Drexciya's Storm Series update
"...it came out of me and out of my partner from our soul, we dug it out of there, the one take, in the way it is, it’s a masterpiece, it’s a work of art and the energy that’s captured and whatever energy that’s projected, capture it, see what you feel. Cause everyone’s gonna interpret it differently, like a picture has a million and one stories or whatever, that’s basically what it is.” -James Stinson speaking about the Storm Series
Anyone who's interested in Drexciya's seven album Storm Series and the puzzle that eight albums were actually released between 2001 and 2002 will be interested in a new nugget of information that has come to light from Serge of Clone Records. Previously there has been no known way to tell which album is the odd one out and James Stinson never identified all of the Storm Series albums when interviewed (he only confirmed Harnessed The Storm, The Other People Place,The Opening of the Cerebral Gate and Abstract Thought). In 2005 when I looked in depth at all eight of the albums I speculated that Grava 4 was the odd one out but did find that it very much followed on conceptually and was closely related to the Storm Series.
This is how I summarised it at the time, if you have (a lot) of time you can click on each album (including Grava 4) and read my original posts as I followed the Storm Series. What I found is far from definitive and it includes my own assumptions and speculations but it was an honest attempt to figure it all out for myself and share these thoughts with other fans. I've compiled everything that James Stinson said on the matter as well about half way down this post.
#1 Drexciya - Harnessed The Storm: Drexciya get metaphorically kicked out of the paradise of their underwater home because they forget the meaning of life and so begin a journey of rediscovery.
#2 Transllusion - The Opening of the Cerebral Gate: They begin this journey by looking within and exploring their mental dimensions.
#3 The Other People Place - Lifestyles of the Laptop Cafe: Next they follow love in all its forms.
#4 Abstract Thought - Hypothetical Situations: They further stretch their minds by exploring 6 hypothetical situations.
#5 Lab Rat XL - Mice or Cyborg: They prepare their bodies for the physical trip home by carrying out 6 biological exercises.
#6 Transllusion - L.I.F.E.: They ultimately learn to overcome their fear of death, how to roll with the punches of life and remember the meaning of life, evolution. Paradise is regained at this point but now they go further.
#7 Shifted Phases - The Cosmic Memoirs of the Late Great Rupert J. Rosinthrope: They can now begin the physical journey through space which ends in their final flux before they arrive at their long sought ultimate utopia, the Drexciya Home Universe they find in Grava 4.
When Clone recently reissued Grava 4 they refereed to it as being one of the seven albums in the Storm Series. While I personally didn't agree with this I accepted what they were believed and agree that it was closely related. Someone referring to my list posted a comment on the Clone FB page that Grava 4 wasn't one of the Storms and Serge replied that “Grava 4 is most definitely one of the 7 storms. The list on the website you are referring to is speculative.” This is true about the list, I've always stressed it was my own opinion and left it open so that everyone could come up with their own combination of those 8 albums, deciding which one is the odd one out, what order they should be in and what the meaning of the series is etc.
I wasn't aware of Serge's comment until two days ago when I was messaged on FB about it. I decided to ask Serge why he was so sure, perhaps he had some inside information from James Stinson at the time. His reply implied that he did and he said that it was no secret as the 'Dimensional Release List' on James Stinson's Dimensional Waves website was the list of the Storms anyway, “This has been discussed of course and it's no secret! No problem if you question the info from the label (always do so). But the 7 albums also have been published on the website of the artist (which you can still find online somewhere).” You can see a screen grab of the list in question below...
I'm happy to have this alternate order to consider, DRL for me has always been about sharing the information/research; anything that gets people thinking and looking deeper into this rich subject will always be a good thing. In this case it's up to each reader to decide what they think about this new information from Serge, however, even he does remind us to always question the information from the label.
In this spirit then, if you do follow his line of thought there are further mysteries to consider. If you go by the 'Dimensional Release List' to identify the seven albums in the Storm Series, which I have always taken to be a general list of upcoming releases (it appears to be only the latest update with more to follow and it lists the first Transllusion 12” as well), you will see that the second Transllusion album, L.I.F.E., which came out on Rephlex in 2002, is missing from it. This implies that this album is the odd one out and should be seen as separate from the Storm Series. However, if you look at the label artwork for this album and its accompanying 12”, Third Eye, you will find it states, 'Transmitted by Dimensional Waves' and gives the ridedimensionalwaves email address as well. In fact the only album of the eight that does not have a variation of this text is Grava 4. Be warned, once you start looking more closely at any of these albums you will start to find things like this! Also in the artwork for L.I.F.E., you will discover seven brains/cells? (below), might these be random or have a deeper meaning to the Storm Series (dimensional brain waves?). I do agree that it is quite odd that L.I.F.E. is not included in the list, as that record must have been fully completed with titles and artwork etc, unlike Lab Rat XL (which is listed) which had to be released without titles or artwork as James Stinson had died before he could complete this.
If Grava 4 is really the final album in the Storm Series (which is where I would place it), it would certainly wrap things up quicker so to speak and mean that the Storm contained its own conclusion. There is even a certain symmetry to this with the first and last albums being by Drexciya. The odd album, L.I.F.E., could then be read as some kind of personal sign-off from James Stinson perhaps?
However, as interesting as this is, the whole point of the chaotic nature of the Storm Series in my view was to prepare yourself and discover the Drexciya Home Universe of Grava 4 and it does appear to follow on from the already space located Shifted Phases album. Grava 4 also includes the intriguing text, 'Earth scientist discovered the home planet of 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.' If you take the 'seven dimensional cloaking spheres' to be the seven albums produced under the name Dimensional Waves, this text very much connects Grava 4 to the Storm Series, but is it looking back at the previous seven albums or is it the seventh and final album of the series itself? You could read the text either way and obviously I made the decision to read it the first way, which might have been a mistake.
To me there has always really been eight albums in the series and if I am correct I think Stinson might have thought about them in the same way too. For this reason he may well have told Serge that Grava 4 was part of the series, but meant this in a general way, but whether he actually said it was one of the seven we can only guess or accept what Serge has said as fact. Having thought about this new information and still always only speaking for myself, I still prefer my original order and understanding of the series but accept that it comes with a caveat now. With any great work of art each viewer will find what they want to find and the Storm Series was designed to work very much in this way.
I don't know how this will affect other people's opinions and beliefs about the Storm Series but I thought it was important to share this information and point out its pros and cons as I see them. I'd love to hear people's opinions about this, including that it's just great music at the end of the day and to simply enjoy it.
Luckily James Stinson spoke quite a lot about the Storm Series and I've compiled all of these quotes below from the Drexciya Speaks post.
"Harnessed The Storm is an ongoing process that consists of seven storms (albums) released around the world. So far three of the seven storms have hit earth (Drexciya, Transllusion, The Other People Place). The next four storms are in a holding pattern."
“Basically, we make all the records differently. "Harnessed The Storm" is one in a series of seven individual storms, which are LPs. The albums are sent to different labels. "Harnessed the Storm" is one, "Transllusion" is two and "The Other People's Place" is three. Much like storms or tornadoes, you don't know where or when they're going to show up, but there's four more. They were all made within one year. Each captures different emotions, abstract thoughts and has a different emotional ride and different experience.”
“(on Storms) We're really pushing the gas pedal now. I'm working at my own pace now. In the past, I would intentionally slow down to see what other people were going to do, but I'm tired of playing games. Now, I'm happy. This is my pace. Get on the gas, get off the gas and end up in a traffic jam."
"It really all depends on the mood. I really feel good. It was just something that had to come out. The way we produce is based on emotions and that time period, what's going in and out of our minds. What's going on personally in my life, my health, anything like that. Some of the songs came very quickly.”
“I feel great. For me and my partner, there was a lot of pressure and lot of personal things in my world being turned upside down (while making "Harnessed"). But we we're just clicking on all cylinders, we were just in that groove. With this different project, we had to make sure this one was totally different from the next one that comes out. We never intend to copy ourselves. Whatever comes out next, comes out next. "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.”
“We’re changing gears and we thought it was time for something new, in the past Drexciya was for the real hardcore DJs, but we got to a stage where we were questioning the need to be hard all the time. It was time for something new so we went with it. At the same time, it wasn’t a planned move, we got into other, deeper concepts and created a musical storm. The works that we’re releasing this year will control this storm and they’ll be launched from various positions”
“I suppose we’re trying to say ‘enjoy life’ with these albums(Storms). The world has become a dark place and its our job to entertain, make people happy and put the fun back in the music. That’s what Drexciya is about in the first instance and that’s why our concepts have become deeper lately. Sure, we’re political and deal with reality, but we also leave the door open so people can create, explore and go into their own world.”
“Those two particular records(Transllusion, Other People Place), those two groups, are a part of storms of "Harnessed the Storm" Drexciya LP. All together there are seven LPs, which I call storms. So far you have The Other People Place, Transllusion, and you have Drexciya s "Harnessed The Storm", which is the first one. There’s no particular order that they’re going to be released in. The records are already done. Right now, storm number four is due up next to blow up off the coast of Portugal, which means that’s another record label I’m dealing with. There are certain reasons why I deal with certain record labels, because I want to see what’s going to happen, or whatever. In other words, all the record labels that I dealt with had different strengths and there’s a particular reason why I deal with them. After that, there’s going to be three more storms. They're already ready and they're just waiting to come down the line.”
“We’re going all over the place, we’re hitting everything. You know Drexciya, we give you a 360 degree angle of everything and that's the reason why we did this. 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. It's a variety show, in other words. They're all linked, but there are very small, little links that you have to really listen to and even look at the titles or artwork that's going to lead you to the next one and so forth and so on and you will see the cycle and the connection. Basically what this is, getting back to the record label thing, is that our production company, Dimensional Waves, which we go out and license our material to different record labels and different places. That's the way we want to do things, instead of being signed to just one. That's what fits our business needs. Being signed to someone would not be suitable for us, so we designed something here that’s kind of unique and not everyone can follow this logic, or not agree with what we do, and so on and so forth. They’ll say that we take music and give it to everyone else around the world. That doesn’t matter. As long as the people who listen to these records are satisfied, that’s all that matters. I don t care who’s getting rich off of this money, because that's not what I’m all about. If I’m not making myself rich, why should I make somebody else rich? I’m spreading the wealth around the world, and as long as the people keep getting the quality music that they're receiving, that's all that matters to me. And so far, it's working and I'm happy. Extremely happy, because the people are happy. If the people are not happy, I'm not happy, something has to be done.”
“(Title ‘Harnessed the Storm’) 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 came about. To answer your question, it had a lot to do with the album and everything going on around us was very turbulent.”
“Yes, within the course of the full year they will be released. The next one that's coming out is called Abstract Thoughts, which should be out in the next month or two. The last three, I’ll keep those as a mystery. I'm pretty sure you'll catch up on that though with the little hints and such.”
“Well, basically what happened was that over the course of a year me and my partner created one hell of a storm as far as how many tracks we were making and how fast we were doing them and under different pressures and different things that was going on and that’s basically where the concept came from. It was just like total chaos, we basically controlled the storm, and basically within the storm was produced like seven different albums, Which was the first one, Harnessed The Storm, then there was the Transllusion, then there was The Other People Place and there are four albums on their way out now, their just in a holding pattern. Well basically in each one of the albums it’s a different feel. Something for everyone, some of the music you might like, some you might not like. But by the time you get finished with all seven it will be like a complete feeling that you will have, once you listen to all seven of them together.”
(meaning of Storm Series) “Actually that’s not for me to say, it’s up for the listener. It’s the same way it’s been from day one with all the Drexciya music. I could come out and say ok this is what it is, this is my intent, okay well what if that person listening to the record and that’s not what they feel, that’s not what they see. So basically, what I do like I have from day one, I don’t say anything about it. You listen to it, you tell me what you feel, because that’s the way I made it. You know, it came out of me and out of my partner from our soul, we dug it out of there, the one take, in the way it is, it’s a masterpiece, it’s a work of art and the energy that’s captured and whatever energy that’s projected, capture it, see what you feel. Cause everyone’s gonna interpret it differently like a picture has a million and one stories or whatever, that’s basically what it is.”
(many different aliases)“And that’s basically one of the reasons why we put them under different names, we couldn’t just put it under the Drexciya name. We had to basically break it up and give it its own identity so it can live and exist in it’s own world you know cause if it was under the Drexciya name I don’t think it would do so well, because Drexciya has a different kind of feel and vibe, it’s still Drexciya but it’s in a different state of incubation.”
(upcoming Storm Series release and other related projects) “One of the groups I’m just gonna mention is called Abstract Thoughts, that’s basically the only one I’m gonna speak on. Then of course my partner, he has a host of different solo projects or whatever and I’m not gonna really mention them. I’m pretty sure people know but I’m not gonna mention them all on his behalf. But there’s quite a few.”
(why so many releases now, it seems urgent) "It's not really a sense of urgency, it's like a run off, we were just filled up with energy which had to be released. Just an explosion, just let it go. So why should you stop the flow, if it's coming out let it go. It's not like it's gonna happen all the time, so go with it, see what happens.”
"There are some principles we have that we can't share with the world. At the moment we're working on unleashing the seven storms onto the world, which are seven albums that Drexciya is involved with that we're releasing into the world under a whole host of names, from a whole host of countries. It started with the first storm, which was the new Drexciya release. Then the second storm was Transllusion, which came out of Germany, then you had The Other People Place LP coming out of England. And now we've got four more storms in the works, coming from places like Portugal. They're just in a holding pattern, just waiting to be unleashed."