Drexciya - Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller 2xLP (Clone Classic Cuts, 2013)
"Across a series of singles, EPs, and conceptual full-lengths released on labels like Underground Resistance, Warp, Rephlex, and Berlin techno imprint Tresor, Drexciya conjured a world more evocative than Hollywood could fathom, and at a fraction of the budget. The fourth and final volume of Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller series (the Dutch imprint Clone’s necessary reissue/rescue of Drexciya’s long out-of-print catalogue) proves that their releases are deep enough to warrant sequels with little dip in quality.
For those not familiar with the backstory, Stinson and Donald (operating under a cloak of anonymity) conceived of the mythic Drexciyans: a water-breathing humanoid race descended from the pregnant slave women cast overboard during trans-Atlantic deportation. Their mutant strain of electro, funk and techno—conjured on analog electronics and recorded directly to tape—is fittingly brutal. Even with forebearers like Kraftwerk and Cybotron, Drexciya’s sound remains singular.
Alongside a slew of unreleased tracks (at least six contain the word “Unknown” in them), some of their spikiest electro crops up here, from the severely phased, drillbit synths of “Aquatic Bata Particles” to the frantic, alarm-sounding “Mantaray”. While in hindsight Drexciya’s lineage to Detroit electronic music is evident, there’s also a latent sense of anger, fury and powerlessness to these tracks, one that at times makes me think of the duo as descendants of that “lost” Detroit act, Death. There’s as much of punk’s fury as techno’s pulse to be felt here.
If there’s been a downside to this otherwise excellent reissue series, it’s that Clone has scrubbed clean the dystopian Afrofuturistic backstory that attended each Drexciya release, those sub-aquatic realms of stingray battalions, Aquabahns, Lardossen cruisers, and Darthouven Fish Men are left to the imagination, as well as that institution only managed via sci-fi tropes. But in absorbing both the punishing stingray whips and distressed synths on the seven-minute “Hydro Cubes,” Drexciya seems to anticipate the sort of repugnant tones Kanye West reveled in just last year to create Yesszus’s “sorrowful and furious headspace." But while Kanye proclaimed himself a god, Drexicya wondered if god was virtual reality. Nearly 20 years earlier, Drexciya were creating something equally livid and misunderstood." - Andy Beta (Pitchfork)