There probably isn't a single person that likes, and truly understands Electro that does not know the name Drexciya. It has become a staple name for anyone that has been into this music for years or is just getting into it. Drexciya's influence on this style of music was so profound, that it's true effects will not be truly known for years to come. It wasn't just about the music, it was about the message, and that's what made it so unique and special to everyone that had the privilege of coming face to face, or shall we say, ear to ear, with the magnificient and majestic energy of Drexciya's music.
Long thought to have been the work of James Stinson alone, it is thought to be an open secret that Gerald Donald, from the group Dopplereffekt, was also a partner. More interestingly is the rumor in Detroit, possibly more true than the latter, that one of the two female partners, also from the group Dopplereffekt, may have actually been involved in the Drexciya project as opposed to Gerald.
Drexciya released their first 12", "Deep Sea Dweller", in 1992 on the label Shockwave Records and was quite a success. The group soon followed up with 2 releases on the infamous label Underground Resistance, where they would later also release on the Electronic Warfare compilations. Over the years they continued to release an incredible amount of material on many different labels like Germany's historic Tresor, as well as Warp, Submerge and iK7.
The whole idea around Drexciya is quite a profound and mystical one that leaves one thinking about many things, specially the existence of an underwater world like Atlantis, where beings, possibly more evolved than we are, might be living in. According to Stinson, Drexciya is an underwater world made up of the unborn children of African women slaves that were thrown off ships in the past and had adapted to breathing underwater.
Conceptual artistry like this is so rare this day in age, as ironic as it may seem to those that grew up in an era where passion and idea ruled music and visual art. To this cause, Drexciya and other Detroit artists were dedicated to, not too mention the anti-mainstream stance that is such an engrained part of the culture of that city. The intention was always to focus on the music itself and the overall message within it, not the image of the artist which is more based around ego and self gain.
Unfortunately James Stinson died of heart complications on September 3, 2002, leaving behind a great legacy of material that went above and beyond the physical boundaries of music. There are many lessons to be learned from his career and the influence that him and Drexciya had over the Electro scene, perhaps most importantly that the sole focus of music should be on the soulfulness behind the music and the concept that drives it. In an era that often lacks these qualities, one can only hope that his memory will continue to have an impact that will help re-define our music, our culture, and the reasons why each and every person is involved in it...long live Drexciya!
Written by: Santino Fernandez