he stops running? The idea of running from love might be to ask why we are afraid or unwilling to give in to those emotions. It could be another reference to how modern society is growing ever more complicated, so much so that we would prefer to resist something as precious as love. Although love can still break your heart without any interference from outside.
The first appearance of what seems like a female vocal appears on ‘You Said You Want Me’. The woman asks that question to be answered by the male “You know I do.” I guess with technology this might not even be a woman singing, but I would like to think that it is, something else we‘ll never know. In fact there is an obvious question here about the male vocalist. Is this Stinson or Donald, if either. I would plum for it being Stinson, only because it just doesn’t sound like Donald but we’ll never know unless we’re told. Another female vocal, presumably the same person/effect, is on the closing ‘Sunrays’. Another standout track on an album full of them. The lyrics loop the phrase “Relax your mind, slowly unwind, catch some rays of the sunshine.” Sublime and so simple. Not a love song, more a chill out/simplify message which does chime in with the whole getting back to nature concept.
‘Lifestyles of the Casual’ is another instrumental and a bit of a mystery. I guess as it’s so close to the album title it may mean we can refer to the inhabitants of the Other People Place as Casuals, but this might be taking it too literally. It could mean the lifestyle of accepting casual occurrences also, but that is really just another literal interpretation.
Love and the awakening of an inner life could certainly be described as a storm and fits in well with the concept so far.
There is one other release by The Other People Place that I want to consider, even though it came out a year later and on a different label. Sometime in 2002 Clone released the 12" 'Sunday Night Live at the Laptop Cafe'. This was the first time Clone hooked up with Drexciya and they went on to build a strong relationship with the band culminating with their Grava 4 swansong and continuing into today with Der Zyklus. Of course to add more confusion this is actually The Other People Place featuring Mystic Tribe a.i. First of all the producer of Mystic Tribe is Sherard Ingram who is a respected producer in his own right. He must have been a close friend of Drexciya as he is also their Drexciyen DJ Stingray. The mesmerising and very ‘Lifestyles’ sounding ‘Sorrow & a Cup of Joe’ is credited to TOPP while ‘Telepathic Seduction’ is down as written and produced by Mystic Tribe a.i. The artwork presents a mock handwritten poster on the window of what looks suspiciously like the Clone record shop. It reads, ‘performing at midnight The Other People Place’ and ‘special guest Mystic Tribe A.I. will be performing at 2am’. Maybe this release is more oddity than anything, only linked to the 3rd Storm by its titles. But as Stinson himself said of storms, that they can be pretty chaotic, a piece of debris like this flying off should come as no surprise in this context.
I suppose to sum up in very broad strokes where we have got to with the interpretation of the series would be wise at this point.

‘Harnessed The Storm’ is the violent scene setter that tells us that all is not well but ends on a note of hope of a new kind of life.

‘The Opening of the Cerebral Gate’ is when things start to become clear, it is the first real step in the Storm towards this new life. We learn to look within and explore our mental dimensions.

‘Lifestyles of the Laptop Cafe’ tells us to continue this process of finding our true selves but also to develop/retain basic human emotions, especially love and not to become a victim of the coldness of technology/modern society.

Abstract Thought

Abstract Thought 'Hypothetical Situations' is number four in the Storm series and significantly or not is the only Storm to have its number included in the sleeve notes. There was a huge gap of up to at least 3 months between the vinyl promo's of this going out and the record finally hitting the shops, a friend of mine had it for this long at least. This may mean nothing or just a delay in printing artwork or something else as mundane. Maybe part of the reason for it being numbered is because it would have seemed to most people counting as the final Storm in the series as they would have included the already released Grava 4. Just to let people know there’s more to come and more than meets the eye about the whole thing. I don't know whether this Storm is any more significant than the others, it being the eye of the storm, or does that only work in hurricane's? I guess you could say that it is calm in its theme of thought/mental development, but the music doesn't reflect this.
Before we get into the music and titles the most different thing between this Storm and the others to date is that the artwork appears to be by Drexciya. We’ll never know if James Stinson or Gerald Donald themselves actually sat down and designed this or just worked closely with a friend that knew how but we can be sure that it is the first artwork so far that most closely relates to what they wanted. The credit itself reads 'Imaging by Dimensional Waves Imaging and Oblivion Visual Concepts'. The second part of this name is interesting. Oblivion Visual Concepts, to interpret the phrase literally might mean, visual ideas which lead to nothingness, the void. Well if that's the case, the void or the end of life/reality as we know it is exactly where we are going. So we should study this artwork rather thoroughly. Unfortunately I’d like to say I can see a specific message or symbol here but its quite the opposite in its vagueness. A cross of fire, it’s four lengths connecting inside what might represent a brain or some centre of consciousness symbol. Like all good artwork it is open to many interpretations so may not be of that much help but the name of the company and it’s goal is clear and I believe this tells us what we need to know.
This album is all about thought, deep abstract though to be precise. The email address includes this wording and the key word here is deep. In many ways this album is a balance to the previous emotion centred 'Lifestyles'. This is where we continue our mental journey as set out on 'The Opening of the Cerebral Gate'. But why is deep abstract thought so important? Well, if we have been following the instructions of the Storms so far we should now be more able to think deeply in this mental astrosphere and our thoughts in this place are no longer confined to the everyday. But if anything this album seems to be more about preparatory work before the final ascent of evolution we are being lead to. What better way to practice this thought process than by imagining various hypothetical situations?
So what have we got? ‘Bermuda Triangle’ - “What if the triangle pivoted over the island of Jamaica, what would become of the population?” I suppose this is implying that the population would disappear, but to where? We can take this as a good example of a question that leads to infinite possibilities and is therefore unknowable. In short, good material for practicing deep thought and in this case even relevant to the Storm idea. The next track is also relevant to this subject. 'Synchronised Dimensions’ - “What if we existed within three planes of reality simultaneously?” Again another question of a similar type to get us thinking on those infinite/unknowable lines.
‘Me Want Woman’s Punani’ - “What if for one week, male sex organs became petrified. How much punani could the average man consume?’ This is quite a strange image to get from Drexciya, it’s a subject we might more quickly connect with Gerald Donald though. Another sign of a sense of humour in close proximity to the seriousness.
‘Consequences of Cloning’ -"What if they cloned the perfect human specimen, but did they clone the perfect god given spirit for this specimen?” This isn’t the first time clones have been mentioned during the Storm, ‘War of the Clones’ on Transllusion and later the subject is referenced on the ‘Mice or Cyborg’. I think from the evidence so far that Drexciya’s attitude to cloning would be to use caution if not outright disagreement.
‘Solar Pulse’ - “What if a solar flare ten thousand times larger than the average flare were emitted. How would this electromagnetic wave effect electrical and communications systems on Earth?” Well if we weren’t all vaporised we might have just a few difficulties with our appliances!
‘Galactic Rotation’ - “What if the galaxy were thrown off its normal cycle due to dark energy emissions from black hole?” I guess chaos and possible destruction of the Earth would be the outcome. I suppose all the six questions cover a broad enough range of topics but outside the ones considering other dimensions I think the remainder are simply no more than good subjects for deep thought practice.
The production credit this time reads, 'Beamed through Dimensional Waves by Abstract Thought'. I like the idea that the music is coming directly from a consciousness, which is the true nature of music in a way.
A new email address appears on this release as already mentioned. deep_abstract_thought@yahoo.com is the final email in the series and joins transllusion@yahoo.com and ridedimensionalwaves@yahoo.com. By the way no email addresses are found on Grava 4 or mention of Dimensional Waves. All of the addresses are now discontinued but one of my friends emailed one of them at the time and got back some kind of standard automatic reply, will try to find out what he remembers. It seems strange that Drexciya put so much emphasis on these emails as they certainly aren’t the kind of band you expect to write you back or agree to do a show. So there must have been some good reason for them to make these addresses available and some kind of automatic response with additional information would make sense. If anyone has these let me know. Surprisingly they never included their website address
It struck me lately that the phrase 'Ride Dimensional Waves' itself may mean to travel through each element of the seven storms, to be a wave jumper in this context might mean to move between each dimension with the ease of the adept, our goal, to glide between dimensions as learnt from ‘Opening of the Cerebral Gate’.
The music is as usual really good, with some real dance floor friendly moments. Only 6 tracks but there all quite substantial. This came out on The Advents Kombination Research label. There is a previous connection to The Advent which dates from about 1997 when two Dopplereffekt tracks were licensed by them for a compilation which might explain why they picked this label.

Initially I took the sleeve note on Lab Rat XL 'Mice or Cyborg', ‘This album is the 7th and last storm from Drexciya’ to mean Storm #7, end of story. Strictly speaking Clone were correct to state that this is the ‘7th and last storm’ because it was the last storm to be released but that does not necessarily make it Storm #7.But after studying the series and where it seems to be going, it doesn’t fit in as a conclusion to anything compared to L.I.F.E. While there doesn't seem on the face of it to be much additional information on the album a key piece towards understanding it can be found a press blurb from Clone, the specifics of which presumably came from Drexciya. It read, “Clone will be releasing the last storm in the series entitled Lab Rat XL and produced in accordance with the Drexciyan R.E.S.T. principle (Research, Experimentation, Science, Technology). Because of the tragic loss of one of the Drexciya members this is also (as far as we can tell) the last ever Drexciya production. This last storm consists of 6 stages of experimentation. The loss of James Stinson before the final track titles were decided upon has meant that the tracks are recognised by the production code “Lab Rat” and a number from 1 to 6.”
First of all lets tackle what else was never sent or decided upon before James Stinson's death. Well there is no artwork most obviously and no covering text for the record. So no Dimensional Waves production credit or any lines or subtitles that would previously have come directly from the band. What we do have is a good intentioned ‘R.I.P. James Stinson’ and a surprising, ‘All tracks written and produced by Drexciya’, and the already mentioned ’7th and last storm’ which is misleading. I admit, who cares really, but I severely doubt James Stinson imagined his last record would also betray his identity. Having his name splashed all over the internet and media after his death is one thing but he had always managed to keep his records separate from all that and I would imagine his wishes would have been for that to continue for his final record. Clone undoubtedly meant well and maybe it's no big deal, the main thing is that they carried out his wish to put out the album.
The already quoted press piece for the album gives us the only clues as to what this album was all about. I believe the theme and subject of this Storm was to be about biological experimentation. The few keywords we have to go on like lab rat and mice make it sound like the experiments concern animals or are we the animals, full size humans XL? But experiments towards what end? This Storm seems to follow on in the same tradition of the others in preparing us for an evolutionary mental jump. In this case there is a series of 6 experiments to be carried out towards becoming, to some degree, a cyborg or hybrid human. Perhaps there was to be an explanation on this album how we were to embrace/utilise technology in this evolutionary jump. Whatever the nature of these experiments we will never know for sure, but they were probably not concerned with bodily functions as so far we have been on a mental journey and that would appear to continue to be the case in the following Storms. Stinson himself spoke about the Storms being like different angles of the same thing, "Each (LP) one is totally different. There's a lot of different angles to this. We want you to feel each and every one of these angles." Maybe each Storm is just telling us the same thing in a different way. It could be said that the whole series is a huge all encompassing brain storm towards this mental jump.
We do know, according to the press blurb, the nature of the tracks musical production was done in accordance with the Drexciyan R.E.S.T. principle of Research, Experimentation, Science and Technology. This is the name of a track from Grava 4 which was already released at this stage. Does this mean then that before they began to produce this music they did some research into a topic, experimented with lots of styles and sounds before they settled on a template, then applied their highly developed, scientific even, insight for production detail and finally rendered it with the technology of their studio. I guess this is how they may have always worked, but this time maybe they were more conscious of the research part.
Each track is musically quite different from each other, but I wouldn’t go so far to say that there was anything so different to be unlike Drexciya though. Maybe this is the most varied Storm so far, but it does sound quite cohesive in spite of all that, quite an achievement.
The order of the tracks which were sent to Clone may have been in order but for the album they were sequenced as Lab Rat 1, 6, 5, 3, 2 & 4. Who picked the order is hard to say. But if you listen to it the other way, easier with a CD copy, the album doesn't particularly improve or disprove it. It seems important that at least the first track on the album does correspond. The track sequence could be a vinyl thing as well, the longer tracks given their own side.
There is a vocal to consider as well but it is quite hard to decipher. On 'Lab Rat 2' a male vocal seems to be saying "If we get together. Life is like a shadow". Not exactly the science subject I'd expected but it does propose understanding among humans and is a necessary step towards our goal.
Stinson spoke of recording the entire Storm series in one year. Presuming that the recordings were more or less completed by the time the first Storm was released in 2001 or as late as when he began doing the first interviews where he spoke of them being finished, we can guess that 2000 give or take 6 months was the critical time period of their creation. Knowing this, perhaps the general millennium fever of the time was the catalyst to their decision to not waste anymore time and to go all out with this burst of creativity. With this timeframe in mind it's strange to consider that by the time the first Storms were being released into the world a very real storm was about to hit with the attacks of September 11th and their bloody aftermath. Stinson himself would be dead just days shy of the first anniversary of 9/11 and as we know would not even get to see his Storm series completed. No matter the timing, the loss of life on all counts was beyond tragic.
This Storm will always be the most mysterious due to the untitled tracks and what might have beens but it's also sort of nice that there are still some things which we can never get to the bottom of. This whole exercise of mine is by no means definite, only being a personal interpretation which grew out of a desire to figure out what the Storm series might mean, if anything. I have already discovered far more than I first imagined when I simply played the records for the pleasure of listening to the music. That same feeling is still there for me even after so much analysis, but also a deeper wonder and respect at what Drexciya created.
 

L.I.F.E.

I was inclined to believe that 'L.I.F.E.' was the natural closer of the Storm series until I began to see so many connections between Shifted Phases and the post Storm 'Grava 4'. So what we have on Transllusion L.I.F.E. is the conclusion to the evolutionary curve we have been on and the beginning of the journey home which is concluded on Shifted Phases. Personally I would have expected the Storm to be one conceptual piece without the beginning of a physical journey seemingly tacked on to the end. But after trying to interpret Shifted Phases from all conceivable angles I just can't in good conscience place it anywhere but the end. Although Storm #2, the first Transllusion, is when the evolutionary theme really begins, so in one way it's quite fitting that the second Transllusion should end this process.
To recap, on Storm #1, ‘Harnessed The Storm’, we have the violent scene setter which tells us that all is not well but ends on a note of hope of a new kind of life. Storm #2 ‘The Opening of the Cerebral Gate’ is when things start to become clear, it is the first real step in the Storm towards this new life. We learn to look within and explore our mental dimensions. Storm #3, ‘Lifestyles of the Laptop Cafe’, tells us to continue this process of finding our true selves but also to develop/retain our basic human emotions, especially love and not to become a victim of the coldness of technology/modern society. Storm #4, Abstract Thought, is the first of two pre-evolutionary exercises. In this case 6 thought exercises and on Storm #5, Lab Rat XL, 6 biological experiments take place. On L.I.F.E., Storm #6, we take the final evolutionary step.
There is a wealth of titles, subtitles and artwork to furnish us with additional information to crack the concept here. The true title of the album turns out to be ‘Life Is Fast Ending’. This can even be extended to the phrase Life is fast ending, so live, taken from their message to the world. This reminds me of when Stinson talked of his inspiration in 2001, “It came from deep inside my mind. God gave me this vision and I’m building on it, bringing it to life for the whole world to see."
We’ll never know for sure how certain James Stinson was of his impending death, if anything when he speaks of his future in Atlanta he seems full of positive plans, “...the move is going on. It involves relocating and rebuilding our studios, re-launching the businesses and then that's going to be about it. Once our company gets going, I'm going to cut my hours back and eventually I'll get my own truck.” So I don’t think we need to be too morbid and always think he means himself when we read things like, ‘life is fast ending’. He was obviously aware of his heart problems and the even the move to Atlanta was for this reason but I feel he is making a broader point for all of us and not just thinking of his own potential end.
In small type underneath Transllusion is the subtitle 'Don’t Be Afraid of Evolution’. In the second of these Storm articles I argued that a possible meaning of the word transllusion was to become transparent. Maybe in this context the real meaning of transllusion is evolution? Once our fear to evolve is overcome how might this step towards evolution be consciously approached? In the Rephlex press release we luckily have some additional instruction from the band, “Open your mind to another time, place and dimension. Feel electronic music in a way you may have never felt before.” The first part is almost like a summing up of the Storm so far as you will by now be familiar with the concepts of another time, place and dimension and more besides. The second part is telling us to use these same insights when listening to electronic music. To the point that we will be able to feel the music in a way we have never done before. It could be read as ‘Open your mind and your ass will follow’ for the electronic age. Considering also that this is probably the musically least accessible of all the Storms its interesting that this is the one in particular that we are being asked to listen to in this way. It is a deep album alright but there's some real clashes going on sound-wise. Listen to it on headphones and you'll more easily appreciate how many tracks are layered on here and how some of them even work against each others melodies. This is best shown on ‘I’m Going Home’ which has what sounds like a keyboards banjo setting playing it’s own melody and some other sound altogether playing another set of notes which are kind of good on there own but a bit messy at the same time. In saying that, this is how they want it to sound and I can still find some standouts here like 'Consequences’, ’Memories of Me’ and ‘Jogging on the Moon’.
All that talk of the ‘Cerebral Gate’ and ‘Power of the 3rd Brain’ comes full circle in the artwork which includes two images of a human brain. There is no artwork credit but it seems likely that Drexciya had a large hand in it. As I said before when considering the Abstract Thought artwork it may be that a designer friend of theirs did it with them or someone else under their instruction. Even though its a good design, the finish is quite rough, both the front and back cover for example look like they were saved at a slighter lower resolution than is standard, but it does the job. So what have we got? The front cover doesn't tell us much but the
back is where things get interesting. One large superior looking silver brain is circled by a repeating pattern of star, crescent moon and sun. To speak of ‘the sun, the moon and the stars’ is a common enough phrase regarding enlightenment which stems from Buddhist literature and I think that’s exactly what this is about. There are 3 other brains circling this one and they seem to be more densely packed with the stuff of the universe and also have the same sun, moon and star patterned outline. Two other spheres contain outlines of human figures which are doing nothing less than ascending, the third sphere is a more crude rendering which represents the same thing. There are seven spheres in all which matches the number of Storms , but I think this is a coincidence. I would read it that the ascending figures are now at this next stage of evolution, ascending as a result of this insight.
As usual we have a Dimensional Waves production credit, which has been ‘Transmitted’ in this case, the third time that phrase has been used alongside ‘beamed’ and ‘filtered’.
To take the track titles in order we begin with ‘Dirty South Strut’. This appears to be a tongue in cheek start anyway from the newly southern state resident Stinson, a message to anyone who thinks that location is a factor in the Drexciya sound. I guess this and the untitled Lab Rat XL tracks is also conformation that while the music of the Storm series was done in one year the titling and artwork etc was done at a later period closer to the release dates.
'Memories of Me' may be our first cause to consider Stinson making a direct reference to himself, though as I've said I get the impression from his quotes that he was looking toward a future. But I guess if he was sensible he would have also been prepared for the worst which this seems to indicate. 'Consequences' too might also be hinting at being resolved to something ending although 'Rolling with the Punches of L.I.F.E.' shows an accepting and positive attitude to life’s ups and downs. There is also a very slowed down male vocal which is saying 'Just Roll, just pick it up', back and forth through out the track. 'Jogging on the Moon' is significant in that it is the first reintroduction of a space theme since Storm #4 and that is where we are heading on the next and final Storm.
‘Bump It’ features a space alien type voice which was previously used on Der Zyklus 2, ‘Mxyzptik’. I will reprint the entire lyric only because it is concerned with space and experiments which has proved to be relevant so far. “I am Mxyzptik coming from a black hole on the other side of the gamma quadrant. I am now conducting tests with your bio-ports. It's an experiment in bio technology. I’m up to my old dirty tricks again. This is Mxyzptik conducting experiments and testing new theories in alien concepts. I am now in connection with your mind, I shall now exit.” Not that the lyrics to ‘Bump It’ are anything like that, they are more of the “Bump it, work it, side to side” variety, nor does the music sound alike so maybe we should not look for a connection, more the hazards of sharing the same studio, but the lyrical sentiment may be worth considering.
‘Code Blue’ could be a warning of something not right, shades of ’Under Sea Disturbances’?
The final track is ‘I’m Going Home’ and this is the one that really explains the journey in the next Storm and even the destination on ‘Grava 4. The home referred to here is the Drexciya home universe and its planet Ocyia Syndor. What they have been doing with the Storm series so far is preparing us for our journey home, it could even be argued that this is not the first time they have hinted at these space origins either, but I will confine myself to considering the Storms for now.
This album is all about life and death, it tells us to live life when we have the chance but also to accept death when it comes. Whether we are dieing or not we can all relate to questions about the meaning of life and what happens after death and this is what seems to be concerning Drexciya in this final evolutionary Storm before our journey home through space.
Rephlex also had a 12” EP by Transllusion called ‘Third Eye’ which presuming it is not being repressed is now pretty rare as would be the other bonus 12” from the series. For the record the very echo filled male vocal on ‘Your Holding Me Up’ says the lyrics, “Your holding me up, your holding me back, test the beat, damn funny, kids don’t make none, roll the dice, lets see what you got, don’t hold me up, lets go.” Not sure what all this means! The similarity of the title with the other Transllsion 12”, ‘Power of the 3rd Brain’ might be telling us that this is part of the evolutionary process, to gain vision of the 3rd eye and use of the 3rd brain(give us a chance to find the 2nd !). Even the 2 versions of ‘Your Holding Me Up’, one being instrumental, is the same as what happened on the CD edition of Transllusion for ‘Do You Want To Get Down?’. This might all be coincidence but there’s quite a few parallels between all the Transllusion releases here to make you wonder. It’s like the two Transllusion albums, Storms #2 and #6, are being flagged as beginning and end. We know that the evolutionary process really begins on Strom #2, #1 was just a scene setter, likewise I can see #7, Shifted Phases, as a bookend to #1 and it does close the Storm quite nicely and leads us seamlessly into ‘Grava 4‘.
Maybe some final clarification of the nature of the Storms is needed. As I explained when discussing Strom #1, ‘Harnessed the Strom’, on ‘Grava 4’ we learn that Dr Blowfin releases the seven dimensional cloaking-spheres to hide the other three planets of the Drexciya home universe from Earths view. These are the seven Storms and each one a dimensional wave. This is a cloaking device in that it is a puzzle. As long as we fail to understand the Storms we fail to see the connection with the Drexciya home universe/Grava 4. It's that simple! To be worthy/able to truly ascend/go home is to follow the path taught during the Storm, to look within and explore our mental dimensions, to develop/retain our basic human emotions, especially love, to carry out the 6 thought exercises and 6 biological experiments and finally to overcome our fear and take the last evolutionary step, to then live in this knowledge and ascend. It strikes me that the way we may be meant to read the phrase 'Life is fast ending, So Live' is as, life as we live/know it is fast ending for us if we have so far followed the evolutionary progress of the Storm series to this point, so now is the time to really live anew in this knowledge. There is a wonderful universal message for everyone contained in the Storm series. The fact that it concerns a purely mental evolution means it is open to everyone. Truly Dexciya's inspiration did indeed come from above. So follow the instructions and remember, life is fast ending, so live.

The evolutionary part of the Storm has ended, now the journey begins.

Shifted Phases

Storm #7 is Shifted Phases 'The Cosmic Memoirs of the Late Great Rupert J. Rosinthrope'. The hidden element to this storm is that what we have here is a map to the Drexciya home universe. In many ways this bookends Storm #1, ‘Harnessed the Storm’, very neatly in that the theme is self contained, as explained before #2 and #5 follow the main evolutionary path(beginning and ending with Transllusion). This Storm is also on Tresor too so there’s a kind of join there but that’s probably more coincidence.
Shifted Phases immediately conjures up images of changing dimensions, realities whose frequencies are phased just out of step to be different from each other. Maybe this would be something we need to do to ever hope to reach the Drexciya home universe in a human lifetime. Perhaps one of the unnamed biological experiments on lab Rat XL would have been to reconnect this part of our brain(the third brain?) with this universal mind, that would be evolution indeed.
The album title seems to be telling us that it contains the life story of an individual. Well first of all, like most people interested I put Rupert J. Rosinthrope in a search engine when the album first came out and came up with zilch outside references to the album. So we know the name is their creation at least. The memoirs are not of course an account of an everyday existence either, these are cosmic memoirs. I would say that this man represents mankind and this is the entire history of man being recounted one last time. The ‘Late Great’ phrase certainly hints at something bigger than this being just about a man. There was a huge bestseller, in the 70’s I think, about the possibly factual end of the world according to the book of Revelations. It was called the ‘Late Great Planet Earth’ which they might have been thinking of to signify how big this evolutionary step could be. I’m not saying there is any Revelations type element in the Storm series, just that the phrase signifies the World.
While I’m on this subject I might as well elaborate on a possible meaning of the phrase ‘Cosmic Memoirs’. I had come across a similar phrase to this before when reading about Rudolf Steiner, as you do! Steiner died in 1925 and wrote about higher states of human consciousness. He called it the Cosmic Chronicle or Akhasic Record and what he described it as being was an uninterrupted view/experience of the entire history of man, right from the beginning of time. Not bad then, a big idea, he claimed to view it quite regularly and could see the same unchanging will of humanity expressing itself through different races and individuals throughout history. Of course, here I’m only scratching the surface of what he saw and he wrote about a lot more besides. Put his name in a search engine and you won’t be disappointed! I wanted to mention this character before in relation to being a possible influence on the evolution of the consciousness element of the Storm series(the ability to view the cosmic chronicle was one of his final steps) but thought I’d hold back on him till now. We’ll never know for sure what sort of reading Stinson and Gerald got up to but while Steiner may seem obscure to the common man, he would be well enough known to those interested in the subject. Cosmic Memoirs is the only direct reference to Steiner and that is why I only mention him now but if you delve a little deeper into his idea’s you may be surprised at how much resonates, again this could just be coincidence.
My last point in this vein would be to point out another connected philosophical viewpoint. If you accept the existence of a type of universal/folk memory then would it not follow that there be a common consciousness? Ludwig Wittgenstein theorised about just such a possibility in his ‘no ownership of mind’ theory. If you choose to follow up this line of inquiry prepare yourself for mind scrambling scenarios where amnesiac’s wake up in hospitals screaming, “Someone is in pain, I don’t know who!”. This might even shed light on that enigmatic Stinson quote where he’s asked for some last thoughts in the Beere interview, “Look in the mirror, do you see you or do you see me?” And you thought I said this Storm was just a map!
Musically Shifted Phases is way up my list, there is a varied palette of sounds to be found here. In particular, the piano on ‘Lonely Journey of the Comet Bopp’ really makes you feel like your watching it move through space. There are so many standout tracks here I would only end up listing the bulk of the album, lets just say it’s another triumph then. Of course there is a ‘Production by Dimensional Waves’ credit, but no other information. Luckily the titles give us all we need to know. To follow the CD track-list in order, as we also did with it’s opposing bookend, Storm #1, makes the most sense.
The first thing which might surprise you in space travel is that there is a ‘Solar Wind’, you would also need to be wary of running into the path of radioactive solar flares but that‘s beside the point. A ‘White Dwarf’ star would be a phenomena you could encounter on your way, maybe in this context it could be used as an ‘Astronomical Guidepost’ for our journey. This is the name of a track on Grava 4. ‘Waveform Cascades’ could mean a lot of things but ‘Dance of the Celestial Druids’ sounds like another astronomical phenomenon. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a druid like figure in the constellation chart alongside Leo etc, another guidepost in our journey? ‘The Freak Show’ again sounds like an astral happening which now makes three possible astronomical guideposts we have encountered. ‘Implosive Regions’ sounds like we are now leaving our own galaxy and navigating the asteroid belt, a dangerous region indeed. It should come as no surprise then that we should now encounter at this furthest point the 'Lonely Journey of the Comet Bopp’. We now cross into some ‘Neptune’s Lair’ type imagery because everything beyond this point is the unknown astrozone, sorry! We know that James Stinson was a jazz fan and having talked of possible philosophical influences earlier, we have on ‘Crossing of the Sun-Ra Nebula’ an acknowledgement of a definite influence. You need go no further back than Sun Ra to find in him the forefather of musicians creating imaginary worlds to go with their music. Once we cross this nebula we encounter ‘Scattering Pulsars’. The following ‘Alien Vessel Distress Call’ again makes me think of classic ‘Neptune’s Lair’ type scenarios. Who exactly the alien craft belongs to could be either us, as we would be the aliens in this universe or them. The final track is ‘Flux’ which of course means fluctuation or change. If we have followed the instructions so far we will have experienced both a change of consciousness and now a change of place to fit that consciousness.
In many ways I feel like the journey ended for me with L.I.F.E., you should read my last paragraph there again if you want a neat summary of and praise for the Storm series. Mind you, Shifted Phases may only be about a physical journey but it is one we could not have even conceptualised about taking before understanding the previous Storms. It only seemed easier to figure out in comparison to what had gone before.
You may have guessed but it was only while doing this blog that I really figured out the specifics for myself. Those who were reading as I posted were as far along as I was at times. A few hours ago my word count was stuck at 700, now it’s almost 2am and I’ve managed to almost double it. I don’t want to make any rash statements here about where my intuitions come from, I think this post has touched on some highly controversial and unknowable area’s as it is. I will say that if some of my conclusions regarding a universal consciousness are true then I was certainly getting help from outside myself.
As Drexciya, James Stinson and Gerald Donald gave us great music, but by not explaining themselves and creating a mystery they gave us the use of our imagination. This is only my interpretation, to have your own is more important.

This is not the end, Grava 4 is next, then the past and the future.

1. DREXCIYA - HARNESSED THE STORM
2. TRANSLLUSION - THE OPENING OF THE CEREBRAL GATE
3. THE OTHER PEOPLE PLACE - LIFESTYLES OF THE LAPTOP CAFÉ
4. ABSTRACT THOUGHTS - HYPOTHETICAL SITUATIONS
5. LAB RAT XL - MICE OR CYBORG
6. TRANSLLUSION - L.I.F.E.
7. SHIFTED PHASES - THE COSMIC MEMOIRS OF THE LATE GREAT RUPERT J. ROSINTHROPE
Grava 4

Grava 4 was released midway through the Storm series and can now be recognised as the first post Storm album and understood in the light of the seven preceding Storms. The first question is why was it not held back till the Storm was over? I suppose Drexciya were very much in release mode at the time and since the other Storms didn’t come out in order either it wasn't a big issue. For the US based Drexciya to liase with one European label is one thing but when you put five in the equation things can get complicated. With 8 albums and various 12”s coming out over this 2 year period on 5 separate labels, if there wasn't to be a clash then any release windows that arose would be taken advantage of. I would imagine Drexciya were reasonable about this, knowing this is still a business for these labels.

Clone put out this album and may well have been poised to become Drexciya’s main label if things had worked out differently. They did go on to release Gerald Donald's second Der Zyklus album along with becoming something of the Drexcyen archivist by re-releasing some of their earliest music with the L.A.M. and Glass Domain 12”’s, not to mention the mid Storm The Other People Place 12”. Another reason why Grava 4 came out when it did may be because there was obviously some delay with Lab Rat XL, which was the final storm to be released and came out on the Clone sub-label Dub, and as Grava 4 was ready to go it might have been a good substitute.

The title Grava 4 must mean something, it sounds so specific, the only things that come to my mind is that it might be short for gravity or else is the name of the universe itself, the 4 meaning the 4 planets. I had originally thought that it could clear up the mystery of the missing track number 4 which turned out to be a mistake on the CD artwork. The title is actually 'Gravity Waves'.
The phrase ‘Drexciya presents Grava 4’ in the sleeve notes gives the album a certain importance, this is unusually grandiose wording for an album and more akin to a movie credit. Certainly the impression it gives is that we are to approach this album differently than usual. The next line goes on to justify the wording, ‘Earth has finally discovered Utopia.(Drexciya Home Universe). This is an event worthy of celebration indeed and I believe ‘presents’ makes more sense in this context. It seems obvious that the Drexciya Home Universe is a metaphor for Utopia. If the Storm series was leading us towards an evolutionary jump of consciousness then any mention of Utopia immediately proceeding it should be taken as the end result. Its quite exciting to imagine where Drexciya would have taken us next. But in a way it makes so much sense to leave it at this stage, where can you go once you find utopia? If James Stinson had lived maybe they would have just ended up reiterating this destination and ways to attain it in varying degrees. He was lucky he lived to see his vision through to its conclusion the one time. Maybe this is another reason the album came out when it did, as Stinson knew it had to come out at all costs. It would likely have been in a finished state for sometime as well.
A 12" did come out to accompany the album but it only featured tracks from the album and no additional titles or information. Although it has become known as 'Gravity Waves' for some reason. Probably because Clone listed it as such just to have a title to sell it easier rather than list it as untitled. As mentioned there was a mistake in the album artwork which did not list track number 4, said to be 'Gravity Waves' but on the 12" there is also a mistake in that the listed 'Drexcyen Star Chamber' turns out to be the troublesome track number 4 of Grava 4, 'Gravity Waves'. Confusing, I know!
 
The big talking point about this album at the time was that Drexciya had officially named a star after themselves. It’s really beautiful that in the future there will always be a star named ‘Drexciya’. Perhaps there will come a time when people look back on our time as we think of Atlantis. Granted some disaster would have to befall the Earth, but give it enough time and it will happen, the things to be saved would be any records of human learning like medicine, agriculture, maps and why not star charts. Some day an archaeologist of the future might even unearth artefacts regarding Drexciya and a legend would be born about the people of the planet Drexciya. The exact wording of the sleeve notes was ‘The star chart is authentic; you will be able to find the star by using coordinates on the star chart. The planet Drexciya can be found in the international Star vault in Switzerland & recorded in the astronomical compendium. (your place in the cosmos, volume 6) copyrighted in the USA available 2003.’ The website which they used to do this is at http://www.starresistry.com Sadly they don’t give you the option to look for previous entries, it’s basically a money making scheme.

The artwork here has no more production credits to Dimensional Waves or even any Drexciya email addresses either which marks the album out as separate from the Storm series. Even the return of the name Drexciya in this context, not used since Storm #1, can be taken as a sign that the storm is over. The text goes on to say, “Earth scientists discovered the home planet Drexciya on 2-14-2002. Within moments Dr. Blowfin was given the orders to initiate the seven dimensional cloaking -spheres to hide the other three planets from Earths view.” As we have discovered, the 7 cloaking spheres are the 7 dimensional waves/Storms which created a shield/puzzle which when figured out did indeed reveal our destination/Utopia. I’m inclined to believe that the date is simply the day their star was registered, by now the studio work would have long ceased, although the artwork and titling as we know went on right up to the end.

The long and slowly lethargic opener 'Cascading Celestial Giants' seems to soundtrack a rebirth or re-emergence for Drexciya. The hymnal vocal sample gives it an epic, even religious feel, hinting that what we are about to access is something special. The celestial giants are probably a reference to the two largest planets in the Drexciya home universe, Ceeroze and Ociya Syndor or all four of them. As a side note the template for this track would not have been out of place on Dopplereffekts ‘Linear Accelerator’. ‘Powers of the Deep’ sounds like a pre Storm era title but in this context could mean deep space and is another slow contemplative number. ‘Ociya Syndor’ of course brings us full circle from the very first storm’s ‘Mission to Ociya Syndor and Back’. It seems unlikely that all of the four planets in the Drexciya Home Universe would be habitable, we only have to understand the basic principles of our own universe to understand that. The sleeve notes tell us that the home planet is Drexciya, which leaves us asking what’s with Ociya Syndor, is this their Mars, only colonised? Whatever it is, Ociya Syndor is central. Maybe if James Stinson had lived they would have gone on to explain and build a mythos to go with this universe. A simple colonisation may well be the answer, on the map its certainly a larger planet than Drexciya and would be the obvious choice for an expanding civilisation. Ceeroze looks too close to their Sun. I wouldn’t be surprised if tiny Bowslac would also have turned out to be colonised, being about the same distance from their Sun as Drexciya.

‘Drexcyen Star Chamber’ finally breaks into a sweat with a more recognisable pacey electro edge and sounds like it could have originated from L.I.F.E. material. The title sounds like an attempt to build a history around this newly revealed location. This star chamber may be a place to view a map of the Drexcyen universe. I am drawn to view this as more ancient than modern by the archaic language used to describe it. The ancient Egyptians would have had what would pass for a ‘star chamber’ and we have already had a reference to the Egypt obsessed Sun Ra on the final storm. Although I think we need to look towards another ancient but equally as mysterious culture to cover all the possible historical origins that this album is hinting at. I would recommend to investigate the African Dogon tribe as a possible influence here. They are famous for having detailed astrological information about the Sirius star system which was then unknown at the time. Their whole belief culture is based around this. This could fit with the title ‘Hightech Nomads’ which sounds very future primitive, whether these people would be found on Ociya Syndor or Earth is up for debate.

'Drexcyen R.E.S.T. Principle (Research. Experimentation. Science. Technology.) has been mentioned before in the press release for Lab Rat XL and is discussed there. Save to say this is the method used by Drexciya for doing tracks. One additional piece of information is that this is not the first time this type of phraseology has been used. As a sort of subtitle underneath Neptune's Lair it reads 'Scientific Research Development Lab', this theme is so strong and consistent with Drexciya that it even influenced the title of this blog! Research is key. Neptune's Lair is certainly an album I will be examining in the future.
'700 million light years from Earth' must be giving us the distance of the Drexciya Home Universe from Earth. 'Astronomical Guidepost' has a vocal and ends off the album in a cyclical fashion as I will show. The sentence, "Use the star chart to fix a celestial navigation point, from there you should be able to plot your path back to Earth using rudimentary astronomical guideposts." sounds like it was sampled from somewhere and neatly brings us back to Earth, therefore completing the mission from Storm #1, 'Harnessed the Storm', to get to Ociya Syndor and back. Its nice the way the music drops away for the final vocal sample and the album ends, it seems these are our instructions and so our journey home begins.

It strikes me that the naming of the Drexciya inspired Aquanauts could itself be a hint at what was coming next after Grava 4, Drexciyans in space, wouldn’t Aquanauts be the perfect way to describe that? Maybe Stinson had explained his new concept to his UR brothers, lets hope so, I would say I will have more to say about Aquanauts in the future.

Speaking with Osselaer Stinson talked about the Storms as hitting Earth, “...seven storms released around the world. So far three of the seven storms have hit Earth. The next four storms are in a holding pattern.” This totally ties in with conceiving of the storms coming from outer space. For them to effectively hit all over the Earth this would also explain why multiple labels were necessary. Also in the Osselaer interview he gave one of his only references to anything post-storm, "Some of the things of slavery will tell more when the time comes. Stay tuned! I can only tell you a little bit now. After the storm is over I will tell the story. What I can tell you is that in Africa we have a dimensional jump hole. Tell you more later." This is a major hint at what was to come, tragically it wasn't to be but I've put together a possible scenario which Drexciya may have used next to reveal their history and future direction.

'In Africa, thousand of years ago, high-tech nomads began to emerge from an dimensional jump-hole. They were coming from Ociya Syndor, 700 million light years from Earth. To those that know, they have left their mark all over the world, but especially in Africa where their traces can be found in the famous Dogon tribe. One day their story will be rediscovered, for they carved forever in stone their journeys path in the Drexcyen Star Chamber. Its location is a subterranean city, deep on the ocean floor. This is where the Africans were brought to when they were thrown off the slave ships. They were rescued and helped to adapt by their ancient cosmic brothers and sisters. Here they became deep sea dwellers in the bubble metropolis and in time went through the hydro doorways and became star travellers themselves.One day, when the need of Earth will be at its greatest, the powers of the deep will be made known to the surface world. For the Drexciyans are never idle, their principle has always been, Research, Experimentation, Science and Technology, from Neptune’s time to today.'

As I’ve said before, this is only my interpretation. Drexciya chose to create mystery so we could think for ourselves.

This final quote from James Stinson both clear any doubt towards their intentions and justifies my own endeavours, "All the records we’ve made give you clues, how to tap into your inner selves. We bring you right to that door and give you the key. We’re doing what we’re able to, dropping messages from day one without getting too deep and scaring people off. We can only hope that people will pick up on what we’re doing.”




 

 

 

 

 



 

Create a Free Website