Drexciya Research Lab

DON'T BE AFRAID OF EVOLUTION


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ARPANET INTERVIEW

HEINRICH MUELLER INTERVIEW

GERALD DONALD PRODUCTION STYLE

GERALD DONALD

FURTHER RESEARCH

GLASS DOMAIN

FASCIST STATE

INFOPHYSIX

STERILIZATION/GESAMTKUNSWERK

DER ZYKLUS I & THE BIRTH OF HEINRICH MUELLER

BLACK REPLICA

JAPANESE TELECOM s/t Album

DOPPLEREFFEKT/BLACK REPLICA SWEDEN 2007

ZWISCHENWELT

DER ZYKLUS II

JAPANESE TELECOM - VIRTUAL GEISHA

ZWISCHENWELT/BLACK REPLICA

BLACK REPLICA INTERVIEW

ARPANET - WIRELESS INTERNET

DOPPLEREFFEKT - LINEAR ACCELERATOR

DER ZYKLUS - BIOMETRY

ARPANET - QUANTUM TRANSPOSITION

Arpanet Interview

Thanks to another of my readers for finding this 2002 interview with Gerald Donald about the first Arpanet album. The reason I choose to reproduce the question and answers segment of these interviews here and not simply give a link to its web page is that this site is also beginning to serve as a reliable archive for this stuff. In fact, one of the main contributory reasons for beginning this site was that I, by pure luck, had saved some of the James Stinson interview texts from pages that now only turn up as dead links. While I was certainly not the only one with this information I felt it was important that someone collect them in the one place sooner rather than later. So it's now in the same spirit that the words of Gerald Donald are being saved for posterity in case they too suffer the same fate. I am grateful to all the writers and hope they don't mind me reproducing their work on this non profit site. In this case John Osselaer did the necessary, which makes him probably the only person to have interviewed both members of Drexciya. In this case the page is still active so you can read the full text here.

Q:Arpanet was the predecessor of the internet. How quickly were you hooked on the net and what do you mainly look for out there?

A:It is primarily utilized for information gathering and electronic mail exchange, not much entertainment.

Q:How do you think the internet and all the technology that surrounds it will develop in the future? (or what evolutions would you like to see)?

A:More wirelessness is certain for humans are very mobile conscious in most present day societies; eventually everything will be wireless, mobile and nanofied/microscopic. The upper atmosphere, human body and space are the new mediums, the wire is obsolete.

Q:Apparently you are fascinated by Japanese technology. However, it was that same Japanese technology that caused the dramatic decline of the most important industry in your native city Detroit, being the car industry. How do you feel about that?

A:Well in this world either you move forward or you perish. American auto giants had more human concerns than practical ones. Automation is precise and does not require medical benefits or paid vacations. Sometimes you have to make harsh choices and ultimate sacrifices to sustain life. These are the laws of nature and natural selection.

Q:How important has the Japanese technology, both the musical instruments from companies like Roland and the issue we discussed above, been for the development of the electronic music that emerged from Detroit?

A:Well the technology not only benefited this sphere of musical development, but it also aided in the process of the global electronic discipline. All cultures interact and exchange ideas.

Q:You are clearly fascinated by Japanese technology and European sophistication (both probably pretty important influences on your music). Which elements of your own culture are important for you and your music?

A:Actually our culture was diluted with inferior ideas for nearly a millennium and we are still not bacteria free, so over time we patchworked many influences in connection with our already existent high racial spirits to create something uniquely our own, this is our new identity at present.

Q:What is it about the Japanese that always makes them come out on top in the field of technology? (what drives them, makes this technological mastery possible?)

A:The Japanese believe highly in dedication to work, country and company. Perfectionism is part of their cultural ethos and this manifests itself in their material and social output. Even though they are experiencing some economic hardships at this time, they will recoil.

Q:What's your cue in the idea that all this technology and progress alienates people from each other and from nature?

A:Nature itself is the greatest masterwork of technology. A man who takes his directives from nature is actually bringing togetherness through his inventions. We are all linked by technology, just take a look at the world around you and you will see.

Q:What about people who have trouble or are even unable to keep up with all the technological evolutions, how is their future going to look like?

A:Well keeping up with technology is synonymous with keeping in line with the Jones, its impossible. The best thing for a person to do is acquire the devices he needs to suit his needs. There is a smart way and impractical way to upgrade.

Q:To what extent can one consider i-mode/wirelessness as a step towards the man-machine, the interface between humans and machines?

A:Yes, for now people will have the internet/communication in their pocket and the goal will be achieved: mobility and accessibility.

Q:I have a feeling the track 'Devoid of Wires' refers to the character of Seven of Nine in Star Trek Voyager. Are the Borg something that fascinates you and in what way (positive or negative)?

A:Sometimes it is good to act collectively and sometimes it is good to act individually.

Q:A lot of the new technologies that have become part of our every day life used to be considered pure sci-fi a couple of decades/years ago. What other sci-fi visions do you foresee becoming a reality within the next few years/decades?

A:Possibly more voice command and wireless items in addition to environment friendliness.

Q:You have maintained an extremely high level of independence and control in all your musical projects. The new technologies also include highly improved (nearly perfect?) ways to survey and monitor people. To what extent are you worried about this control over people and what are your own concerns?

A:Well the concerns are that we will eventually loose our liberty because tracking and data chips will eventually sooner or later be installed in all unborn generations via world governments. I will refer these yet to be born as the GPS-generation for they will be tracked anywhere on the planet by our big brothers via satellite.

Q:What about musical equipment, do you think that will eventually also become wireless? What do you think would be the (dis)advantages of that?

A:It will liberate one to perform other duties in the production stages and this will be a great savior in labor necessity and research.

Q:The Arpanet album is about the idea of wireless internet and telecom. Both the press release and the album explicitly mention NTT DoCoMo. It is very uncommon for an underground act to actively promote a brand, especially such a big company. What was your motivation to go in such detail and use this companies name as a point of reference?

A:This firm and its products are worthy of being documented so it was documented through waveforms and visuals.

Q:What do you think are the main reasons holding back the US and Europe on the technological/i-mode front?

A:The main drawback is technical infrastructure. You need very sophisticated networks to support these new 3G and 4G phones, entire systems have to be updated and that's very expensive and time-consuming. The second reason is that the West has not been properly introduced to these innovations, but they will eventually see the light when the Japanese have moved on to the next step.

Q:In your opinion, what are the most interesting features i-mode has to offer right now and what are the most exciting evolutions around the corner?

A:Well it's difficult to say because they are constantly evolving so you cannot say what is the ultimate feature or the least feature; you just have to keep your focus on their evolution. Evolution is their most interesting feature.

Q:Nowadays we are able to communicate with people thousands of miles away, yet still a lot of people feel reluctant to communicate with their neighbors because they have a different color of skin, different ethnicity, religion, how do you feel about that and what will it take to bring down those barriers?

A:That is a sociological question. I recommend you speak to people authorized to make such analysis and judgments, but basically exposure, exposure and intimacy with the world around you.

Q:In an interview for URB magazine techno godfather Juan Atkins made some strong remarks about racial prejudice within the music industry. What are your views on this issue?

A:Well, our African culture is more superior when it comes to creating new forms of sound and visual. Look at past deeds and accounts of history musically and the aforementioned statement will be validated, it's very Darwinist.

Q:Arpanet stays very close to the tradition of the very early Detroit techno/electro. To what extent was maintaining that original sound a purpose on its own?

A:Call it what you wish, but fundamentally it is electronic music. Placing labels on music in these times is similar to stereotyping and racism and or racial profiling. It's senseless and trivial.

Q:Although your fascination with the digital world is clear, your music is undeniably analouge. Whats your view on the whole analogue vs digital debate in the music production world?

A:Well, it depends on the requirements. Sometimes digital is needed and sometimes analogue is needed. Analogue should not be underestimated nor should the digital domain. They all have disadvantages and advantages, its all technology.

Q:What are your critera for allowing a label to release your music?

A:The record executive should not interfere with the scientists or their scientific work. Every one should know their position in the machine and things will work out perfectly. It's similar to church and state relationships.

Q:What can we expect from you in the future?

A:Well the future is uncertain so the future cannot be elaborated on.

This interview was done in April 2002, by e-mail.
Interview by John Osselaer
 
 

Heinrich Muller Speaks

Thanks to one of our readers for finding this rare, possibly sole, interview with Heinrich Muller aka Gerald Donald concerning his 'Biometry' album as Der Zkylus. Check it out in full at Gaz-Eta

Why did you decide to name your new project Der Zyklus?

This concept has been present for some time now it is not a recent invention. This is the latest theme within this conceptual template.

The first vinyls of Der Zyklus released by Gigolo in the late 90's was electro beats-oriented. Why did you change a musical direction on "Biometry"?

The Biometric theme required a different technical perspective and the science of biometry stimulated the musical electronics. The music reflects concept of biometry.

How did look your work on music for "Biometry": were it a rapid eruptions of inspiration or a slow experiments with sounds?

There is no single method for music development everything is considered. Whatever instigates the musical idea will be considered its stimulant. There is no formula or rectrictions on methodology. Musical creation should always be free of contraints.

Are there any elements of laboratories researches in your work in studio?

Electronic music is based on science and the scientific method is utilized in its creation. Theories and hypothesis are put forth and if they are practical and plausible they will tested to verify them. Some theories work and some don't, but no theory is considered too abstract. All is considered. The more radical the better.

How long lasts work on music for "Biometric"?

There was no time frame in which work had to be completed,when the concept is comprehensive then it is considered complete. Time tables are not a part of our working ethos.

Why did you concentrate on "Biometric" on experiments with rhythm structures?

There are rhythms throughout this work,everyone has a different perspective of what rhythm is. Percussion is not the only source of rhythm,waveforms are also rhythms. Patterns that repeat themselves is rhythm. No certain sound or percussive element is exclusively a rhythm, every element produces its own rhythm.

Some parts of "Biometric" sounds like avant-garde classic modern music. Did you find any inspiration in this style during your work?

Actually the enviornment is the fundemental inspiration for a musical work and this embraces everything, sound, science, social structure etcetera. Inspiration has no boundries.

What is so fascinating for you in science?

Well science is a body of knowledge that mankind has accumulated over the ages about the natural world,the greater universe. We use this knowledge to gain command over nature for the progress and benefit of the human race. Science is imperative for our survival and progress, so I would not say its facinating but more essential.

Is science a kind of art?

To a certain extend you could say this. It takes skill and improvisation to unlock the hidden secrets of the natural world. Science has a beauty all its own. Science and art always interface to create something new and innovaitive. Take electronic music for instance, this is the perfect example of the science and art interface. The term art has many connotations.

What dangers do you see in progress of science and technics?

Science and technology are not perilous at all, its the people that control it that are dangerous. Atomic energy does not threaten our very existence its the powers that be and other subversive elements that make it threatening. We are our own worst enemy,not science and technology. People always fingerpoint inventions when their masters should be the ones that are singled out. Machines don't make decisions(at least not now)human beings do.

Pawel Gzyl
 

Gerald Donald production style

It struck me at the time of James Stinson's death that for years we had no idea who was behind Drexciya and suddenly we knew everything about him, from his name, his age, his job, even down to how many children he had. It just felt strange at last to know, but at such a price. At least this knowledge didn't spoil what he had created, the vision had been so full of detail and depth of thought, complete; the music timeless, often peerless.

It's also easy to forget in hindsight that he had a partner, equally as talented and very much alive and still creating his own mystiques to go with his own wide range of music. Somehow managing to explore the limits of electronic music and in parallel working within the conventions of electro, often bridging the two.

It would appear that it is reliable to identify this man as Gerald Donald aka Heinrich Muller, aka Dopplereffekt, aka Der Zyklus, aka Japanese Telecom, aka Arpanet, aka Glass Domain.
Unless he wants to explain himself it is impossible to know if some of these projects were under-taken in collaboration with Stinson or others. The female vocals on early Dopplereffekt stuff does of course point to one collaborator for certain.

I never wanted this site to be about solely the past, research goes on and Gerald Donald has more than proved himself worthy for further thought and study, his music and concepts have all the qualities that made Drexciya so interesting.

For now its worth teasing out the Drexciya tracks that bear the touch of Gerald Donald¡¯s production hand more firmly than usual and there are far more than you might think. Its a strange concept at first to listen to such a unique and original band as Drexciya and find yourself saying, ¡®Hey, that doesn't sound like Drexciya!¡¯, but there are some oddities, all pre 1996 which make you wonder. I've picked what I feel, in my opinion, are the most obvious ones because there are some borderline cases and hey, it is still all Drexciya music for sure but if you want to go a bit further in understanding the band I think its worth the effort.

1994¡¯s Drexciya 4: The Unknown Aqua Zone boasts three tracks that would have fit a Donald solo project. The primitive ¡®Aquabahn¡¯ with Donald on vocals would not have been out of place on the Glass Domain EP from 1991. And while ¡®Lardossen Funk¡¯ certainly sounds like a Drexciya track from the title, on listening it sounds more like an off-cut from the first Japanese Telecom album, a taste of things to come as Donald didn¡¯t start mining this seam till 1998. Lastly ¡®Take Your Mind¡¯, again with a Donald vocal, it sounds quite unlike Drexciya and more like another Glass Domain track.

It might be worth pointing out here while I am dealing with origins that the Drexciya blueprint can be found most fully realised on 'Radius of Infliction' on the L.A.M. Balance of Terror 12". Originally released on Detroits Hardwax label in 1992, which Stinson has referred to as the false start. There are plenty of other touches throughout this release that are recognisably Drexciya in waiting. Clone rereleased this in 2003 along with the already mentioned Glass Domain 12". Its illuminating to see Glass Domain solely credited to Heinrich Muller, meaning he was working independently even at this early stage. Its certainly a primitive production on the whole and bears little relation to Drexciya but does signal his future work with Dopplereffekt. The standout track being 'Interlock' and if you wanted to stretch it a bit maybe 'Shatter Prone' could be seen as an early template for the harder more dance floor driven Drexciya sound.

This isn't the definite article on the subject and of course is all just speculation but it's worth understanding how pre The Quest there was some crossover here and there. Hardly chinks in the armour but clues to the real people behind the mystique, which makes it more real if anything. Pretty much from when they came back in 1999 with Neptunes Lair, all through the Strom series to the end they managed to keep the music separate from Gerald Donalds solo productions and certainly different from everybody else. Although a little crossover did happen between Transllusion L.I.F.E. and the second Der Zyklus 12", which is really a subject for another day! I'll just get back to enjoying the music for now.

Gerald Donald





The latest Arpanet album, 'Quantum Transposition', is about to be released and if the advance press is to be believed we can expect its style to follow on in the same experimental manner as Dopplereffekt 'Linear Accelerator' and Der Zyklus 'Biometry'. It¡¯s all a long way from the more accessible ¡®Cellular Phone¡¯, ¡®Pornoviewer¡¯ or ¡®Speak & Spell¡¯. Certainly Gerald Donald has taken a quantum leap regarding his song writing template, so much so that he may not now even consider his compositions to have one. The Linear Accelerator album must have come as a real surprise to the fans. I was certainly taken aback but I quickly took it to heart because it was so the opposite of what I had expected that it made me even more curious about it than I might have been. It made me want to find a way in and now fits into my usual rotation of CDs with ease.
The fact that Donald has now taken three previously accessible projects into such a different musical realm shows how serious he is about following this line of thought and composition. What this means for the next Japanese Telecom is anyone¡¯s guess.

However, this should not have been such a surprise. With hindsight the most obvious flag to this new direction could be found way back in 1999 on the track ¡®Gesamtkunstwerk¡¯ on the compilation of the same name. This long brooding instrumental sounds nothing like anything that has gone before it and would not have sounded out of place 5 years later on Linear Accelerator. Presuming it had to be a new track it looks like Donald knew exactly where he was going next and this compilation was the perfect opportunity to wrap up his Dopplereffekt past and signal his own future direction. Of course he spent the next 4 - 5 years known for that early Dopplereffekt sound and even continued to produce it himself for a few more years. On the eve of the second Arpanet album it's worth pointing out that was it's predecessor 'Wireless Internet' (2002) that first signalled his future immersion in a specific scientific subject on his albums. But the music has not yet been affected by this transition. This probably was just that, a transitionary phase.

It¡¯s interesting that it took up to 7 or 8 years for Dopplereffekts music to reach a large audience, don¡¯t forget these tracks all originally came out in 1995. Most people only got to hear them in 1999 when the compilation came out and that was still years before the Electroclash scene really took off and every compilation had one of their tracks, if not two, alongside Miss Kitten and The Hacker et al. It¡¯s a real testament to how amazing those tracks are that they could stand up so well after such a long time and I believe still do and will continue to. One piece of trivia as far as compilations go was way back in 1997 The Advent included Porno Actress and Plastiphilia on their Konbination Phunk comp. But these are pacey re-edits by The Advent and the cut really is superior, so it¡¯s well worth tracking down. I can¡¯t help but wonder if some relationship developed between the two camps out of this as it was The Advents Kombination Research label that put out the Abstract Thought album.

The science lab artwork for the first 7¡± Superior Race(renamed as Master Organism for the comp) is so close to the posed shots of Linear Accelerator that it has to be an acknowledgement that this new sound was the fruition of what he had been aiming for at the beginning. All through Dopplereffekt there is a whole science theme, in the song titles, artwork and even their studio is referred to as Reactor Electronics Laboratory. There are other themes too like the more obvious facism and sex, but I guess the science has won out, for now. Taking the science theme to it's logical conclusion would mean that it would have to fully embrace the nature of the music and that is where we are today.

As far as collaborators on this stuff confusion reigns. If we go by the credits then Kim Karli is involved, to what extent beyond her vocals, we¡¯ll never know. William Scott may have been central or not, he¡¯s not credited at all on the Gigolo comp. Donald himself went through 2 pseudonyms as well, Rudolf Fisher and Rudolf Klorzeiger. If you look at the pictures of Kim Karli on the Dataphysix releases they don¡¯t match up with the girl pictured on the Gigolo comp, and she isn¡¯t credited here either, but To Nhan Le Thi is credited. At least this second girl does seem to match up with the one on the ¡®Linear Accelerator¡¯ cover, although no credits at all are listed here, not even a gratuitous Heinrich Muller!

Where next, can I see anymore clues? Well, I thought it was interesting that 'Linear Accelerator' got more accessible track by track. Most people would have sequenced it the opposite way, leaving that difficult 21 minute track till the end. It¡¯s telling that Gigolo picked the progressively more accessible second and third last tracks on the album for the 12¡±. So maybe that means a move away from such an experimental sound. I don¡¯t think we¡¯ll ever see a return to the original sound either, but something in-between. I think by the way that that word might seem to have been over used by me in describing this music but I think it might be exactly the right one judging by the science themes. Gerald Donald might well see these tracks as experiments, the best examples of things he cooked up in his recording laboratory.

 

Further Research

A commonality between the last three Gerald Donald solo projects was the listing of sources for further research on our part. Because the topics he is now dealing with are so large and specific and this will probably continue. So if you never got round to tapping in those addresses for yourselves or following up on those sources, here for your convenience are those links.

Arpanet - ¡®Wireless Internet¡¯ (Record Makers 2002)
While the very neat and innovative are-you-wireless.com website whose address was only listed in the accompanying 12¡± ¡®Are You Wireless?¡¯, is recently offline, probably for good (anyone got a cached version), the other link given at this time was for the Japanese electronic communications giant NTT DOCOMO. If you were curious about what¡¯s new in their product line and their latest innovations go to
http://www.nttdocomo.com/

Dopplereffekt - ¡®Linear Accelerator¡¯ (Gigolo 2003)
The two websites listed here in relation to sleeve images are both related to the same research company, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron. Their published work must have been a major source of information/inspiration for Donald at this time. Their websites helpfully have an English language option so you can read through their plenteous researches in particle physics, synchrotron radiation and accelerators.
http://www.desy.de/html/home/index.html
http://www-zeuthen.desy.de


Der Zyklus - ¡®Quantum Transposition¡¯ (Rephlex 2005)
Sounding more like another Donald alias, Anton Zeilinger is a professor of the Institute of Experimental Physics of the University of Vienna, Austria. Simply credited on the sleeve for providing images, there¡¯s little doubt that Donald is not unfamiliar with his work. I tracked down his own quite populously presented webpages which contain a selection of his papers and magazine articles.
http://www.quantum.univie.ac.at/zeilinger

 

Glass Domain

I wasn't sure initially how I should tackle the prodigious production output of the other half of Drexciya, mister Gerald Donald. I've already done two articles that I see now only really scrap the surface of this subject. To do his work justice and most fully understand the development of his production techniques, aesthetics and concept, not to mention his myriad alias and personas I feel a more methodical approach to his discography is what is required. So I will for the future be tackling all his work in order, beginning with the Glass Domain 12" of 1991.

Glass Domain turned out to be a one-off project by Gerald Donald that released just the one 12¡± in 1991 on his own label, Pornophonic Sound Disc, in an edition of 300 on both clear, transparent blue and even plain old black vinyl. When in 2003 Clone reissued it as a clear vinyl 12¡± it was credited to Heinrich Muller, an alias of his not used previous to 1999 when it began to appear on his releases as Der Zyklus. For now we'll just treat it as being anonymous beyond the artist name Glass Domain. But on the original it the artist credit does read ¡®English and Music by Glassware¡¯.
While Donalds main group Drexciya would go on to make their own vinyl debut in 1992, he and James Stinson are said to have been working together since 1989. The Glass Domain release must also have come out very close to Stinsons Clarence G 12¡±(see AKA article), which also turned out to be a one-off. Certainly a lot of releasable music could potentially have been made at this time both together and solo as they experimented in the studio and searched for their own sound. The temptation to put some of this stuff out, especially under a different name, would be great for anyone. They also would have got to learn the basics of record manufacture and the practical side of the distribution of the records for themselves which is an immensely valuable lesson, better to learn from your mistakes early on. It's also a great way to put yourself on the map so to speak, better than any demo tape. Maybe this is how Detroits Hardwax label became aware of them before they released their 12¡± as L.A.M. in 1992, another one-off, the final pre-Drexciya project.
Whether this or any of the other pre-Drexciya projects already mentioned are truly solo or not will never be known without confirmation from those involved, it's quite likely that at the very least they would have given each other feedback on what they thought of the others work and if they were sharing the same studio it would be hard to work in complete isolation. Basically these pre-Drexciya releases had to have been when they were in the learning process stage of making music and we should be grateful that it¡¯s possible to hear it.
So how does it sound? Of the four tracks here there is one, 'Interlock', that is as accomplished as Dopplereffekt would be a few years later, the rest all have their own charm and certainly work for me but are quite primitive on the production side.'Shatter Prone' kicks things off and boasts a pretty insistent and severe locked groove with a playful stop-start ending. It reminds me of something off the more hard edged L.A.M. release. 'Hiccups' is a riot of weird sounds with a youthful sounding vocal, but still I feel it is more than likely by Donald(the identity of whoever does the vocals throughout the EP is up for debate), which goes, "I've got the hiccups, can I have a glass of water?" Real hiccups get used as percussion and a variety of vocalisations are all added to the mix. The beats are spare as is the bass line but it's a more fun track compared to the opener. Musically side two is the most interesting. The first track here is 'Fairy' which again has a vocal that Donald obviously had a lot of fun triggering at varying settings, "Guess what, I came out of the closet". A kind of descending melody carries the track. I read somewhere that this was a reference to an unnamed Detroit producer that had himself come out of the closet around this time. I'm not sure of the veracity of this claim but I repeat it here only as a possible explanation for the subject matter. I'd like to think no harm was meant by it, but to be fair, calling a track 'Fairy' which has that topic is to court controversy. Maybe Donald wished to simply wind people up with it, to get a reaction or over-reaction as the case may be but we could take this as the first minor signal of things to come as Donald would soon progress to flirting with Nazi imagery and more.
The best track reveals itself to be the final one, 'Interlock'. With programming of a quality that would later appear in Drexciya this is a well judged mid tempo track that glides along in near perfection. The vocal is about building with Lego and goes more or less, "Snap the pieces together, all shapes and sizes, you can create your imagination, you can build automobiles" with "Lego Blocks" as a chorus.The run out groove on the original pressing contains quite a bit of revealing information. On side A we get, 'The power of Scientific Application.' which shows the germination of his science theme to be followed up by Dopplereffekt and right up till today. The second side is total Dopplereffekt in full 'Plasiphilia/Pornoactress¡¯ mode with 'Nymphocaust will free the world of consecrated holy minded fools, The pentagram will grace the forehead of the beautiful nymph.¡¯ This word play on Holocaust also betrays his soon to be revealed interest in Nazism not to mention an anti-clerical stance he has yet to fully explore! Also the name of his label puts this side of Dopplereffekt in mind. Certainly on this evidence the EP is bursting with idea¡¯s and future conceptual directions, even if some are quite juvenile on the surface.The title Glass Domain is suitably abstract and coldly European sounding to fit with someone who would soon go on to prove to have a fascination with both Kraftwerk and Germany. Or it could just be a neat play on his G. D. initials. There isn't however a whole lot for him to work with from this name concept-wise so that might be why it was overtaken by the Dopplereffekt project.
Influence wise on this EP the Kraftwerk thing is not so obvious, perhaps you could say it owes something more to Juan Atkins Cybertron, although by now that would have been 10 years ago. I guess its the sound of what it is, a novice making electronic music in the early nineties, technology by then as now having made it possible that it could have come from anywhere, regional sounds quickly becoming obsolete as the rest of the world caught up, sound more dependent on someone¡¯s diet of music and imagination. Harder to be original and stay original for sure, but somehow Donald would manage this feat in Drexciya and did so again I believe in his own work.
 

Fascist State

Dopplereffekt became the third Gerald Donald related offshoot to Drexciya in 1995 when their 'Fascist State' mini album/EP came out. There was also a 7¡± included in initial pressings that included the same versions of ¡®Superior Race¡¯ and ¡®Cellular Phone¡¯ that appeared on the album. Perhaps this was also available to buy separately also at the time? The band membership is listed in the artwork as being Rudolf Klorzeiger, Kim Karli and William Scott. First off, Rudolf Klorzeiger is an alias for Donald, his first of many to date, Kim Karli appears as herself and is responsible for the sole female vocal on this release, William Scott is a bit of a mystery, the name not sounding made up or an obvious alias so I would guess its means there were at least three people involved in this record. What each of them did however will remain a mystery, I wouldn't presume anything regarding them and certainly not the common assertion that Donald did all the production himself. If we have learned anything from studying Drexciya we should know that an equal emphasis there was put on concept so perhaps the credits reflect this here as well. I¡¯m sure they all did their bit behind the scenes to bring this very fully realised project to fruition.

Just prior to this time Donald would have been working with Brendan M Gillen of Ectomorph as Flexitone and released seven tracks in all under this name during 1995 over two 12¡± and v/a compilations. He may also have been involved with the very beginnings of Ectomorph itself during this period. I¡¯m skipping over this brief phase for now, it doesn¡¯t really reveal too about Gerald Donald beyond his growing production prowess.

Of the 7 tracks on ¡®Fascist State¡¯ only two have a substantial vocal, most notably ¡®Scientist¡¯ which would 4 years later reappear as a single on Gigolo. This vocal is Kim¡¯s only obvious contribution to this record which if you only know the 1999 ¡®Gesamtkunstwerk¡¯ compilation comes as something of a shock. But even there she only appears on all of three tracks, but because of how effective her vocals are she has become in our minds an integral part of this period of the band. Due to the subject matter on ¡®Scientist¡¯ her delivery is in this case simply detached, yet to become sexily detached as it would on their next release. But when this happened she would become the template for so many female electro vocalists with possibly only Miss Kittin emerging from her shadow with anything of her own style.

While musically on this release Dopplereffekt sound very unlike Drexciya they do share their minimal but effective production technique. The opening ¡®Cellular Phone¡¯ has a deep bass drum sound as its most prominent feature in the mix with the only variation to its looping pattern being a simple breakdown and the odd subtle noise appearing throughout amid the myriad computer sound effects. But from these simple ingredients a powerful alchemy takes place that is at once ahead of its time and out of time. Its no surprise that all of this 1995 Dopplereffekt material would only really break through to the wider public consciousness on countless mix CDs and compilations during the popularity of new electro in 1999 thanks to people like Dave Clarke and The Advent and again in its rebirth as electroclash in 2001 which itself survives in pockets in relatively good health today. Dopplereffekt were certainly ahead of their time in this respect and were in the short term arguably more influential than Drexciya.

¡®Technic 1200¡¯ is another instrumental, this time built around an angular bass line but with a sharper snare drum sound than the previous track. The only vocal here is a disembodied sample saying the title over and over at the end and once during the track. ¡®Scientist¡¯ is preceded by a minute of electronic burbles which sound like a machine slowly coming to, a dislocated rhythm does become noticeable by its close. "Sitting in a laboratory, conducting experiments, analysing date, I am a scientist," chants the more human side to Dopplereffekt, Kim Karli. This is also the only Kraftwerk like number both in production and style of delivery of the vocal. I say style as the female vocal of Kim Karli is very unkraftwerk. For me my favourite track is ¡®Rocket Scientist¡¯, great production all round, totally alien but appealing. Its interesting that they now thematically refine their emphasis on scientists to ones of the rocket variety. What type of rocket scientist might they be referring? Well the title of the next track gives us one of the clues, ¡®Superior Race¡¯ or ¡¯Master Organism¡¯ as it would become when included in their ¡®Gesamtkunswerk¡¯ compilation 4 years later. The ¡®Fascist State¡¯ title itself leads us to the conclusion they are probably Nazi V2 rocket scientists. More on this subject later.

Satellites keeps the science theme going to an extent with a male vocal, probably Donald, ¡°Satellites hovering over the Earth¡±. The sheer thrill and fun of the lyrics to ¡®Plastiphilia¡¯, ¡° I want to fuck a mannequin. I want to make love to a mannequin, I want to fuck it, I want to suck it¡± are offset by the fairly sparse production, which still works beautifully and the short length of the track, at just over two minutes. On the compilation the spelling gets changed to Plasiphilia, hey, if your making up words you get to second guess your own spelling!

Concept wise from their inception till today Dopplereffekt are all about science. The artwork of the DIY style 7" pushes the science theme to the max with a photo of Kim Karli in classic white coat laboratory action pose, pre-empting the cover of Linear Accelerator by almost 10 years, and the members get listed as science officers as well as the studio being dubbed as Reactor Engineering. Also, as a side point, the spelling of 'Superior Race' on the 7"is in what looks to me like Russian. The label name, Dataphysix Engineering, also ties in with the subject. Even the name Dopplereffekt ties the whole concept up perectely. The word means the apparent change in frequency or wavelength of a wave that is perceived by an observer moving relative to the source of the waves. An example would be of how your perception of sound changes when listening to an approaching ambulance siren. 'Scientist' and 'Satellites' had simple black and white video's made for them which appear to have come from the band themselves. Both are included in the very entertaining 2005 International DeeJay Gigolo Records 'Freak Show' DVD which credits 'music and video by Dataphysix'. Both Donald and Karli feature in both films alongside stills of a mostly scientific nature. In 'Scientist' they pose in lab coats and eye protectors in a science lab somewhere and for 'Satellites' can be seen fingering large mobile phones while dressed in black. Their both very low budget jobs but intriguing and compelling which very much fits the mystery aspect of their aesthetic.

If
the one recurring theme conceptually with Drexciya was that Man was somehow lost and that the only reasonable action in this knowledge was an evolutionary quest/ journey home towards an inner peace within ourselves as realised in both The Quest and Storm series of records then perhaps we should be studying Donald's work for the same theme. If we do I think we can see him tackling the same concept but coming at it from a very different angle. There are no Dopplereffekt 1995 era interviews to my knowledge but it's obvious from the records that he has put his faith in science. Of course Drexciya themselves had this side to them as well but it was more than balanced out by a broader personal philosophy. With Donald, especially during Dopplereffekt, there isn¡¯t much philosophy going on. From this point in his life I believe Donald could actually see the potential for a future paradise through science, that Mans salvation/future depended on it. Of course he could have come to this idea collectively with the other members but I think if we look at his later work it's more likely that this is his own opinion. The only major problem I have with his concept at this stage is in the way he explores it by flirting with Nazi imagery. Without interviews or commentary it¡¯s hard to know for sure if he¡¯s being ironic or serious. What exactly an African American could find so enthralling in this subject might be answered if it was just an outgrowing of his obvious interest in Kraftwerk and their homeland. There are still traces of this today, the alias Donald seems to have settled on is Heinrich Muller, the un-captured head of the Gestapo. Lets think about this whole fascist/science thing a bit more closely. In a fascist state if science was put at the top of the public agenda we could be making more breakthroughs and also quickly imposing change resulting from these discoveries on the populous. If this happened to be a benevolent dictatorship (if this is even possible, there would always be someone opposed to it) this would all be for the good but in the case of Nazi Germany you had a war thrown into the mix and a dictatorship that was not for all of its people. There is a Donald quote from 2002 where he speaks about the evolution of science and technology and its effect on Man, ¡°Well in this world either you move forward or you perish. American auto giants had more human concerns than practical ones. Automation is precise and does not require medical benefits or paid vacations. Sometimes you have to make harsh choices and ultimate sacrifices to sustain life. These are the laws of nature and natural selection." This is a very tough Nietzschnean outlook, a philosopher the Nazi¡¯s were influenced by but largely misunderstood. I guess it shows that he ultimately cares about human survival as a species, he¡¯s just more accepting of the good and the bad parts, a realist. He doesn¡¯t turn away from the dark aspects of progress through science, although celebrating them might be going a bit too far in my book. Mind you, Donald is not the first person to successfully mix this imagery with music, David Bowie, Marylin Manson and Joy Division come most readily to mind and he won¡¯t be the last. There is I'll agree an attractive thrill to it, which Donald no doubt felt and understood himself, but that would go for flirting with any taboo, but once you examine the subject it soon leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The surprising thing is I¡¯m not aware of any uproar this may have caused, of course its all too underground to really matter to the mainstream but even within its community it doesn¡¯t seem to have caused controversy. I always felt he was wise not to have done any interviews at this time as he couldn¡¯t really have defended his position without condoning aspects of Nazism, maybe he quite happily would have?

Here on ¡®Cellular Phone¡¯ he is already on the track that would lead towards the themes of his Japanese Telecom project and even the first Arpanet album, ¡®Wireless Internet¡¯. One theme he has largely left behind since 1998 is sex, or more precisely, simulated sex. There could be a whole thesis in his take on this subject alone, anyone for ¡®Sex in a world without biological contact¡¯. Donald might simply here be acknowledging the bleak future that awaits us in the realm of love once science takes over. By the time these tracks had been collected for the compilation he had come up with the phrase ¡®Biological Socialism Leads Towards Victory¡¯. Victory at the price of human contact yes but that appears to be a price Donald is willing to accept if it means the ultimate survival of the species. This acceptance of science at all costs concept will be key to understanding the remainder of his body of work to date. This final quote from Donald elaborates once again on this point but squarely puts the blame on Man for the bad aspects of science and technology, ¡°Well science is a body of knowledge that mankind has accumulated over the ages about the natural world, the greater universe. We use this knowledge to gain command over nature for the progress and benefit of the human race. Science is imperative for our survival and progress, so I would not say its fascinating but more essential. Science and technology are not perilous at all, it¡¯s the people that control it that are dangerous. Atomic energy does not threaten our very existence it¡¯s the powers that be and other subversive elements that make it threatening. We are our own worst enemy, not science and technology.¡±
 

Infophysix


Dopplereffekts second EP/mini album was 'Infophysix' and again like its predecessor came out in 1995 on their own Dataphysix label. The fact that the title should be such a clear restatement of the label name is interesting. These two made up words I would take to mean a kind of new physics based purely on provable information/data. If this is true it all sounds a bit too organised, surely more breakthroughs in science come from accidents and intuitions. For example Neils Bohr and his peers would often leave their laboratories and take long walks in the countryside when this brand of inspiration would hit. But I can also see the logic in following pure data even if it is a colder and more sterile way of doing things and when you think about it this is exactly the option that Dopplereffekt are following and espousing themselves, increasingly so today.

In my article on ¡®Fascist State¡¯ I concentrated more on their philosophy and as far as influences went just mentioned Kraftwerk in passing. Now there is no doubt that Gerald Donald and his cohorts here have a thing for that massively influential Dusseldorf group but there is another act that should be considered as a possible influence as well. Yellow Magic Orchestra are often described in classically lazy hackneyed journalise as the Japanese Kraftwerk and in a sense this is perfectly true in that they were each others peers at the time and but only YMO managed to fuse their own countries ethnic music with their own contemporary sound. They were also very ahead of their time. To someone like Donald this must have sounded like something right up his alley and if you get to hear their music I think you¡¯ll agree that its rough, song based production bears something of a resemblance to 1995 era Dopplereffekt. Donald would of course go on to express his fascination with Japanese technology on his Japanese Telecom project, which has even more of a YMO influence, in 1998 but even by this point he had shown signs of an interest in Japanese culture when it was more than likely he who referenced the Japanese film ¡®Nauticaa¡¯ during his Flexitone grouping with Brendan M Gillen. Personally I find Dopplereffekt music unique enough and certainly more than the sum of its influences but like everything it must take its place in history. If you think about it the biggest influence on electronic music is really by the innovators of electronic instruments and software and it is within this sphere that history truly dictates where music belongs. Basically, there was never going to be a band that sounded exactly like Dopplereffekt in the 1970¡¯s.

I would say there is a good chance that all of the material on this and ¡®Fascist State¡¯ could well have been recorded around the same time and just compiled onto two different releases. There is a sameness to the overall production and vibe, plus they both would have come out within months of each other. But who knows? The personnel details are different here in that William Scott¡¯s contribution is now downgraded to that of liaison, of course by the ¡¯Gesamkunswerk¡¯ comp he would not be mentioned at all! Donald again uses his Rudolf Klorzeiger alias and Kim Karli is also listed. The artwork pushes the scientific aspect of recording I guess you could say, there's a sort of schematic for an ENIAC device. This is a reference to the very first computer system, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer which was built in 1942 by the U.S. army for the purpose of calculating ballistic firing tables. With this in mind it shouldn¡¯t be so hard to understand why Donald is so accepting of the negatives as well as the positives of the computer age.
There¡¯s also a black and white snap of a seated Donald with Kim in a more subservient position to him on the floor. Donald sports a blankly serious expression while Kim goes for a to the side preoccupied look. Both are wearing white shirts with black ties and trousers. Kim might even be wearing black gloves too. Of course this is significant in that the mask of their identities is being removed but if there were not to be any interviews I guess this photo is calculated to make us even more intrigued. Although you would have to wonder who was at the end of the line if you used the phone or fax numbers which are included as well. I once spoke with Dan Bell who explained that his label Accelerate actually manufactured the Dataphysix stuff and I presume distributed it as well so maybe the numbers would be for their office.

Musically we have seven tracks beginning with ¡®Voice Activated¡¯. Their usual sparse production greets us along with the core sample, ¡®That is incorrect, try again¡¯. I presume this is the actual voice from the famous children¡¯s educational toy ¡®Speak and Spell¡®. If it is I think this early computerised toy was used most famously in the film E.T., so I¡¯m guessing that makes it an early 80¡¯s invention, here reclaimed by Dopplereffekt as a classic future retro artefact. There is also a certain looseness in the production too, the pause at the 1min 40sec mark is evidence of this. ¡®Speak & Spell¡¯ is built around a disjointed vocal sample and even features the ¡®That is incorrect¡¯ sample last heard on the preceding track. It¡¯s also full of weird random laser gun and retro computer sounds as well. This track also has a point where the sound drops out completely, another sign of their confidence in their production. ¡®Denki No Zumo¡¯ sounds the most Kraftwerky of the lot, it also has a sample that uses what could be a close game-based cousin to ¡®Speak & Spell¡¯. ¡°Here is your score, six correct, four wrong¡±, ¡°That is in-correct¡±, ¡°That is correct¡±, ¡°I win¡±, ¡°You win¡± run the samples. These are probably the only things the game said but they all get a hearing here. ¡®Die Radiometre¡¯ or simply ¡®Radiometer¡¯ when it appeared on the ¡®Gesamtkunstwerk¡¯ compilation turns out to be a sturdy instrumental with some nice sounds and throughout but with nothing remarkable about it. ¡®Pornoactress¡¯ is probably the best known Dopplereffekt track, a duet of sorts between Donald and Kim. His line, ¡°Watching you on the screen¡¯ hers, ¡°I want to be a porno star¡¯. The pause she uses between this delivery is everything and somehow contains the essence of what separates them from their imitators. Hard to believe this slice of perfection is just under 2 and a half minutes long! But in saying all that I would have to plumb for ¡®Infophysix¡¯ as my favourite track here. A computerised female voice asks us to ¡°Enter you four digit code¡± which is answered by a male voice saying what sounds like ¡°Information¡±. This track to me sounds the most interesting and modern production out of everything here. You can hear Donald¡¯s future for the next few years in it, very 2002 era Arpanet and like a lot of his late 90¡¯s remix work. The tempo is quite jaunty, so many expert touches, great bass line, weirdly stretched synthesised guitar, basically the template is complete. The last few stripped down seconds contain another essential part of their essence as well.
¡®Pornovision¡¯ or ¡®Pornoviewer¡¯ as it was re-titled on the compilation has Kim doing a solo vocal which turns out to be just the one line, ¡°I love to watch, pornographic movies.¡± Again notice the nicely judged delivery, the pause is all. It has to be said over her three featured songs with Dopplereffekt she manages to nail them all. I don¡¯t know if there is any other female vocalist that could claim to have done so little so effectively. It¡¯s hard to believe then that on the Video Mix of her other finest 3 minutes, ¡®Scientist¡¯, her vocal is actually cut! A busy production all round with a somewhat sudden end and time-wise another short one to finish out the release but who needs length when the quality is this good?

I would say that conceptually the release is very much about play with side one being of the more innocent variety and side two exploring the link between technology and sex. This does tie in with the theme of accepting the good and bad aspects of technology, of which I believe Donald sees neither. More information and data is all, consequences are secondary to progress. Even though my analysis of Dopplereffekt sounds a bit dry and serious at the end of the day there is a lot of unmistakable humour running throughout their music of this era.

Sterilization/Gesamtkunswerk

The third Dopplereffekt 12" was 'Sterilization' which came out as usual on their own label, Dataphysix, sometime in 1997. Coming 2 years after their initial burst of creativity which spawned their first 2 EPs it's rather surprising that they only bring two very similar mixes of the same track to the table after this long lay off. Of course this could itself be a leftover from 1995. Not that any of this early period of Dopplereffekt sounds in anyway dated, as already discussed elsewhere, and this track is no exception. It's just that in releasing one track they have to be making some kind of statement with it. So obviously we need to examine the subject matter to find out what it is.

Which is difficult or perhaps not so as the sole lyric goes, "We had to sterilise the population." I feel a strong urge to put an exclamation point at the end of that line, as if it was being said ironically or for shock value but really it's a hard one to call and I don't personally believe that the author would agree so I will leave it's intent hanging ambiguously. Luckily they expand somewhat on this theme with the line ¡®Racial Hygiene and Selective Breeding¡¯ on the label. Of course it¡¯s a Nazi thing, sadly, laid bare this time with nothing else to balance it out. I have it on very good authority that the original artwork for this 12¡± also featured a prominent swastika on the label which were even printed up but left unattached when it was realised that this is a banned symbol in Germany which was one of Dopplereffekts biggest markets at the time. Some evidence of this change of mind can be seen in the choice of apparel sported by Gerald Donald's very Kraftwerk-esq robot pose, the blacked out square on his brown shirt collar hides an SS insignia to match his brown shirt and tie. Interestingly the Clone website use the original untouched photo of this for their Der Zyklus artist profile which clearly shows the insignia. In the previous two articles, using quotes of his from the recent past, I put this fascination with Nazism down to his obvious acceptance of progress, you could even call it evolution, at any costs, an extreme sort of honesty to the situation. Staying in the same territory you could use the example of those Nazi doctors and scientists which suddenly became prized possessions to the Allied forces after World War Two. I think Donald would ask us what benefits did we gain from this but more importantly would we reject these benefits, especially if it meant saving our lives, or even just making them slightly easier? He might feel we are all complicit in the most atrocious of acts by not doing so. He might want us to at least consider this. If I was being very open minded and giving him the full benefit of the doubt I could see this period as Donald first making the point of assuaging any guilt he may feel connected to the onward march of science before fully embracing it as he would later on and up to today. Now I don¡¯t know if that is what he was actually doing, as I said before he could just be thoughtlessly flirting with these very powerful images as many have before but he could on the other hand be seen to be coming across as a particularly honest type, if a little extreme in his methods. Hopefully it did make people question and debate it and perhaps this was their intention after all. So if this is their statement it is one final stare into the face of the cold harsh reality of progress, if we accept the good we must also accept the bad, no matter how debased aspects of it undoubtedly are.

The persona¡¯s they take on for this release are predictably Germanic, Rudolf Fisher for Donald, Helena Eichmann for Kim Karli but their most enigmatic member, William Scott, is the exception being listed as himself. Special thanks is given to Doug Wagner which I am hoping is his real name and not a reference to Hitler¡¯s favourite composer and the more innocuous sounding Sana Schuton. If you think you¡¯ve seen the female mannequin pictured beside Donald on the label before well it bears a striking resemblance to the one on the label for Ultradyne¡¯s 2004 12¡° ¡®The Privilege of Sacrifice¡¯. I¡¯m sure they won¡¯t thank me for dragging them into such confusing waters but check out the likeness, if it is the same then these friends don¡¯t mind sharing their mannequins! Perhaps this image would have fitted better on the previous 'Fascist State' EP and its infamous mannequin themed track 'Plasiphilia'. Musically 'Sterilization' itself is a strong and memorable track but also short at just under the 2 and a half minute mark, but of course it's quality not quantity that counts. Mix 2 is such a slight variation it is no wonder it was not included on the standard CD version of the 1999 ¡®Gesamtkunswerk¡¯ compilation which is our next port of call. There was however a bonus 7" on Gigolo's original double vinyl edition which contains both versions of 'Sterilization' for good measure.

The German word ¡®Gesamtkunstwerk¡¯ fittingly means complete art work or total work of art or simply in this context, compilation, and a deal was struck for all the material of the three EP¡¯s to date and one new extra track to be included here and released on the French label Source for the territories of France, the UK and Ireland, and with DJ Hells German based International Deejay Gigolo Records for everywhere else. To help promote the album a second time Gigolo produced a 10¡± in 2001 which paired the original version of ¡®Scientist¡¯ with its video mix on the flip, there was also a 12" version which confusingly had the same tracks. As mentioned previously the big difference in this version is that Kim Karli¡¯s essential vocal is cut. Just previous to this Gigolo had marked it's first release involving Gerald Donald by putting out the first Der Zyklus 12" in 1998. They would go on to work extensively together over the coming years and were arguably the label that made his name, or that of his aliases, in Europe and the World. Surprisingly even this early connection with Source would continue up to today as Record Makers which put out the first and third Arpanet albums is one of their sub-labels.

Some striking artwork and the definitive Dopplereffekt pose of this period were contained in the artwork for this release. In the text they also very cleverly balance their previous German totalitarian stance with an equally totalitarian but crucially Communist version. The statement here reads 'Biological Socialism Leads Towards Victory.' So here they are four years later managing the tricky feat of putting a new but subtle spin on their previous stance. The small hammer and sickle logo and soviet star works really well on the black and white cover but these are still the symbols of the enemy, but an old one. Old or not they were still ultimately responsible for even more deaths than the Nazis over a period which stretched long after the war. From what we know of Dopplereffekt it would have seemed more likely of them to have used a swastika, if they had been allowed that is. What would our opinion have been of that? Would I still be saying how brilliantly it works on a design level? While the Russian symbols have successfully been reduced to the level of kitsch over time the other is still potent and liable to inflame opinion. Maybe they were even consciously making a point about this very double standard?

I¡¯ve written before about the identity of the female who does not seem to match up with the girl seen in artwork previously but she does seem to be the same girl featured on the next Dopplereffekt album, 2003's ¡®Linear Accelerator¡¯. The identity of the girl who played live with Arpanet in Paris in June 2006 would also be interesting to know, the same? Personnel credits here read in lower case as Rudolf Klorzeiger and To Nhan Le Thi, the latter being Vietnamese, which also nicely refers to a Communist backed country, the northern half anyway. The black and white photo of the group make them look like members of a clandestine political party where the individual, both male and female, is nothing. They both wear black suit, shirt and tie, their faces dramatically illuminated from below, which at a glance makes Donald appear weirdly caucasian. The Russian and Chinese flags which hover above their heads dominate however and what they symbolise in this context is brought into focus. The ideology is all, it¡¯s adherents anonymous, only working for the good of the collective.

I've written previously about the sole new unreleased track here, 'Gesamtkunswerk,' and how it prefigures the future experimental Dopplereffekt sound which they explored more fully on 'Linear Accelerator' and beyond. This slowly uncoiling 6 minutes of sound is evidence that they knew exactly where they were going next with this project, even if the first fruits of this thinking would only be revealed to the public 4 years later.
Again as already discussed the music here stands up so well today never mind four years later, this is well ahead of the curve and set the standards for a time, helping to inspire more than a few musicians and even genre¡¯s along the way. The revival must be just around the corner! It must be creatively, not to mention financially, reassuring that this small but influential body of work is money in the bank (no doubt in small amounts) for its creators for years to come. For evidence of this check out the huge on-going list of compilations this stuff has been licensed to at their Discogs page.
An old email address for Dataphysix is listed here, telecom@scientist.com, of course telecom would very much turn out to be a key word in the years to come as both his debut Arpanet project and also the name of the soon to be Japanese Telecom.

The period of Dopplereffekt so neatly and conveniently compiled on ¡®Gesamtkunswerk¡¯ is so different from what came next that with hindsight it was essential to separate it as distinct and now extinct. It can certainly be said that they really achieved something laudable and impressive in this compact body of work which a lot of other artists could take a lesson from. They could have signed a major deal and possibly cleaned up if they had wanted to pursue money and fame, but of course this does not appear to be in their nature. I see The Hacker and Miss Kitten as having travelled further along this road, check out their ¡®First Album¡¯, itself on Gigolo, to see how this template would become more mainstream if still largely remaining underground. Their choice to take a break and change direction did not happen overnight and this is where my gradual approach to the work of Gerald Donald will hopefully spotlight and help us to better understand the essential twists and turns he takes which lead up to today, as we have seen by this time he was already on his way.
 

Der Zyklus I and the birth of Heinrich Mueller

Late 1996 early 1997 marks the close of the active production side of Dopplereffekt mark 1 and also roughly coincides with the release of the final Drexciya 12", ¡®Uncharted¡¯, before their own hiatus. This period would have given Gerald Donald plenty of time to begin to conceive of what his own next move would be and begin anew his experimentations in his Reaktor studio. He certainly didn't hang around as by 1998 his debut 12" as Der Zyklus was released. Not being a fluent German speaker I came up with two possible translations, one being the more obvious The Cycle, or the far more subtle, Termination Cycle. I'm sure it won't be long before some DRL reader settles this one and when that happens I will appropriately amend this piece.

On one level Donald here gets to indulge his German fetish to the max with this untitled 12¡±, although it would become known as ¡®Der Zyklus I¡¯ once its follow up was titled as ¡®Der Zyklus II¡¯. The artwork here solely consists of a label, and I mean that in the singular as it is the same one used for both sides of this increasingly enigmatic release. Apart from an inexplicable ¡®Made in Germany¡¯ there are only German words used throughout, right down to the listing of the Gigolo ¡®Phax¡¯ machine number, even the usual copyright sentence which runs in the traditional circular fashion around the edge of the label is in German which I¡®ve never seen done before even on a Gigolo record. Strangely, the follow up, also on Gigolo, had this legend back in English. Perhaps he was excited that this new label that wanted to work with him was German and that he could now so easily present himself as a totally German looking act that he just found it all too tempting not to. Anyway, this release is very much about detail so we must therefore look even closer at it than usual, which I always do anyway!

On the ¡®Seite Eins¡¯ side we have the lead track ¡¯Der Tonimpulstest¡¯(Tone Impulse Test). We also get some quite detailed writing and production credits to help us out but not before we translate them. ¡®Abgemischt von (mixed by): Heinrich Mueller und Anthony Shakir. Aufnahmeteildienste (something like recording facility): Reaktor und Blackploit.¡¯ To give have I believe is the full picture for the origination of both of these tracks I will continue on with the credits listed for track 2, ¡®Die Dammerung Von Nanotech¡¯ (The Dawn of Nano-technology), on ¡®Seite Zwei¡¯. ¡®Alle Stucke gestchrieban und produziert von (written and production by) Rudolf Klorzeiger. Spezieller Dank an (special thanks to) Herrn Geier & Eschker, which might be a thank you regarding equipment like the previous Dopplereffekt credit on ¡®Sterilization¡¯, but who knows. So it looks like Gerald Donald is being a trifle playful or schizophrenic with us by using both of his pseudonyms at the same time. If Donald or even Gigolo were concerned that this release might appear as almost too anonymous for potential fans to notice perhaps the reference to Dopplereffekt¡¯s Rudolf Klorzeiger would assure them of the true identity and what they might expect. Perhaps also, strictly speaking Donald may have felt that the tracks when written and produced did belong to his previous persona but by the time they were finally mixed he had by then become Heinrich Mueller. Certainly one of the tracks, ¡®Der Tonimpulstest¡¯, if not both, had an extended birth by being run through the machines at Anthony Shakir¡¯s Blackploit studio before being deemed complete. As a side point, it was probably an oversight but when this track was reissued as a 12¡± which compiled 4 tracks from Der Zyklus I & II by Frustrated Funk in 2006 it did not credit Shakir at all. But this isn¡¯t really surprising. As another side point perhaps Martin Matiske when titling his Heinrich Mueller indebted Blackploid project, whose 12¡± also confusingly came out on Frustrated Funk in 2006, he came across the word Blackploit referring to Shakir¡®s studio, if true then he¡¯s even ripping off Mueller¡¯s small print as well as his music! I actually really like Martin¡¯s stuff, if your gonna plagiarise, plagiarise the best.

I suppose I should really explain for anyone who doesn¡¯t know who Anthony 'Shake' Shakir actually is. One of Detroit¡¯s 1st generation techno legends, although he didn¡¯t really make an impact as a solo artist until 1992, which sort of makes him 2nd generation, regardless he had been involved on the periphery of the scene since the early days, having a big hand in Octave One¡¯s classic ¡®I Believe¡¯ in 1989 for example. He is popularly known as someone ahead of their time that doesn¡¯t really get the credit he deserves and that is probably a fair enough assessment. He does have a reputation as a collaborator also, having worked both professionally and musically with Claude Young, Keith Tucker and Daniel Bell, not to mention his extensive remix work so perhaps its no big surprise that he should work with Donald, even though he appears to have taken quite a minimal role but respect is due. At some point he tragically contracted Multiple Sclerosis. I only mention this because I did meet him once when he played a DJ set in about 2001 I think (I was detailed by my mate the promoter to drive him back to his hotel) and at that time he was walking with the aid of a stick or some sort of crutch. Thankfully he is still with us, but up to date information on him I found is hard to track down on the net, but I can remember his set on the night being superb, very tasteful and in person he was very approachable and friendly. For more on ¡®Shake¡¯ follow the links at foot of article.

Musically it appears most obviously that Donald has jettisoned any recognisably human element on these two tracks as no vocals are present. Both tracks have equally fast tempo¡¯s and are very short tracks to boot, ¡®Der Tonimpulstest¡¯ only reaches the 3 minute mark while the other doesn¡¯t even make that. Now while this does tally with the Dopplereffekt model on the vinyl if you look at the gap between the grooves for ¡®Die Dammerung Von Nanotech¡¯ you can see a lot of open space between them. Both sides are also cut at 45rpm as well so it starts to comes across as a real decadent artefact, no value for money here, which is a statement in itself, but luckily is not a case of style over content. Also this is a sign that the quality of the pressing/cut is at issue with this artist, a sign that he takes sound very seriously. In fact because the follow up would be a more conventional 4 track 12¡± this debut has all the hallmarks of an aesthetic statement of intent, in a perfect world he would probably have liked to continue on like this but it¡¯s the music business at the end of the day and it needs to turn a profit. I would also not discount the possibility that his unusual demands for this release were a test for Gigolo to see how seriously they would treat Donald¡¯s work and his demands in the future. If so they must have passed as they would soon have a history together stretching up to 2003. Will there be more?

¡®Der Tonimpulstest¡¯ opens and closes with what sounds like an audio identification signature, another sign of an attention to detail where the quality of sound is concerned. This track is the more Dopplereffekt of the two and would not have seemed out of place there, the only difference being that it is a little bit more minimal and is of a higher tempo than it. It has a nice eerie keyboard pattern which is of course one of his signatures, but this is the first time he uses it. The pace is relentless with only a slight breakdown but it does have a playful ending which could be argued balances out its rigid structure. This is robot disco of the most barren kind. Of the two ¡®Die Dammerung Von Nanotech¡¯ is the most obviously other or new sounding. If Shakir did have any production input it might have been on this one but it¡¯s hard to tell without knowing for sure. Certainly this track would not have sat too comfortably amongst the running order of the following years ¡®Gesamtkunserk¡¯ compilation of Dopplereffekt material. The track has a funk element that if you pitch it down is slightly more obvious, in fact both tracks benefit immensely from this, the genius of vinyl! It does have a jam feel and sort of bursts into life fully formed at the start but on closer inspection has a lot of fine detail layered throughout with quite a few new sounds for him on display. A busy production with a number of percussive rhythms lines competing against each other which all actually gel very well. It does end up with an unfinished feel however but is chock full of new potentials, the sound of an artist at a crossroads.

At this stage of Der Zyklus the science theme is somewhat of a token, with only the titles reflecting this concept. For example how exactly is this the sound of ¡®The Dawn of Nano-Technology¡¯? In fact it would not be till the second Dopplereffekt album ¡®Linear Accelerator¡¯ in 2003, before he could boast that he had managed to truly fuse the music and the concept. I think we¡¯ll find as we go further that the period from say 1997 to 2003 is very much a transitionary one for him where he would hone his more accessible sound to its highest level while seemingly being drawn in parallel towards much more uncompromising and experimental forms.
A word on the Heinrich Mueller pseudonym. I think at this stage after nearly ten years of him using it we should give him the benefit of the doubt that he sees this as just a name, the persona he is most comfortable with. In fact it would be a very common name in Germany, and really I should start referring to him as this from now on as well.

In 1998 the 'Suicide Commando' 12" by DJ Hell came out with a Heinrich Mueller remix which was the first time I believe he used the name officially as a stand alone artist. Hell is of course the label head of Gigolo which makes this a likely collaboration, I must admit I've never heard it and can't comment further on it, and you thought I had everything! In 1999 he did a remix also under this name of ¡®Cinematic Automatic¡¯ by Michigan¡¯s Le Car. The 12¡± the track is on I was lucky enough to come across a good few years ago now as today, well, good luck! It was a very early release on Detroit's Intuit Solar label, the record came simply stickered, housed in what was at the time their generic sleeve. Again as seems to be habit for Mueller he would go on to release at least one more thing on this label, namely the Japanese Telecom self-titled mini album which would arrive later the same year. The sticker attached for the 12¡±, 'Comin' From Tha D, Instalment 3.0' does list it as containing a remix by Doppleffect(sic) but this is more a marketing thing than a mistake as the label lists the artist as Heinrich Mueller. It¡¯s a nice release if you can track it down, the other remixes are by Adult., D. Wynn and DJ T-1000 of tracks by Ectomorph, Keith Tucker and Punisher respectively. While I haven¡¯t heard the Le Car original I feel confidant to say this sounds like an almost 100% Mueller production with only a vocal sample left intact from the original, or is that even Mueller himself? Can anyone compare the two and let us know? This remix is actually one of my favourite productions of his, certainly from this transitional era, all the hallmarks are here, the bass line, the sharp snare, the eerie keyboard riff, the unpredictable sounds ricocheting round the mix. Solid, really nice and very modern sounding, there¡¯s somehow a real futuristic sheen to this production, not having dated in the slightest, I could see it someday sound-tracking some scene in a stylish movie set in the future, it¡¯s that good, and Le Car will get all the credit! Actually I would like to hear more of their stuff, now defunct but the guy from Adult. was a member as was Ian R. Clark who has been recording as Perspects since 1999 so at least their both still making good music.

To sum up, this debut Der Zyklus release is primarily about making an aesthetic statement about what Heinrich Mueller sees himself achieving/exploring in the future on this new European label with his new project. Remember, this did not come out first in the States on Dataphysix and then get licensed to Gigolo, this is an important development for Mueller, another first for him. The music, good as it is, is not there conceptually yet but it is an effective beginning. You could call it a conceptual false start as well, as if anything he becomes for a time more accessible from this point on, but come on, this is a guy capable of working on many different levels simultaneously, we should just take it as a sign of things to come.

Black Replica

Black Replica is a new unsigned project from Heinrich Mueller and at least one other so far unidentified female. They first appeared, as so many new groups do these days, with a MySpace page (first registered on 16th October 2006) and later two video's of theirs were posted on You Tube. So far so enigmatic but this is a real break from the Mueller norm as far as it being a purely cyber affair so far. Whether this will continue time will tell, it may just be a way to publicise a forthcoming release of a more conventional nature. But with no commerce taking place and no artefacts to collect; the act just existing as music and video files on third party web portals with only the barest title information to stoke the imagination I think they may here have struck on the perfect medium for creating mystery. There is something very new, pure even, about this aspect of cyberspace which could very well suit someone that has a very high production rate and fondness for multiple pseudonyms. Perhaps Black Replica will turn out to be his first exploratory steps into a true virtual reality.

So far there are three audio tracks available to download from their MySpace site, namely, Mathematical Eyes, Spider Theory and Black Feathers. Two spooky videos for the first two listed can additionally be viewed at You Tube. The user name of whoever put up the video's on You Tube is Paradox Twin which reversed is the name of a track on the new Arpanet album, 'Inertial Frame', coincidence? The MySpace site lists membership as being Black Replica and Heinrich Mueller which is factual, the only other information being listed is their location as Detroit???

I can't say there's a whole lot more I can tell you about this project that you can't see for yourselves but by the time I get to it I will at least be working with the benefit of hindsight and better able to understand Black Replica and put them in some context. In saying that it's obvious Mueller and company are getting into some mystical stuff here with cloaked figures and magical symbols as featured in the video's; the music could also be described as being electro gothic; it looks like things are about to get very interesting.

Japanese Telecom s/t album

Japanese Telecom first announced itself to the world in 1999 with a self-titled mini album on the Detroit label Intuit Solar. It would be issued on CD the following year with some remixes as bonus tracks. Certainly it was the work of Gerald Donald even though there is absolutely no credits to its authorship, which is surprising as by now he had begun to use his beloved Heinrich Mueller pseudonym and you would expect him to have used it at every opportunity from this time on. However on this and its follow up, 2001¡¯s ¡®Virtual Geisha¡¯, all personnel credits are absent. Given also that the sleeve used here is the generic Intuit Solar one of the time, albeit well designed with a nice cut out, there isn¡¯t much information here beyond the titles and music to go on, just the way he wanted it!

As far as the name Japanese Telecom goes it does have a resonance with his history previous to this point. Donald's interest in Japan first revealed itself in some of the subject matter of the 1995 Flexitone project with Ectomorphs Brendan M Gillen (see the AKA article for more on this). His interest in electronic communications tangibly appeared about the same time with Dopplereffekt's ¡®Cellular Phone¡¯. Taking the name and the artwork (2 phone connections in a ying/yang configuration?) alone you might be forgiven for expecting an album specifically about Japanese communications but actually that album would eventually appear three years later as Arpanet¡¯s 'Wireless Internet'. So to some degree the name Japanese Telecom is misleading and perhaps a sign that Donald had plans for this project that weren¡¯t realised or it just simply went off in another direction after the name was committed to. So I suppose it's worth considering that Japanese Telecom may be flawed conceptually if not musically. On this topic the following additional text not found on the album was featured on the Intuit Solar website.

'Telecom continues to trek down the path of Nipponese technology with second project, the first was the introduction and the second concludes the vision. Japanese technology continues to influence our daily lives directly and indirectly and this music reflects the influence of this fascinating and progressive culture. On this version of Telecom the social and human side of culture is explored and visualized sonically. We hope that the interfacer of the music will feel the speed of the bullet train, the beauty of Fuji and the historical mission of the Asian race collectively...'.

From this we learn that they see themselves as Telecom and this does perhaps become apparent looking at their logo which has each word in a very distinct typeface from the other. This may mean they might have been conceiving of a string of Telecom projects eg. German Telecom, Dutch Telecom etc. Not a bad idea if this fascination with the communication technologies of particular countries was to continue with only perhaps the use of British Telecom becoming an issue of copyright. I'm also confused by this text as to how this is the second part of the project, although it may have been written referring to the yet to be released 'Virtual Geisha' as the second which would make this the first. This would make sense as an introduction I suppose with 'Virtual Geisha' concluding the vision. So far there has been no more releases under this name and after almost 7 years it seems likely that it won't be reactivated, at least not with the Japanese prefix anyway. The word telecom did appear as an email to contact Dopplereffekt on the 'Gesamtkunswerk' album but I think it unlikely that Dopplereffekt as a whole was seen as the first introductory part of this 'Telecom' project, even less likely that it would be Der Zyklus. Anyway the text may not have been added to the Intuit Solar site till well after the first albums release. Although to confuse matters 'Virtual Geisha' did not even come out on that label, Gigolo would get that honour in 2001, but it appears they did have to license it from them so I guess Intuit Solar had the rights to it even though they didn't actually release their own edition of it. The confusing waters of global independent music.

A misleading picture of the ¡®group¡¯ with black strips across the eyes can also be found on the site and is reproduced here. Perhaps Japanese Telecom was a collaboration with a female, certainly we are being given the impression that it was a group effort, a gender balanced one at that ala Dopplereffekt! This might have become more of an issue with the follow up which must stand as Donald's most fully realised sexual themed album yet, but more on this when I get to it. But from the text we get the message loud and clear that this is all about Japan, specifically the technological breakthroughs of the Nippon corporation. We also learn that Donald also sees Japanese culture as ¡®fascinating and progressive¡¯ which could be seen as making a criticism of his own.

There are 7 tracks here, the short opener ¡®Rising Sun¡¯ kicks of proceedings. Musically the track is dark with a slow bass line, a few noises and not much more, the classic short intro track. The title ¡®Rising Sun¡¯ is obviously very Japanese and makes a positive statement as the lead track of the album. Many people refer to the album as 'Rising Sun' as well. Next up is ¡®Japanese Animation¡¯ which in my opinion is one of the best tracks on the album. A very playful and jaunty cut with a computer game vibe throughout. Laid on top of the same mid-temp backing the track sort of goes back and forth between some really cool atmospheric sounds and then a more insistent computer game level jumping part. When I have used the term ¡®busy production¡¯ in the past I use it to mean there¡¯s a lot going on and that is certainly the case here.
The next track is short and very incomplete and maybe this explains why it is not titled. It¡¯s definitely a great track in waiting. When the album was reissued on CD the following year a title was obviously needed and it became 'Asian Amazons'. This title refers to Asian female body-
builders like these. Does he have a sense of humour, enough said! The previous fascist imagery used in Dopplereffekt does tie in here to some degree with Japan obviously allies of Germany during World War Two, both states having shared a similar ideology. The picture in the artwork of the guy operating at some telephone exchange is also clearly a Japanese solider circa WW2. Donald, as an American, is here still allying himself with an old enemy and is obviously still very concerned with race and which is superior. Of course we all make up the whole and in a perfect world this would be accepted by everyone and should at this stage be self evident in everyday life. Particularly it must be said in Donald's home country of America, a country made up of immigrants from every member of the human race. While a more obvious and tangible expression of these individual races can only be found in their own countries and regions it seems a shame to me in the age of globalisation to limit any artistic exploration of it to just its native version as Donald in this case has. Just a thought, ¡®just trying to plant seeds¡¯ as the comedian Bill Hicks would say, himself another artist whose ultimate concern was evolutionary. But it¡¯s only music after-all, the information given limited to a title and nothing more, he wasn't writing a thesis on the subject, you can leave that to me! Finally on this subject of Donald's sensitivity to race it must be said that as a white European I have never experienced any discrimination against me because of my race, but Gerald Donald as an African American might well have and race would therefore have become an issue for him. How he has dealt with that through his music can only really be understood by no one but Gerald Donald, while I can only ever speculate.
¡®Character Maps¡¯ is another computer game sounding track which cracks along at a fair old tempo. Whatever type of game Donald had in mind here there is a lot of running involved , the paranoid and relentless sound of pursuit. This track was later remixed by Perpects and appears to have got the thumbs up from the fans as the best of the 4 mixes on Intuit Solar's 'Japanese Telecom Remix' 12". The other remixes were from The Man
From P.A.C.K. aka I-F, John Selway and DJ Assault, later all but the DJ Assault one collected on the CD version of the album. I spoke with John Selway a few years ago and he mentioned that this remix was a favour he did for friends who were starting a label. The final track on this side is ¡®Game Player¡¯ which again is short and could almost be the classic generic game intro or theme track. It strikes me that if he had done this album on a game boy he would have been well ahead of the pack, a whole genre for this of course exists today. Regardless of how it was made, this album could very much be seen as a precedent to that genre. Also it¡¯s worth considering that by this time Derrick May had done the music for a Sony Play Station game about this time and perhaps this was Donald¡¯s reaction towards/against that?
Side 2 very much moves into another territory than computer gaming. ¡®Nipponese Robots¡¯ has a huge sound and is dark and somehow oppressive. This could decimate a dance floor if dropped at the right moment. Actually reminds me of the very earliest stage of Drexciya, the two tracks on side one of ¡®Deep Sea Dweller¡¯ which were aimed squarely at the dance floor come to mind. Some nice double beats get thrown in towards the end which shows this was done live and not sequenced, revealing the secret of their, Drexciya and Donald's, production style if not their sound. Another dark track next, the stop start ¡®Kubi¡¯. Some really strange sounds here over a classic almost dated sounding beat but in saying that you¡¯ve never quite heard anything quite like this before. This track is alive and again certainly done live so watch out, it has teeth! Kubi in this context most likely appears to be referring to Japan¡¯s Samurai warriors. The scatter gun ¡®Bullet Trains¡¯ is next and brings the album to a close perhaps on a bum note but a note nonetheless. It¡¯s just that it kind of doesn¡¯t go anywhere and is a bit throwaway to these ears but according to the notes from the website we should be imagining this as the sound of a bullet train.

Basically on this album we do get an introduction to Japanese culture which specifically references its computer gaming, the production line robots of the technology giant Nippon, its comic books and its famed bullet trains. A selective introduction for sure, as a short mini album can only be, but it is certainly an enthusiastic and genuine homage to this world and its culture. I wonder if Donald ever got to visit Japan for himself or was it a fantasy fuelled from his own imagination and second hand knowledge? Our imagination/fantasy of something unknown is a powerful thing, just witness our impressions of the, itself a fantasy, underwater world of Drexciya and what we imagine the lives of its creators being. Once real life gets in the way of these fantasies however illusions are not always shattered and bubbles burst but sometimes when reality and fantasy meet at an individual point of truth our expectations can even be exceeded. To test the waters and reach this point of knowledge is the key to developing a depth of understanding of a subject. I would say that if Donald had gotten to experience Japan himself he would not have been so concerned with these very much surface elements which we get here, almost clich¨¦s of Japanese culture, but given us more depth and insight which only experience could have brought him. Different cultures get misunderstood and reinterpreted all the time in all art forms and these misunderstandings will be kicked back and forth between cultures forever. Just think about it that¡¯s all I'm saying and I believe that Donald has if you look at his more recent albums which are far more studied than before. For example the promised theme of Japanese communications technology here would be followed up much more specifically with the already mentioned first Arpanet album in 2002. But if this debut as Japanese Telecom is flawed then give me more of this type of confusion.

Another 2000+ words expelled on an artefact I never thought I would be able to find so much to say about. The DRL MySpace site is going great, thanks for joining and the nice comments so far.

Dopplereffekt/Black Replica Sweden

Have a semi-exclusive account of Dopplereffekt and Black Replica from the Kontra-Musik festival for you. While I didn't manage to get to it myself, too close to my Sonar trip, one of my friends did and you can view his images and videos at his own site at http://www.skkatter.net  and here for pics and here for videos. There's also footage of it already up at You Tube as well.

He also very kindly wrote me a report of it and while a picture is still worth a thousand words, as with a lot of things on the internet, we need far more text content than we get. The Black Replica tour is a good case in point as I've seen so much footage of it at this stage but have hardly found more than a sentence to describe the feelings and experiences of the people who were there. What I have noticed however from the live shows, whether you were there in person or just online is the sense of humour and theatre that they are bringing to balance out what is essentially some very serious and sombre music. Which is an equation that any good artist understands and can effectively put into practice. For my part I love what their doing, it's not important that they are using backing tracks and Gerald Donald is not present, these are people who obviously completely understand the power of mystery and will not simply give us what we expect. It is essentially just great theatre, I await their next unexpected move with anticipation.
Same goes for the girl standing in for the increasingly mysterious Heinrich Mueller as Dopplereffekt at the same festival. How disappointing but how very typical, it's just not going to be made that simple. Mueller has never played the game so why would he start now?

Black Replica/Dopplereffekt, Kontra-Musik Festival, Malmo, Sweden 9th June 2007 Report by Skkatter.

Black Replica was on at around 6:30pm at this Kontra Musik festival in Malmo. Before her was an experimental act called Incite, a German duo who were playingclicky, IDM style cut up noise stuff, a bit dubby, similar to Pole, except more software sounding, along with a special visual show they had which was synced up to the music. They were very good, it was in a cool small-ish dark room (max capacity of 200 I'd say, but there were only about 60 people there), the audience sat down and watched them.

A DJ came on and played a bit, and then the Black Replica show started. A mic and monitor was set up on the floor in front of the visuals screen, nothing else. Then the visuals and music started, the first track was Mathematical Eyes, the visuals were a mix of bits from the YouTube videos they posted and other blurry videos of "the girl"(are we calling her Black Replica? Ms. Replica?). Then Ms. Replica herself appeared, crouched down on the ground, with her black cape covering her, the then sang along to the backing track. Great voice, sounded good live. She danced around, in an unusual pagan style, and sang along to some more tracks. I was pretty awestruck, the music is great, and she's a beautiful girl too, and I was finally seeing somebody connected to this whole Dopplereffekt thing! After a while she discarded the black cloak and was wearing a black lycra bodysuit underneath it, oh yeah, and black high heel type boots.A few tracks in she put the mic down and ran off "stage" (it wasn't a stage though, she was right in front of us, a very intimate show), a new track started playing and she came back on dressed up this time in a white lycra bodysuit with a big bunch of feathers sticking out of the head, which drew some cheers and good natured whistles from an otherwise completely silent crowd. She still had the black boots on. While wearing this new costume she performed the Black Feathers track, I'm not sure, she may have performed another track dressed in this costume but pretty soon she ran off stage again and came back on wearing a beautiful flowing silky red dress, with that pagan symbol on the chest, glowing red, and she was barefoot. She performed another two or three tracks (once again, all spooky dark and moody, great singing, a few tracks were heading towards the 120 bpm area, could possibly be mixed into my DJ sets if it gets released!) Before the end of her set she changed back into her black lycra and cape she wears in the video. I'd say she played for an hour overall. Everybody cheered and clapped at the end, I picked my jaw up off the floor, went off to get a drink and started mentally picturing the engagement ring I was going to pick out for her.

I went up stairs to the club room which was a bit bigger than downstairs and had a proper club sound system which was nice and loud and bassy. The DJ was playing some electro stuff, the last track he played before Dopplereffekt came on was Biomechanik by Anthony Rother. At this point on the stage (he was off DJing on a table to the right) there was a Korg Triton LE keyboard on a stand, facing the left of the stage. There was also an office chair in front of it.
An Asian looking girl then walked out, dressed in a black top, black skirt and sat down at the chair. She was practically motionless throughout her set, moving her left hand over the keyboard a few times, pressing the odd key here and there, but mostly staying perfectly still, facing towards the left of the stage. There weren't really many visuals for this show, just some text coming up on a screen every so often "Multiple universes", "Calabi Yau Space", "Extra Dimensions". Then every so often a short video loop of the girl herself, a close-up of her face and it also showed her holding some folded paper diamond thing. The music was brooding, dark, along the lines of the new album on Rephlex but I've just heard samples of that off Juno, I didn't recognise any of the tracks she "played". All in all a very mysterious show. No sign of any Gerald Donald over at the mixing desk, on stage, or during the Black Replica show either.

On the Black Replica MySpace page they are currently displaying the flyer for their show at the Distillery in Leipzig, Germany. This was the only late addition to what has become known amongst fans as their 'Spring 2007' tour. While it was no doubt done by an outside artist for the club the artwork was obviously greeted with approval by the group. Whoever was responsible certainly did their homework because as you can see it incorporates both their symbol and female front person. I've reproduced it here in case it disappears from the web.
--------------------
One more Dopplereffekt show is scheduled at Germanys Shining Festival over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd of June 2007. http://www.shining-festival.de/ Who'll show up, well last weekend he was in a mood to confound people, this time it's anyones guess. Additionally as you probably all know by now their 'Calabi Yau Space' album is also finally available on dbl LP and CD on Rephlex. Their press release goes into some detail about what a Calabi Yau Space is and although I've previously explained this myself there is no harm in having it stated again. Especially keeping in mind that this explanatory text almost certainly comes with the approval of Gerald Donald, if not certain sections coming from his own hand and therefore belongs here.
Rephlex Press release in full

Dopplereffekt are one of the more mysterious units of the contemporary electronic music scene. There are no interviews and hardly any liveappearances. The composers hide behind strange German pseudonymswhereas the song titles and lyrics are in English and make up astrange mixture of scientific, sexually explicit and politicalallusions. Dopplereffekt's music is also highly eclectic and unusual.Even if at first sight the forefathers Kraftwerk seem to be more thanpresent, Dopplereffekt have developed their very own and highlyinfluential sound aesthetic.

Dopplereffekt are originally from Detroit though some believe them to be now based in Europe. Critics claim their electro-style resembles that of Drexciya and that they were indeed early members of that now legendary outfit. This album is a perfect sequel to 'Linear Accelerator', their last album released on International DeeJay Gigolo in 2003 and accompanies this year's classic retrospective 'Gesamtkunstwerk' from Clone. Musically, it follows a more ambient/soundscape/experimental/electronic course akin to the Der Zyklus 'Biometry' project or even Rephlex's 'Quantum Transposition' produced by Arpanet in late 2005. Arpanet's 'Inertial Frame' album on Record Makers, from the same stable, was among the very best albums of last year. Though some find this album more specialist, it is just as engaging and combines the science of sound with other fields of physics. After a few listens, you'll notice some similar musical themes running through various tracks. A lot of thought has gone into this album and it will generate even more, given the chance. The album also features exclusive artwork under license from CERN, the world'slargest particle physics laboratory.

Calabi-Yau spaces are important in string theory, where one model posits the geometry of the universe to consist of a ten-dimensional space of the form. Although the main application of Calabi-Yau spaces is in theoretical physics, they are also interesting from a purely mathematical standpoint. Consequently, they go by slightly different names, depending mostly on context, such as Calabi-Yau manifolds or Calabi-Yau varieties.

Although the definition can be generalized to any dimension, they are usually considered to have three complex dimensions. Since their complex structure may vary, it is convenient to think of them as having six real dimensions and a fixed smooth structure .

If you are only excited by familiar things or fanatical about contemporary indie/rock then maybe this isn't your bag. If you like the challenge of the new and are intrigued by possibilities and the unknown, we urge you to investigate this album. After all, a great melody or rhythm or harmony begins with sound itself and it is on this level that Dopplereffekt is concentrating. 'Techno' in the sense that the term was originally intended.
 

Zwischenwelt

Get in early on the latest Gerald Donald involved MySpace
project by going to
http://www.myspace.com/zwischenwelt
-
First of all I am very grateful to one of my readers for finding this one for me and also supplying much of the information that I will now give you. The site actually has been up quite a while, since April of this year, and so far has 38 members. In some quarters the membership of this band would be considered as something of a 'super group', but it is what it is. Anyway, the members listed and some links to the known participants are as follows

Beta Evers
http://www.myspace.com/betaevers
Heinrich Mueller
Beate Bartel (the girl from Liaisons Dangereuses)
http://www.myspace.com/bartelbeate
Susana Correia
Penelope Martin (
http://www.myspace.com/knightthx
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Zwischenwelt itself is a german word which seems to translate best as 'in-between world'.
The two tracks there so far are both titled in Spanish, any closer translations than I could come up with would be appreciated. The first one 'Agujero Negro' ('Black Hole') appears to be a Beta Evers/Penelope Martin produced track, because another version of which, called 'Voces Sin Rostro', can be located on Penelope Martin's MySpace site. The second one, 'Segunda Realidad' ('Second Reality'), looks like being the Heinrich Mueller contribution but to be honest they both sound very Mueller/Black Replicaish to me. I have posted the image of one of the girls from the profile here for you as well, is this girl coyly hiding her face the mysterious Susana Correia? There are a few more images there as well.
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Between this project and Black Replica Mueller is nothing if not a ladies man, will any of it be committed to vinyl, will they tour, does any of that stuff even matter anymore? Only time will tell. Check it out for yourselves, become their friends, make up your own minds.

Der Zyklus II

The Der Zyklus II 12¡± came out on Gigolo Records in 2000 and must stand as one of the many high points of Heinrich Mueller¡¯s production career to date. Featuring 4 tracks, each one truly incredible, all united by a fairly dark feel they still manage to come across as accessible. This EP did a lot to cement his reputation and deservedly had some of its tracks reissued awhile back on Clone¡¯s Frustrated Funk label. A lot of the tracks here were also featured on numerous compilations of the time and hopefully of the future too.

The minimal style of the artwork is very much in keeping with his previous 12¡± debut as Der Zyklus, although with no picture sleeve that would not be hard but he keeps up the German language shtick with Seit Eins, Phax etc as well as having the titles of course again in German. However even with all this attention to detail a spelling mistake does manage to creep in. If you can spot it then you are as sad as I am, ¡®Geschrieben und produziert von Heinrich M¨¹ller'. In fact now that I think about it the two dots on the u might be the correct way to spell Mueller, the proper German spelling, do you know?

The first track, ¡®Elektronisches Zeitecho¡¯ is very minimal and ably displays this early Der Zyklus template which seems to have been the feel Mueller had been going for since the first and previous Der Zyklus release. Also one of the two instrumentals here it is certainly dark and what little light that does get through may be found only in the quick tempo. This is sleek, highly engineered, no space for slack, it works perfectly, if it was a car it would have to be a top of the line Mercedes.

¡®Mxyzptik¡¯does have a few more light moments courtesy of its lengthy vocal. I¡¯ve written about this before in my entry for Transllusion ¡®L.I.F.E.¡¯ because the same type of space alien voice is used there on the track ¡®Bump It¡¯. The complete lyric here goes, ¡°I am Mxyzptik coming from a black hole on the other side of the gamma quadrant. (laughs) I am now conducting tests with your bio-ports. (laughs) It's an experiment in bio technology. I¡¯m up to my old dirty tricks again. (laughs) Mxyzptik This is Mxyzptik conducting biological experiments and testing new theories in alien concepts. I am levitating, testing your mental parameters, can you feel my presence, levitation is so neat, isn't it . I am now in connection with your mind, I shall now exit.¡± I get more of a humour vibe from this than anything too serious (now there¡¯s a surprise). I think that Mueller at this point could still have a laugh with this type of subject matter but not for much longer. Musically it has a great big bass line, the first minute could be booty! It¡¯s easily the most distinct production of the four, still quite dark as I said, it just has a more busy production with more elements coming at you.

¡®Formenverwandler¡¯ is quite simply superb, from another very familiar sounding minimal Mueller template it includes a truly lovely male vocal that loops ¡°I¡¯m shape-shifting from place to place, bending time, curving space.¡± You know if The Other People Place album wasn¡¯t so damn cohesive and self-contained this might have fitted on there, it¡¯s that good. I can¡¯t not comment on these lyrics though, it doesn¡¯t surprise me that Mueller¡¯s head is at this stage concerned with this stuff of the universe and the theories about it like time travel and other dimensions which the so-called 'new physics', post Newton, very quickly lead you to consider. It¡¯s interesting to see how he is at this stage beginning to incorporate this passion and interest into his music. We are witnessing the start of a major transition for him and his music here, but at this stage it is simply a personal one.

I¡¯ve heard unsubstantiated verbal accounts of Heinrich Mueller around this period saying to people in the middle of a normal conversation something like, ¡°I wonder what Kraftwerk are doing right now?¡° Now this might not be true but I have a feeling this guy has or has had a fascination for that pioneering German group. Disregarding a decade of lazy journalism he was never blatantly ripped them off or even to my ears has done anything too close to them, until now that is and in this case it appears to be a calculated one-off move. If you don¡¯t already know, let me tell you that ¡®Mathematische Modelle¡¯ could easily have been included on Kraftwerk¡¯s Autobahn album, and I mean that if it was reissued with this as an extra track you would totally believe it belonged there. It matches the style, the tempo and even has the authentic sounding technical production. Incidentally all the titles on that album are in German as well, the last time they could do this as their popularity spread outside their own country. On ¡®Mathematische Modelle¡¯ Heinrich Mueller is Kraftwerk circa 1974. My hat is off to you sir! Maybe it¡¯s his reaction to all that rubbish about Dopplereffekt being directly inspired by Kraftwerk. Like he¡¯s saying that if he really wanted to do that he could do an exact copy, he¡¯s that good. On the other hand this might not have been a conscious attempt to do Kraftwerk but it's still a great track none the less as I furiously back-peddle on my assumption!

Just prior to this he also did a remix of 'What Use' by Tuxedo Moon. Gigolo Records were generous enough to give him a whole side of a 12" to himself to stretch out with a dark but pacey interpretation of the original which has all the hallmarks of the classic Mueller production of this time. He unsurprisingly used his Heinrich Mueller pseudonym for his 'Technik Mix'. It sounds very much like his own voice to haltingly say ¡°What is the use¡± and there is also an atmospheric female vocal sample or some other sound running throughout. Interestingly the other remix artist on the single was Ectomorph which featured one of his key past collaborators from the Flexitone project, Brendan M Gillen.

There doesn¡¯t appear to be a solid theme with this release, but whether Heinrich Mueller knew it or not at the time it tells a story nonetheless. 1 part is business as usual, continuing the perfection of technology theme which was started on Der Zyklus I, then the next 2 parts look to his own future and the final part is a nod/farewell to the past. Spread out over these 5 tracks Heinrich Mueller seems to have reached a moment of perfection, long strived towards for sure but he seems to have reached some sort of plateau with his music. It is no coincidence that in tandem with this he appears to have begun to undergo a more personal change which in time will reveal itself in his music also. His next chronological release, Japanese Telecom¡¯s ¡®Virtual Geisha¡¯ seems like such a backwards step in this light but it could have already been done before these tracks. But even this is not without its merits but they are of a cheapened variety compared with what we have just considered. Also at this time the concept for the Strom Series would have been formulating between him and his Drexciyan partner James Stinson. Just 2 years after this the first of their dimensional waves would break with the already mentioned The Other People Place. For sure this 2000/2001 period is indeed a crucial time of change for both of them.

Physics and music might seem a strange mix but Heisenberg, responsible for the Uncertainty Principle, is quoted as saying, "...in the history of human thinking, the most fruitful developments frequently take place at those points where two different lines of thought meet...so that a real interaction can take place, then one can hope that new and interesting developments may follow." This is from 'The Tao of Physics' by Fritjof Capra. I think you'll agree that 'new and interesting developments' do indeed begin to occur in his music from this point on and that the term fruitful would be an understatement judging by his recent work rate.

 

Japanese Telecom - Virtual Geisha

Japanese Telecom's 'Virtual Geisha' came out on Gigolo Records in 2001 and could lay claim to being the great lost Gerald Donald (I must return to referring to him thus as no writer/production credit is given) album but that doesn¡¯t mean his best. Lacking as it does the kudos of any one single track standing out, with the possible exception of 'Cigarette Lighter', may be one of the reasons why it has become something of an obscurity in his canon. It might also be a case of his chosen anonymity working against the record. But a more pressing reason for this today is that it appears to be out of print. It¡¯s also not one I¡¯ve ever heard many fans talking about outside of Discogs entries. Which is a shame as it¡¯s certainly his most pop album to date and the one it could be argued where he would for the last time so unashamedly venture down this most populist of paths.

The theme is similar to the preceding Japanese Telecom album as there are lots of Japanese imagery in the titles only this time mixed with his obvious interest in simulated sex. The artwork really says it all as far as where this album appears to be coming from although I would say it appears he more than likely only approved the work of ¡®gorgeous Shana¡¯ of the wonderfully named Abuse Industries. But he likely stipulated that the artwork should reflect the content. In this instance the telephone communication he obviously wanted to allude to was Japanese lines. Now I¡¯m not an expert but maybe they go in for cartoons on all their line advertising or else this is a particular kink of virtual phone in Japan that Donald wanted to examine. The meaning of the album title itself may be slightly expanded on with the ¡®she interacts¡¯ appendage of the title track itself. Can we take this to indicate Donald emphasising with the virtual geisha herself as she deals with her clients? While a real woman would be at the end of these phone lines she would still have to play along with the fantasy to match her cartoon image. I would guess that the artwork is made up of genuine ads culled from Japanese magazines, if not, top marks for authenticity. The Japanese Telecom logo itself of a lone figure on the phone at a desk now also has an added significance. The type face used for the artist name also remains from the first album. In general this is a far more consistent album theme-wise than the more unfocused debut, this time with most of the titles all tying in neatly with the artwork, Japan and Japanese .

What appears to be a press release of the time described the album thus, ¡®Debuting on Detroit's Intuit Solar last year, the mystic Japanese Telecom deliver a versatile ten-track release taking us on a technological journey from Dusseldorf to Detroit and Tokyo. Sizzling Kraftwerk style electro elements, futuristic motor-city techno visions and the new-age pop sensibility of Japan's neon culture. From full-fledged electrified techno to sublime electro robotix, this is truly something not to be missed.¡¯

Opener ¡®The making of Ultraman¡¯ sounds more like something particularly sparse from the previous debut Japanese Telecom album of 1999 and serves as a reminder of those heady pre-millennial times, not. An instrumental but to be honest while it has a stark charm with that unmistakably dark Donald production touch it is a bit lightweight, especially to be the first track. Ultraman is a famous Japanese comic book hero. ¡®Beta Capsule¡¯ doesn¡¯t really raise the standards and you might at this point start to think you know why this is his lost album. ¡®Cigarette Lighter¡¯ changes all that though. Probably the best known track from the album due to mass compilation appearances, the template used here is stripped down good time electro pop. ¡®Enter Mrs Suzuki¡¯ as in ¡®entering her in a ual way¡¯ no doubt, is a strange bunch of noises collaged together with no melody save a heavily distorted bass line that ¡®enters¡¯ midway. Quite a lengthy track which sounds like insects having , in Japan of course. 'Pagoda of Sin¡¯ lightens the mood very much and sounds like it¡¯s built upon some cheesy keyboard pre-set but is essentially more filler. But wait, all is about to change!

¡®Virtual Origami¡¯ is by far one of my all-time favourite Gerald Donald productions, don't ask me why, it's a gut reaction thing. I love the back and forth of the intro, the huge organ sound, those rising keyboard lines, the deep drum pattern and all the other lovely touches throughout. In many ways I could see it dismissed as standard good auto-pilot Donald but I disagree as it's another one of those tracks I have previously talked about when sometimes Stinson and Donald hit that magical point when everything inexplicably clicks and that feeling in your gut I mentioned just tells you, this is the one. In the past I persistently dropped this track at every opportunity while DJing and it always got a positive reaction.

The title track, 'Virtual Geisha (she interacts)' is another high point on the album, slow to start, very laid back, great bass line throughout. Could even be a very slowed down Neptune's Lair era Drexciya track. 'Japanese Matrix' is very short, as in seconds, no more than a melody. As I only have the vinyl version of the album to work from, 'Remote Transmitter' confusingly appears to be two tracks, at least going by the times (about 6 mins) given on the CD entry at Discogs. If I'm wrong there is an extra un-credited track on the LP version but if you look at the vinyl you can see no visible gap at the brief point of silence when each 'track' meets so when it was originally cut it was definitely done as one continuous composition. To add to the confusion there is indeed an extra track on the CD version, 'Virtual Origami 2' which appears to be a slightly shorter version. Of course if you have any more information on this please let me know. Taking ¡®Remote Transmitter¡¯ as a single track then I much prefer the first half, all organs, slow release bass lines and computer noises trotting along at mid-tempo but found the latter half a product of Donald going into bad auto-pilot production mode, it really goes nowhere and is rather dull once you get pass the first minute, sounding very unfinished. Obviously the two tracks are totally unalike melody-wise. The title I guess is self-explanatory, I can't see any added significance.

The final track, ¡®Mounting Yoko¡¯, is again very reminiscent of Donald¡¯ production of the time, this being one of his more sparse examples, there is a real sheen of perfection to this ¡®futuristic motor-city techno vision¡¯. Going by the title does this mean that in Beatles speak Gerald Donald is a Yoko Ono r or perhaps it means he likes her? It's worth pointing out that if you slowed down this track and went forward 1 year it could be a near carbon copy of 'Devoid of Wires', minus that tracks vocals, from the first Arpanet album 'Wireless Internet'. As I said it is one of those signature Donald tracks, one for the time capsule. It¡¯s important to note that he is at times starting to repeat himself at this stage of his career and he no doubt recognised that in himself.

The sleeve notes tell us that the album was licensed from Intuit-Solar, the Detroit label which put out the first Japanese Telecom album but surprisingly they never released an edition of it themselves in the States. They may have planned to, it would have been fairly lucrative, it certainly wouldn¡¯t have lost them money anyway but for whatever reason they never did. I¡¯m guessing then that Germanys Gigolo Records edition was then only ever available on import in the States and hence a bit more expensive than the average release, so maybe cost or even availability might have been a factor in the albums non-popularity. I read an interview with DJ Hell where he talked about how he wasn¡¯t in direct contact with Gerald Donald but instead dealt with people who had the rights to licence his material. While Dataphysix, which I can¡®t believe is operated by anyone other than Donald himself, was one of those ¡®people¡¯ he might also have been thinking of how he acquired the rights for this album. In the artwork Gigolo are at pains to indicate that this is not just another one of their new acts but something a bit more exotic by using the legends ¡®Detroit Style Electropop¡¯ and ¡®made in Germany via Detroit¡¯. What Gerald Donald made of all this I don¡¯t know.

Again, as already mentioned, like the previous album there are no credits, Heinrich Mueller or otherwise, completely anonymous, it could even be a virtual artist for all the information we get. To date, and after 6 years it doesn¡¯t look like there will be anymore Japanese Telecom albums (go on, prove me wrong!), this has been the only truly anonymous project from Gerald Donald.

To be honest and brutally frank there are only 4 and a half truly great tracks on this album but the rest is pure Donald through and through, warts and all, albeit the man he was in solo guise between 1995 and 2001. Still that¡¯s 4 and a half more than many lesser acts that probably get more praise and recognition than him but that¡¯s another story. Maybe this album shows the first signs he was getting tired of it, it was all too easy, he was now running in circles with ¡®electropop¡®, the joke not funny anymore. I went into this somewhat in the Der Zyklus II article that it's likely that this final Japanese Telecom album could well have been completed for some time before it's release, maybe even prior to the Der Zyklus II 12". While his next move into his Arpanet guise would still initially retain many of his old production signatures, his themes would begin to get far more studied, although his continued fascination with electronic communications would continue. ¡¯Virtual Geisha¡¯ then stands as the high water mark of Gerald Donald¡¯s dalliance with a genre he helped to define, with Der Zyklus II showing the first real signs of change, but from this point on he was facing a crossroads.

Zwischenwelt/Black Replica


Lots of new activity at the Heinrich Mueller involved Zwischenwelt's MySpace in the last month or so. I've included some of the new pics for archival purposes as the last origami themed ones are no more. There are also two new tracks there, one has involvement from Mueller but this is most definitely a group effort. As stated in a previous post the meaning of their name is in-between world, you find a lot of German witch/wicca related websites if you look it up through Google. Is this the best translation? Also it looks like Beate Bartel is no longer a member.

Going from the latest pictures and their captions we can easily deduce that one of their themes/interests is in the paranormal. The following explanatory(?) information goes with the three mysterious and similar images on their MySpace site.







1: Zero physical reality flux[] information state: stability enabled.
2: Discrete flux of physical reality[]Time interval = seconds.
3: Isotropic flux of physical reality[]Time interval = microseconds.
Sensory perception flux: human awareness expands and collapses.


This all becomes a bit clearer when you realise that one of the new tracks is titled ¡®Nina Kulagina¡¯, which turns out to be a famous Russian psychic. Her speciality was psychokinesis and I think the above list is scientific speak for measurement of that phenomenon but I¡¯m open to correction. The photo¡¯s of Martin, Correia and Evers look like they may be taking part in one of these experiments themselves. I¡¯d like to think they are and that music is just one element of this project but it¡¯s worth bearing in mind that this may be just a pose. Some of them look remarkably similar to b&w images of Kulagina herself from the 1960¡¯s. In fact there is a section of a documentary about her on YouTube which has lots of this kind of footage and will give you a quick background to her. Also check out this text link as well if you want to go further at Wikipedia.

The music is quite good, suitably spooky given the subject matter, the previous two tracks really grew on me and of the new ones I could see the same thing happening. ¡®Materialisation¡¯ is a Beta Evers track that is quite short and atmospheric and very tastefully done. ¡®Nina Kulagina¡¯ itself is more of a group effort with two different female vocalists. It has a very slow tempo and lyrics which are all about Nina, stuff like, ¡°She makes hearts stop beating.¡±, which will make sense if you do your research.
 
Hard to tell if this move into the paranormal is totally out of the left field for the other participants but as far as Mueller himself goes I¡¯ve mentioned before that very quickly in the so-called 'new physics' you come to an unexplainable point where the paranormal might, and I say might, start making sense or begin to fit in. On the 2005 Arpanet album 'Quantum Transposition' there is a track called 'EPR Effect' aka 'The Pandora's Box of Modern Physics' which is just such a perplexing occurrence which would make me wonder if Mueller has himself reached this point and is now looking into the paranormal for a way through. His other MySpace involved project, Black Replica, also appears to concern itself with another reality. One of my readers has pointed out that the symbol they use means psychic/soul. ¦· = PSI which starts all the Greek words that describe soul and psychological situations. Like psihi ¦·¦´¦¶¦§ = soul. Black Replica might be harder to figure out but the vibe they give off is certainly spiritual, while right now Zwischenwelt seem to be going down a paranormal, specifically psychokinesis themed route. But these two subjects are closely related and as I said they can even be tied into the frontiers of physics. But of course it's all about the music and as said before it's hard to know if a 'proper' release is something that either of them are interested in but if they are I'm sure it will happen.
 
Black Amnesia?

Found an interview with the girl from Black Replica. It was done by the same guy that interviewed Heinrich Mueller some time ago about the Der Zyklus, 'Biometry', album. As my Polish is not great I'm not sure how long this interview has been up but the project is referred to as being called Black Amnesia, however the usual Black Replica MySpace link is given. Looks to me like the interview was done before they had begun their MySpace. Figure it out for yourself though I'm not sure yet. At least we have a lot more information about their motivation. To view original interview text go here,
http://www.gaz-eta.vivo.pl/gaz-eta/recenzje/gazeta.php?nr=45&id=w_1
There's also a Heinrich Mueller mix to be found on the new Bochum Welt 10-inch on Rephlex. The track is Saint (Heinrich Mueller Z Version).

Dreams Versus Reality


Heinrich Mueller, the man behind Dopplereffekt, Der Zyklus and Japanese Telekom works on another musical project. We were be able to talk about it with his new partner - Black Amnesia.


Q:Where did you meet Heinrich Mueller?

A:We met through his colleague, To Nhan Le Thi, who has been the closest friend to my soul for many years.


Q:Why did you decide to cooperate with him?

A:He is very intellectual, creative and likes the challenges these bring. He is also very forward thinking and I love his style of sounds. It came natural to cooperate. We both like each others theories.


Q:What is your musical background?
A:Singing and playing the drums.

Q:What is the subject of your common project?

A:The subject or concept of Black Amnesia is about the future of the human emotional state, the science and theory of it, dreams versus reality, the impending darkness of the future of the mind, and how we have to face this. Memories and history also play an important part, may we learn from them. Psychological.


Q:What is your role in this project?

A:Singing, lyrics and visual aspect.


Q:What kind of music can we expect from both of you?

A:Dark, cinematic electronic.


Q:Have you already recorded any tracks?

A:In the process.


Q:How does your work look like?

A:Classical futurism; dark with glimmers of light; emotional.



Q:What is your opinion about Heinrich Mueller as an artist?

A:I very much respect his musical compositions and theories - he truly expresses the notion of science through the music. He is well organized and conceptually sound.



Q:When will we be able to listen to the results of your cooperation?

A:In due time.

PAWEL GZYL
 

Arpanet - 'Wireless Internet'

The first Arpanet album was 'Wireless Internet' released in 2002 on the French label Record Makers on CD and double vinyl formats. No personnel credits appear in the artwork so I guess I will have to refer to the artist as Gerald Donald, even though he had by now of course begun to use Heinrich Mueller, as indeed he would on the follow up Arpanet album, ¡®Quantum Transposition¡¯ in 2005. This album in my opinion is one of the standouts in his catalogue to date, although that is of course a totally subjective opinion. I remember buying it at the time after a friend that worked in a record shop pointed it out to me and wondered if I was aware that it was by one of the people behind Drexciya. I wasn¡¯t and probably snapped it up without even listening to it, something I would almost never do when buying electronic music. Of course I wasn¡¯t disappointed, I have a feeling some people would rate this as one of their favourite Donald productions and it would be right up there for me also. Even though it¡¯s a bit samey in places, it has more than its fair share of memorable tracks and because of its subject matter is something of a unique artefact, although someone must have done an album conceptually about a company or product before, I just can¡®t manage to think of one. The company in question is Japan¡¯s NTT DoCoMo, a telecommunications company, that in 2002 and perhaps today also are the market leaders in wireless internet technology. The phones used in the artwork look very up to date even 5 years later, they resemble that flip-phone that you see a lot of people using these days. Not me though, I still have an old ¡®classic¡¯ Nokia with a cracked screen.
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Firstly the name of the project, Arpanet, refers to a system developed by The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of the US dept of Defence responsible for the development of new technology for use by the military. The Arpanet was the world's first operational packet switching network, but more famously is known as being the predecessor of the internet. As you¡¯ll see, the internet and its future wireless appliance is the main subject of the album. Why not call the project Internet, well, that would hardly be original days, but going back to its largely forgotten inception name is fairly clever.
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The 4 minute opening track ¡®The Analyst¡¯ features a very slow pitched robot style voice intoning the following quite lengthy spiel. Keep an eye out for the questions posed within its text. ¡°We are now in the year 2000. The entire world seems to be moving towards wirelessness. Will the personal computer and laptop computer become obsolete technology? Will we all be able to interface with a giant super computer such as 'The Beast' in Belgium by way of micro-electronic handheld technology? This is an interesting concept to seriously consider. Will we all have the ability to access and process information by mobile telephones or some type of miniature handheld technology? This will become a possibility. Software and computer companies all over the planet are investigating and researching the possibilities and applications of wireless information technology. Asia and Europe at this time are at the forefront in the race for wireless information exchange. North and South American companies are working fanatically to play catch-up in the world of wireless information networks. NTT DoCoMo, the innovators of the I-Mode cellular telephone, who have approximately 13 million Japanese linked to the information superhighway, are in the leadership position for this type pf technology. People can now transmit electronic mail, check financial activity and browse the internet through their mobile cell phones but this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as possibilities are concerned. Imagine one day of having the ability to accomplish all your daily tasks anywhere and at anytime without having to be at a particular location to achieve a certain task. In today¡¯s fast paced society people want unlimited flexibility and mobility, this is now mandatory for virtually every aspect of human progress. Almost everyone possess a cellular telephone and the subscription number is expanding exponentially. One day we will all be wireless and this is a fact. One day we will be able to do almost everything by remote control with a multiple array of digital handheld devices. What will the implications be for humanity? Who will benefit and who will suffer? These are the important questions that we as a society must seriously ask ourselves. We are all atomic and subatomic particles and we are all wireless. ¡°
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Donald himself spoke about this more concisely when he spoke with John Osselaer in April 2002, "More wireless-ness is certain, for humans are very mobile conscious in most present day societies; eventually everything will be wireless, mobile and nanofied/microscopic. The upper atmosphere, human body and space are the new mediums, the wire is obsolete." "The wire is obsolete", this sounds like a breaking of a tether, giving humanity potentially more freedom than ever before. While on the surface this album does celebrate the achievement of NTT DoCoMo or in Donald¡¯s own words to Osselaer, "This firm and its products are worthy of being documented so it was documented through waveforms and visuals." What he does not state is that he is obviously equally concerned with where this technology is leading us and wonders if we are ready for it. Questions like do we control it or does it control us, kind of like how we think we own our belongings but we actually in a very real way end up belonging to them. I believe there is a paradox to be seen in Donald's obvious surface fascination with technology which on closer inspection he then balances by a cautious questioning approach to it. Firstly in his questions from 'The Analyst' like, "What will the implications be for humanity? Who will benefit and who will suffer? These are the important questions that we as a society must seriously ask ourselves." and when speaking with Osselaer he says, "Nature itself is the greatest masterwork of technology. A man who takes his directives from nature is actually bringing togetherness through his inventions. We are all linked by technology, just take a look at the world around you and you will see." As I said, on the surface, in the artwork and song titles, it appears Donald is all gun-ho for this technology and more but actually he is casting his doubts about where it is all leading us. I think we are back to his theme that if we accept the good things about science/technology then we also have to accept the bad as well. This was something that in my opinion I detected when examining his flirtations with Nazi imagery in Dopplereffekt 1994-97 era, which you'll find in the DRL archives. Again, speaking with Osselear, one of these concerns does reveal itself as slightly paranoid but who's to say, judge for yourself, "Well the concerns are that we will eventually loose our liberty because tracking and data chips will eventually sooner or later be installed in all unborn generations via world governments. I will refer these yet to be born as the GPS-generation for they will be tracked anywhere on the planet by our big brothers via satellite." His future interest in Biometric ID which he would use as subject matter for the Der Zyklus album of 2004 might have grown out of this early concern. But again if you only look at the surface of that album you might feel that he is simply glorifying the achievement but I¡¯ll say no more on that till I get there.
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Musically the album opens with the looping soft textures of 'The Analyst' with the above mentioned lengthy dialogue. Interestingly the mysteriously named instrumental 'P2101V' is very similar to it, seemingly only adding a faster tempo and a synth line and hey presto, a new track. Maybe this melody was felt just too good to leave buried beneath all the dialogue of 'The Analyst' and he wanted to do something more with it. It was worth it I think as this is a great track but the surprising thing is that he will use this trick again with 'I-Mode'. ¡®I-Mode¡¯ is more slow paced, having a cold and futuristic feel with a few new sounds for Donald in the mix. On the minus side it too seems a bit short, like it wasn't fully realised. Why it feels so unfinished is because Donald finishes it on ¡®NTT DoCoMo¡®! What is the difference between the two, only the length and the vocals really. This version opens with the rapidly delivered, ¡°To activate the expansion of the wireless internet, companies are developing networks that can accommodate large amounts of data and handheld devices that can penetrate into every aspect of the internets resources.¡± This is done in the same computer generated voice as used earlier. The lines, ¡°NTT DoCoMo¡°, ¡°wireless information flow¡°, ¡°Internet and email communication transmitted by wireless activation¡±, ¡°Europe and Asia interfaced by computer, satellites and antennas transmitting the future,¡± and ¡°Scientific progress, infinite mobility, daytime scientific exchange, human to human interaction.¡± are also trotted out at intervals. I can see why he revisited ¡®The Analyst¡¯ on ¡®P2101V¡¯ but not this time. I certainly don¡¯t feel ripped off but maybe that¡¯s because I¡¯m a fan but it could certainly be argued that at only nine tracks this album already slightly short changed you a bit on the music front, but when you consider that 4 of those 9 tracks are basically the same as each other, that leaves you with just 7 original compositions. I think that a lot of people, particularly if they weren¡¯t fans, would feel a bit cheated at this. I don¡¯t want to come across as a bean counter in my criticism but I can honestly say, again, that in spite of the statistics this album has been genuinely one of my favourites of Gerald Donald¡®s so far. It has of course to be the quality of those 7 tracks, they are all that good but I¡¯ll leave it, as always, to you to make up your own mind on this.
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The second track, 'Illuminated Displays', turns out to be the true hooky opener however. Really strong and hard hitting production, sounding very full bodied despite not having a vocal element, which so easily could have been incorporated. It has a nice looping melody throughout with the tightest of tight snare driving it on. Simply great electro. 'Wire frame Images' opens with a very brief vocal snippet sample and cracks off at a rapid pace from here on it. It has a kind of elastic sounding melody looping away at its heart and a plodding bass line. I know that sounds like a contradiction in tempo but give it a listen. The track breaks down half way and takes off unexpectedly for another round before it dissolves into a sudden electronic gasp, of exhaustion?
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I must say that for an album I like so much it also contains one of my least favourite of Donald¡¯s tracks, ¡¯Software Version¡¯. This sounds very unlike anything that he has done before this point or since. It¡¯s doesn¡¯t really evolve, have a comfortable groove to it or even a nice pitch. It doesn¡¯t really fit with the rest of the album either, sounding like a total one-off experiment. The second half in particular is very rough, it was obviously done live. Which if I haven¡¯t said it before is something I believe Donald has more or less continued to do since Drexciya days. Miss Kittin bravely used it on her ¡®Live at Sonar¡¯ mix so what do I know and in that context maybe it even worked but I still usually skip it.
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¡®Devoid of Wires¡¯ appeases for its predecessor in the biggest way however. Amazing mid-tempo track, one for the Gerald Donald time capsule even. It has many of his trademarks on here, the production could only be him. The lyrics, I think delivered by Donald¡¯s himself, go, ¡°She disengaged from the collective, cyber independence was the objective, she is now free, like you, like me.¡± The title and these words bring to my mind the image of a human being as marionette somehow awakening to its state of over entanglement with society and becoming free as a result of acting on this knowledge.¡± Donald, very charitably, seems to regard us, the listeners, as free as well as himself. I hope we are living up to his faith in us and that he is remaining truly free also! This seems to tie in with the last questions from the opening track, ¡°What will the implications be for humanity? Who will benefit and who will suffer? These are the important questions that we as a society must seriously ask ourselves.¡± As already stated, Donald is definitely concerned with where we are going with this technology. Who will benefit, the companies that adapt best to use it and those capable of taking advantage of this technology without it taking advantage of them. Buying only what they need online and not what advertising entices them to additionally or spending too much time ¡®communicating¡¯ with cyber friends at the neglect of time spent in human interaction. He elaborated on this theme somewhat to Osselaer when speaking about keeping up with technological evolution,¡°Well keeping up with technology is synonymous with keeping in line with the Jones, it¡¯s impossible. The best thing for a person to do is acquire the devices he needs to suit his needs. There is a smart way and impractical way to upgrade.¡± You heard him, upgrade smart! The she in question made interviewer John Osselaer prick up his ears and wonder whether it was about the Borg character called Nine from Star Trek Voyager. Donald didn¡¯t specifically answer the question yes or no but said, ¡°Sometimes it is good to act collectively and sometimes it is good to act individually.¡± Guess he knew the reference, how much of a fan he is though, big enough to use it as subject matter in his own work, is hard to tell.
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The final track, coincidently again used by Miss Kittin as her set opener on her epic ¡¯Berlin is Burning¡¯ Electroclash mix which came free with an issue of Muzik magazine a good few years back, is yet another standout from the album, ¡®Wireless Internet¡¯. The title track itself hidden seemingly as an afterthought. Well, this is no afterthought. Really lovely tones, beautiful melody loop, slow with dark and moody chord changes. Such a timeless moment, will sound great at any future juncture of time. Again, simply beautiful.
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There was a very nice website, are-you-wireless.com, up for this release at the time, if you put the address into the 'WayBack Machine' at
http://www.archive.org/index.php you might have more success than me in seeing it again. On my computer it sort of stalls at the first page for some reason. This website only came down a few years back, it had the video for 'NTT DoCoMo', which you can now view on You Tube. The video was entirely made up of images taken from an NTT DoCoMo promotional video but is very effective in presenting Japan as being at the forefront of technological progress, plus this was a very cheap way to make a video. Also on the site there was an offer that if you emailed them your address they would send you a free 'Are You Wireless'12", which was a nice gesture. Somewhere in it also there was a blurb about Arpanet only conducting interviews and any other communication through email, implying that it was never to have a public face and was to remain a purely electronically and internet centred project. It strikes me that they were a few years too soon for MySpace as this type of aspiration would have suited that format very well. Donald of course now has two collaborative projects, Black Replica and Zwischenwelt, which are so far exclusively active only in that medium today.
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The cover image of the globe I have stated before is very similar to the cover of Drexciya's The Quest but just a coincidence I feel, as this is the perfect way to represent the World Wide Web. Elsewhere the liner artwork is text heavy with a few more images no doubt taken from NTT DoCoMo advertising literature. Someone else with better languages than me could tell me if the German, Japanese and French texts are the same or expanded versions of what we hear on ¡®The Analyst¡¯. I think there is more in the texts. The only other revealing text is the dataphysix@scientist.com email and more interestingly a postal address for them in Germany. Whether this is still operational or not might be interesting to find out but for the record it is down here in 2002 as Dataphysix, Postfach 870324, 13162 Berlin, Germany. This arises the sticky question about where Gerald Donald was at this time basing himself. I have up to this point of writing DRL made a conscious decision to respect his privacy and have only concentrated on where his music, artwork, interviews and live appearances etc take me. Basically, in planer words, I just focus on his and Drexciya¡¯s public face. Everything we need to know is there, anything else is not a part of the concept. Of course we will be curious about the creators, it is only natural, but we are dealing with art in the form of albums and 12¡±¡¯s that were obviously designed to function and stand alone.
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The ¡®Are You Wireless¡¯ 12¡± itself comes with two tracks already featured on the album with only some new artwork images, more NTT DoCoMo phones, to entice you to buy it. This is basically a sampler, in fact the press release that Record Makers sent out for it calls it just that and doesn¡¯t even refer to it by it¡®s official name, see scan at base of article. The tracks chosen to represent the album were ¡®NTT DoCoMo¡¯ and ¡®Illuminated Displays¡¯. There was also a promo CD of the album that came in a cardboard sleeve. The album itself was reissued on double vinyl in 2006 by Record Makers. This happened in tandem with their release of the third Arpanet album, ¡®Inertial Frame¡¯.
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It¡¯s worth wondering what NTT DoCoMo themselves made of all this. The artwork does state that the images come courtesy of NTT DoCoMo and their web address is given so someone there must have been aware of what was going on. Also to get the video footage the label would have had to have some direct contact with the company. I wonder how Donald would have reacted if they had wanted to use his music to promote their products? If he had been unwilling it would have been laughable considering that he was already doing just that, only in an album context. Just an idle what if!
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Also, one last quote from the Osselaer interview is worth detailing here. Considering Donald would have been coming out of his Storm Series headspace about this time he mentions that series keyword ¡®Evolution¡¯ here in a more specific context relating to his opinion of the current I-Mode features, ¡°Well it's difficult to say because they are constantly evolving so you cannot say what is the ultimate feature or the least feature; you just have to keep your focus on their evolution. Evolution is their most interesting feature.¡± Evolution itself, the life processes of technology appears to be Donald¡¯s main concern here, but who programmes the machines? The evolution of electronic devices has become so closely tied to human evolution that this is fertile ground to consider and even to predict our own future. This I feel is the vantage point that Gerald Donald has here chosen to consider us as a species from. Of course our progress on the frontiers of physics has a close correlation to our own evolution as well. This will be my next port of call with Dopplereffekt¡¯s ¡®Linear Accelerator¡¯.
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More on original Arpanet system
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arpanet
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NTT DoCoMo Today
http://www.nttdocomo.com/
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NTT DoCoMo at Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTT_DoCoMo



Dopplereffekt - Linear Accelerator

Dopplereffekt returned after a six year absence with their 'Linear Accelerator' album in 2003. Only released on Gigolo worldwide and with no Dataphysix US edition as previous or even vinyl counterpart to the CD, this was a new beginning for the way Gerald Donald conducts his business and as we will see, for how he approaches his music. I call him Gerald Donald because there is no personnel credits given on the album or 12". The only, quite graphic, evidence of membership is the picture of Donald and a female that looks very like To Nhan Le Thi, previously pictured on the 1999 'Gesamtkunswerk' album. This image does perfectly follow on from that album but is one of the only pieces of continuity from that period. By the way, the girl who appeared as Dopplereffekt during 2006 in Sweden and elsewhere appears to be this person. So I guess they are still together as a group in some sense. I say in some sense because there are no female vocals or any other contributions which you could pin directly on her, but that is not to say she wasn't equally at the controls. Of course, somehow we all take it for granted at this stage that Donald does the all the music by himself and this would be my feeling and maybe we're way off by thinking that but somehow I doubt it. As we can see from this album and as mentioned, just last year, she certainly still has her place in the promotional and visual side of Dopplereffekt and as discussed in an earlier article, remains crucial in presenting the gender balanced aspect of the group . I also found another picture of them together somewhere or other in the web that looks like it came from the same session. Ok, that's the personnel out of the way, now it gets harder!
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Basically, to anyone that expected Dopplereffekt to sound like they did before, this album would come as something of a shock. In fact, if they had wanted to cash in, returning with a bunch of stark but catchy soundalikes from their 94 - 97 heyday, there was no better time than now for them to have done so. It all could have been spun so perfectly as well, the masters return, but as we have seen Donald appears to have run his course with this template, having arguably already pushed it as far as it could credibly go with the two Der Zyklus 12", an accessible debut as Arpanet, his work as Japanese Telecom, not to mention the many remixes, which may have been the real breadwinner for him outside of his many and multiple compilation appearances. I should probably state that I have no problem with an artist getting what they deserve and hope he made plenty of cash from a scene he did so much, perhaps unwittingly, to develop.
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‘Linear Accelerator’ is a long strange trip. Mind you, not so strange now, listening from this vantage point, but then yeah, for sure it was. In some ways it's the musical equivalent of entering the computer generated image on the back cover of a black hole, you can't tell what will happen next, there is an unpredictability to the album. In the ’Gesamtkunswerk’ article I pointed out that one very big clue where they might be going next was to be found on the final bonus track on the CD. I guessed that this was recorded in either 1998 or 1999 which if truly a conscious decision to showcase what was coming next was truly a remarkably decision to take as 4 or 5 years is a hell of a long time to effectively put a concept for a sound on hold. His concept appears to create a synergy between the music and the subject, in this case, high-energy physics. In the process throwing out the rulebook and concentrating on creating music that actually sounded like it was made by a physicist or sounding like what the title was or aspects of it. His imagination would still be important of course because this cannot be a literal sound-a-like because these things don’t really have a sound as such. And return to it he will, with real gusto, but it is this new synergy between music and concept that is the key change for him from this point on. He may also have taken stock of how influential his production work had become and decided to create a musical form which would attract few imitators in the future. By creating something so original he is safe-guarding his music from becoming dated and immune to fashion and popularity. Time will tell on this one but in this most retrospective of ages it is rare indeed to come across something contemporary and original at the same time, for this reason alone the album has validity.
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The first track is the longest at a whooping 21 minutes and 8 seconds. Then the album gradually gets more accessible, both time-wise and melody-wise. Which does make it appear that one rumour of the time was true. That Donald was unhappily contractually obliged for one more album for Gigolo and decided, after much stalling, to give them an unmarketable and equally un-sellable dirge to get out of it. I don’t believe this for an instant but it speaks volumes about what was going through people’s minds to explain this release. On this subject, if you watch DJ Hells and Miss Kittin’s commentary on the Gigolo movie 'Freak Show', they mutually call Gerald Donald a genius when one of the tracks from this album comes on and go on to say how his music always makes them re-evaluate their own work. Not to mention the album gets the no doubt coveted by some Gigolo 99 catalogue number. Now maybe this was a massive miscalculation on Donald’s part if we was trying to stick it to Hell but because he has continued in this vein up to today I think it proves the lie to that rumour. Mind you, he hasn't released anything on Gigolo since, what that means, if anything, is anyone's guess. Gigolo certainly made his name in Europe, although of course it was Rephlex that gave him, as Drexciya, his first European exposure. Labels like Clone and Record Makers etc can do just as good a job for him, maybe better if they can give his projects more attention, but there again, who can tell, he's still wave jumping anyway.
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As I detailed in the previous article for Arpanet’s ‘Wireless Internet’ album, Donald there, for the first time, took a company, NTT DoCoMo and devoted an album to exploring its products and services and in so doing questioned what this said about humanity. The music he choose to do this with was accessible electro/electronic music, call it what you will, music that we expected him to do to some point. Looking back now a transformation process was begun here, about 2001, right about when he was himself emerging from his headspace for the, itself transforming, Storm Series. The process is seemingly completed here on ‘Linear Accelerator’ where he again takes a company, really an organisation, DESY, and throughout the album explores what it does. But as I said, the key and final transformational difference here is that the music has also taken a quantum leap and has fully synergiesed with this very specific subject matter. Now, it’s up to you if you want to take such a literal viewpoint as mine but the timing and message of the Storm Series is there to be considered. There is no doubt that a gradual change has taken place for Gerald Donald. A move to much more specific themes than before and into a completely unrecognisable musical form than previous has from this point taken place for him and after 5 years it shows no sign of abating, only evolving ever deeper as he enters what, again must feel like something of a black-hole for him also, as you can’t possibly know where this field of research is likely to ultimately lead you. The field in this case, as we shall soon investigate, is particle physics, the stuff of you and the universe.
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Maybe it's best this time to start with describing the music before tackling the meaning. As mentioned, ‘Photo Injector’ is the biggie. Not before or since has Gerald Donald done anything even approaching 21 minutes on a single track. Placing it at the start of the album has to be a statement in itself, of seriousness of intent or perhaps of defiance. The first minute is without recognisable melody, just a gradually looping constant, at the 2 minute mark another textural layer appears, by the 4 minute mark another joins it. Each one hard to describe and then hard to tell apart once there, becoming as one. By this stage you can discern a scraping circular rhythm, like a rotating satellite or come other clichéd image which some hack reviewer would usually trot out when dealing with lonesome sounding minimalist electronic music. It goes on in this fashion for a full 10 minutes until it evolves into a reverb drenched bass which is very much a different track, although you can hear the previous passage continue low in the mix, but this does disappear as it disappears. Around the 12 minute mark some tasteful but very subtle synth tones appear and stalk the barren sound territory. Around the 15 minute point some strange vibrating rolling sounds begin. These curious sounds gradually become the only ones as the rest is mixed out. It ends then rather oddly in this random rolling fashion. There is however a natural bouncing ball effect here, something which Autechre managed to capture so well on ‘Drane2’, the final track on their classic 1998 LP5 . Mind you, if your looking for influences or a 'who else does it sound like' answer then I wouldn’t like to use them as that example. I really don’t find the music here like anyone else I’m aware of, that isn’t to say that someone hasn’t been doing this kind of stuff for years. I guess the most obvious thing it sounds like is soundtrack music, the reviewers of the time mentioned the composer John Carpenter of Halloween fame. That might just be because it's kind of scary in places though.
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‘Niobium Resonators’ sounds machine like, there is an engine or motor driving this thing along from the start in the deep, dense and static filled swath of sound which hits you continually throughout. The sound is clipped though, coming at you in stages before going back to the start. At a still substantial 14 minutes 25 seconds this track is much harder going for the listener than the opener. There really is no melody here present, just a collection of high pitched and continually changing noises laid on top of the already described dense bed of movement.
‘Graviton’ doesn’t begin very promisingly if your still looking for something more accessible but once you get past its opening 'beyond minimal' minute and a half there is a pleasant enough passage of blips and bleeps which are soon joined by long arcs of tone. After awhile these arcs are left behind and replaced by a distorted and somehow majestic, even triumphant sounding synth line, if that is what it is, it could be generated by anything really. Loads more weird and higher pitched sounds dot the remainder of the tune, because it does now possess one, in the same fashion as the previous tracks last section, to fade.
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Myon-Neutrino’ is amazing, especially considering what has just gone before. It was this track that Hell and Miss Kittin were so floored by on their commentary on the Gigolo movie. The production is quite simple, nice melodic bass line, and ghostly melody line played at higher register. Really just two main elements here, classic, could have been done anytime in the history of electronic music and should sound just as fresh well into the future, well up there with his best work for me anyway, full of emotion. No surprise to find that at 5 minutes 14 seconds it’s also the shortest track on the album. It was no wonder that Gigolo picked this to be on the 12” to promote the album. There is a real melancholy here, I like to think it may be a requiem for a departed friend. The most prominent sound on ‘Z-Boson’ is very much like Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells which is ok I guess as it does soon fill up with a bass line and a few sparse touches that gives it its own thing. It doesn’t really develop within its 8 and a half minutes though and while it’s the second most accessible track on the album, also included on the 2 track 12”, it’s kind of disappointing, it just goes on too long stuck in its groove in my opinion. I used it in a DJ set I played at an art gallery once and should have mixed out of it earlier than I did for this reason. By the way the 12” sampler which contained the last two tracks has another nice picture of Donald and To Nhan Le Thi in the same laboratory and the demarcations given to each side of the vinyl is e+ and e- which are the standard symbols for positron / electron. Drexciya of course have a track, 'Positron Island', so this does have some added significance here. I'm guessing that the artwork of formulas printed on the CD are all to do with the same subject as the album, not my field, but they look cool. Another beauty comes to end and redeem the album in the shape of ‘Higgs-Mechanism’. Long textured keyboard lines stretch out across its length joined by fiddly melodic computer patterns. It’s another weird one in many ways, sounding a bit incomplete but that kind of gives it a charm and identity of its own. It ebbs and flows just about comfortably over its almost 8 minute length and doesn’t seem to run over long within its limited variation.
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So what to make of that? Did I like it, I remember being more intrigued than disappointed when I first heard it but I suppose I like most people expected something similar, just a little updated than before. Now it's an album I genuinely like but can see of course how it’s really one for the fans. This is music which you have to go to, you have to make an effort with it, but it is not impossible to like it, find ways for it to enter your life. I for example am listening to it again, for the second time today just for pleasure, as I rewrite these paragraphs. The time is 7.20pm, a cat is asleep on a chair, I'm at my kitchen table with my laptop underneath a fluorescent tube. The music is certainly not blending in as background and is keeping my attention (track 2 on now which is not my favourite) but my point is that right now the music is a part of my environment and like anything else in this room right now it is filling my consciousness. Would anything about me change if I changed the music or switched it off altogether? Perhaps, but only my environment would have changed. I have actually heard this album played publicly, at what turned out to be the final live appearance by Coil in Dublin, during it’s DEAF festival in 2004. This was a fantastically unusual event itself, held in the grand entrance to Dublin’s City Hall, the only time a gig has ever held there. It was actually a friend of mine, Paul, a physicist, I kid you not, who brought it along to provide something to play as the doors opened. Paul also provided me with some of the technical information for the track titles I’ve used for this article. A circle closes! But I’m basically just asking, how weird is this, not very, we are so adaptable as human beings that with only a little effort we can accommodate anything new. Maybe that is something which Donald had to consider himself when he realised how his music was developing, would there even be a market for this stuff? It’s still not a record you should ever play at a house party or with your girlfriend/boyfriend but it’s also not for nerds only, it does exist somewhere between but as I said, you need to come to it, it’s for anyone who is willing to do that. But it will be a solitary listen nonetheless which I'm sure mirrors how it was made. There is a palpable feeling of sadness, a certain desolateness at the core of this experience.
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There might also be a consensus amongst people who stopped buying his stuff after this that all of his music since sounds the same but that would be way off the mark and I am keen to get to those albums soon for that very reason because on the surface yes they do appear to continue with similar subject matter and the music does has the same synergy with the theme but they are full of much shorter and accessible tracks. Some of course, like the last Arpanet album, 'Inertial Frame', even show signs of a return of a sense of humour and his next port of call after this very album would not even mention physics, particle or otherwise. Not to mention the variety of the work he is involved with as Black Replica and Zwischenwelt. Basically I think Donald has perfected this synergy since this album, but you know, I'm sure he wouldn't see it that way, these tracks are probably exactly as he wanted them, whether people like me find them accessible or not is probably not a concern of his.
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So what does it all mean. Well, I can tell you what it’s about anyway for a start. It is about high-energy physics, the area of physics dealing with subatomic particles moving at velocities close to the speed of light. The subject of the album is DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron) in Hamburg, Germany, where this examination of the stuff of matter goes on. It was established in 1959 and is one of the leading particle accelerator centres in the world. DESY is a national research centre supported by public funds and has locations in Hamburg and Zeuthen (Brandenburg). The album linear notes give both DESY location websites, one of which, at Zeuthen, does indeed have a ‘Photo Injector’ test facility which produced it‘s first photoelectrons in 2002 which might have been cause for Gerald Donald to celebrate and include a reference to it here. I'll get to it in more detail later but it's worth keeping in mind while taking in the following track title breakdown that the ultimate aim of these places is to understand gravity and if one of these places ever finds a graviton it will be headline news.
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DESY also, of course, has a ‘Linear Accelerator’ which is a device for the acceleration of subatomic particles at velocities close to the speed of light. One of the many things you can find in one of these accelerators is a ‘Z-Boson’. A Z-Boson is one of the fundamental forces of nature, the "weak force", is the one responsible for some forms of nuclear radiation. (For example, it is due the weak force that uranium is radioactive.) There must be gauge bosons which explain any fundamental force: in the case of the weak force, there are three, two "W bosons" and one "Z boson". So I guess one of the reasons Donald picked it is because it’s the most obvious/stronger of the two boson types. How thoughtful of him to make it so simple for us! One of the aspects of the Z-Boson is that it makes the otherwise unobservable neutrino visible when it interacts or moves, seemingly of its own accord. It is the presence of a neutrino that scientists believe is causing this reaction in the Z-Boson. It was thought in the '20s that when neutrons decay, the only remnants were a proton and an electron. However, experiments indicated that there also had to be a charge-less and nearly mass-less particle produced as well in order to ensure that there was no energy or momentum loss. This particle was called the "neutrino" (Italian for "little neutral one"). Subsequent experiments have indicated that there are three different types, the "electron neutrino", the "muon neutrino" and the "tau neutrino". Paul assures me that Myon is spelt wrong on the album titles and it should read muon. I found a reference to a muon in relation the Z-Boson in that the Z-Boson itself is produced by the quark-antiquark annihilation and decay of an electron positron pair of opposite charged muons. This is fairly confusing I know but if you read it back it does make readable sense. Surprisingly the Z-Boson or just the Boson appears to be the key to this album as it turns out that the two bosons yet to be discovered are the Higgs boson and the Graviton. So what is a graviton, well, current theories of physics say that all of the fundamental forces we see in nature can be explained by assuming that they are caused by emission and absorption of special particles called "gauge bosons". The graviton is the gauge boson that is exchanged whenever two masses interact via gravity. But look and this is all you really need to know about the Graviton. The main purpose of particle accelerators, like the one at DESY, is to find a graviton and if and when they do it will be one big step closer to a universal theory of gravity which in turn leads us to the possibility of the theory of everything, the holy grail of this field. When collusions occur in particle accelerators at close to the speed of light and if gravitons are being produced it is theorised that they may be existing in another dimension. Which is of interest to us in our study.
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I could give you loads of future references that these terms touch on in upcoming albums but I’ll take it record by record. Incidentally his next album, 'Biometry' by Der Zyklus, doesn't even touch on this subject. I will give you a past reference I believe I missed from Dexciya’s Grava 4 though. That albums vexing unlisted track called ‘Gravity Waves’ might be a reference to a graviton or more specifically the cohesive state of many gravitons together, manifested as a gravitational wave. Which is a fluctuation in the curvature of spacetime which propagates as a wave, travelling outward from a moving object or system of objects. Examples of systems which emit gravitational waves are binary star systems, where the two stars in the binary are a ‘White Dwarf’ (track title on Shifted Phases), a neutron star or in a black hole. I’ll get to this key black hole business presently. I wonder if there could theoretically be a dimensional aspect to these gravity waves as well? I’m sure I’ve said it before but you can take DRL as a work in progress, possibly to be completed by others unknown but I feel that at least the ground work is done. You will be finding new meanings in this stuff forever and that is why their music will stand the test of time, if not musically, then certainly conceptually. There is a quote which seems appropriate to this from Heinrich Mann when he wrote of Neitzsche, "One cannot be considered present merely because one's works are still read and historically assimilated. The number of a man's adherents and imitators proves nothing for his work or its fruitfulness. What is the test? The work of a man who has passed on grows and changes; he is still finishing it from beyond. It has long since moved from the point where we once found it...".
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Moving onto that other theorised but yet to be discovered Boson, the Higgs Boson. In order to be complete and satisfying, physics must have an explanation as to why particles have the masses that we measure. The leading candidate for this explanation involves particles called "Higgs bosons", and the manner in which these particles interact with others and generate their masses is called the "Higgs mechanism". This machine, also known as the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism, Higgs-Kibble mechanism or Anderson-Higgs mechanism, was originally proposed in 1964. Peter Higgs is the UK physicist who first proposed this idea. The Higgs mechanism itself is a form of superconductivity in a vacuum. It considers all of space filled with a relativistically invariant quantum fluid called the Higgs field, whose motion prevents certain forces from propagating over long distances. Part of the Higgs field mixes with the force-carrying gauge field to produce massive gauge bosons, while the rest of the Higgs field describes a new particle, called the Higgs Boson. The Higgs mechanism is the only way an elementary vector particle, like the W or the Z can have a mass. Although the evidence for the Higgs boson is overwhelming, accelerators have yet to produce one. So it is not clear if the Higgs is an elementary or a composite particle. Mind you, that hasn’t stopped Hollywood making one work. Check out the Stephen Soderbergh’s version of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris.
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That brings us to ‘Niobium-Resonator’. Well, a resonator is a device for storing electromagnetic radiation, and niobium is a rare metal commonly used in building such devices. Resonator are vital component parts of the photoinjectors. As far as particle physicists are concerned, it might as well be gold. I found some statistics on how important this substance is for the future International Linear Collider (ILC). It will use over 500 tons of pure niobium to build 20,000 superconducting radio-frequency (rf) cavities, devices that accelerate electrons and their antimatter twins, positrons, along microwaves to near-light speeds. That means metal-refining factories would have to work at full capacity for three to four years solely to create highly-refined niobium for the ILC. Currently at three hundred dollars a pound, the niobium alone would cost the ILC upwards of three hundred million dollars. It will collide electrons with positrons. It will be between 30 km and 40 km long, more than 10 times as long as the 50 GeV Stanford Linear Accelerator, the longest existing linear particle accelerator in the world. .The country in which this monster will be located hasn’t yet been decided, it will probably be in operation by 2010 where ever it is, I wonder if Gerald Donald might do an album all about it someday? This brings me to the question, why DESY, why not CERN as he would a few years later with the next Dopplereffekt album, Calabi Yau Spaces. Maybe it’s not so much about DESY, although you could say it’s all about it, maybe it’s just a particle physics thing and the images just came from DESY this time, it could just as easily have been CERN, they do almost the same things there after all. But I am personally inclined to go with DESY this time. The picture of Gerald Donald and To Nhan Le Thi looks like their standing at the famous TESLA linear collider which was from late 2001 and early 2002 doing some of its most breakthrough work. Gerald Donald is certainly up to date with this stuff and maybe he felt that at this time DESY were the world leaders and he wanted to do a tribute or whatever to them. For example in September 2001, an international team of scientists succeeded in obtaining the maximum light amplification for ultraviolet radiation from the free-electron laser at the TESLA Test Facility. The electron laser reaches a light amplification of 10 million. This corresponds to the theoretically expected peak performance for such a device and presents a new world record. Then in March 2002, for the first time an accelerating field of 35 megavolts per meter (MV/m) is reached in a superconducting nine-cell TESLA cavity. It might not seen that interesting to the layman but it’s important stuff if your into it. CERN would make it’s own breakthroughs, not that it hadn’t already but this is down to the subjective mind of Gerald Donald and what he thinks is significant or just what had come to his attention at this time. In fact the Large Hadronic Collider (LHC), which is to be the world's highest energy particle accelerator, is currently being constructed at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland and this baby might even be able to make black holes, small ones and if it doesn't they at least hope to finally locate the illustrious Higgs Boson and graviton with it. Donald is definitely concerning himself with the frontiers of particle physics and this is where I believe his present mind is never far from. If you understand this you can understand him.
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He doesn’t seem to take a position on the rights and wrongs of this research as he did when looking at NTT DoCoMo on the debut Arpanet album and I think that he is here going back to his original Dopplereffekt stance of accepting the good and the bad aspects of new technology, science etc. Which was, in a nutshell, the double standards of former Nazi rocket scientists bringing us to the moon. Particle physics isn’t all good either, far from it, nuclear bombs and power stations, radioactive waste, maybe even a future global catastrophe awaits us in one of these accelerators, who knows, where is it really bring us? That might be a question we should be asking ourselves. Whether Donald decides to tackles these questions himself or not will be interesting to see. Right now however on this album, he does appear to be making more of a pro-statement but he might be trying to catch us out, previously on the surface he also appeared to be taking a pro-Nazi stance but on closer inspection it wasn’t quite as straight forward as that.
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The Black Hole has since this album become a big theme for Gerald Donald, from the cover of the Arpanet ‘Inertial Frame’ album, it’s a light cone aka a black hole, to the Zwischenwelt track ‘Black Hole’ to name just two examples or I’ll be here forever. He had of course shown an interest in infinity before and black-holes themselves were mentioned on the Der Zkylus II 12”, one of the questions, which are all certainly from the mind of Gerald Donald, posed on the Abstract Thought album is also about a black-hole. But here on the back of this album is a computer generated model of the top cone of just such a phenomenon. I think this is one of the things which he is now choosing to explore more thoroughly than before, what it is, what would happen if you went into one, what possibilities might it lead to, those type of questions, are some of his major concerns from this point on. What this fascination with black holes might be telling us metaphorically is another thing. Does Gerald Donald see us as being stuck in a black hole, asleep, not fully conscious of what lies just outside, another reality. Donald may be yearning for something deeper, some break-through in our knowledge of atoms, of what us and the universe are made of, which will answer everything and may give us once and for all a meaning to life. Now, I don't know about this either but you have to wonder where this research into particle physics is leading for the consciousness of Man? The question, "Who will benefit and who will suffer?", from the just previous to this Arpanet album comes to mind. Donald said when speaking of his interests in the constant advancements in mobile technology, "Evolution is their most interesting feature." I think in this way he is equally interested in what our progress and interest in particle physics and quantum mechanics says about where we are as a species than what it actually finds out about our universe. Essentially, I think in evolutionary terms he is trying to awaken a sense of awe in us. This same sense of awe which he so obviously feels about particle physics. The human psyche can be broken into two main drives, pleasure/love, which is outward and expansive, evolutionary and anxiety/fear which is inward and non-adaptive, de-evolutionary. Depending on the person then this type of awe could go either way, the pleasure of discovery or the fear of the unknown. Donald of course would want us to use it to our advantage, we just need first to get over our fear, stop ‘Running From Love’ (track from The Other People Place album), 'Don't be Afraid of Evolution' etc and then we can continue to evolve. As an artist he has certainly found a fertile ground to spark off idea's, imagery and concepts.
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The liner notes are pretty scant but an email address is given to get in touch with Donald via dataphysix at scientist.com. This was also the case for the Arpanet album which was just previous to this. So as I stated then he has decided to continue to make himself contactable by fans or for more professional reasons like remixes, bookings etc. Two websites for DESY are also listed. The images are credited as Images: Photoinjektor des Deutschen Elektronen Synchrotrons Desy Zeuthen. Which makes me think that the photo’s are mocked up as surely a photographer would have to be credited. Mind you, they do look genuine, I would love to know if they were granted access. Again, it this vein it would be interesting to know if NTT DoCoMo were made aware of the previous Arpanet album. No artwork credits are given.
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I have written elsewhere how you can break James Stinson/Drexciya into an inner personal evolution on both the early material compiled for The Quest and of course the Storm Series and that Gerald Donald’s projects can be seen as more of an impersonal, observation of evolution, concerning itself with the journey into the heart of matter, time and space, in both directions, micro (atomic level) and macro (outer space), but of course the more you go into those two extremes the more they seem the same. Although Drexciya did move into this terrain on the final Storm, Shifted Phases and their first and critical post storm album 'Grava 4. Which makes me think they were both on the same wavelength by the end, or more probably, on multiple levels of understanding at the same time. There are traces of this interest in physics dotted throughout the Drexciyan catalogue as well but it is not the driving force, more evidence of their thinking on multiple levels. I would like to think that with Donald’s move into the realm of ESP and the more esoteric avenues of Black Replica and Zwischenwelt, he is taking a step into an area that starts to possibly make a certain amount of sense at the frontiers of micro and macro knowledge. But it is a tentative step to date in some ways as he is doing it through collaboration and leaving it largely in cyber space. There’s a sort of admission on his part in this that he knows it is only a detour from his main concept, for now? But this approach might yet yield results for him, the most famous of these more head-scratching experiments, known as the double slit experiment, was done way back in 1801 by Thomas Young when he was sending photons of light through two slits and at first got a pattern of interference on a photographic plate where the light fell, but when reduced to one photon at a time it did not arrive. The question being then, how could it interfere with itself, how did it 'know' that the other slit was open and where has it disappeared to anyway? Into another dimension with the graviton? As if you now close the other slit the photon finally arrives but close it again and it disappears, this change is almost instantaneous and in space-time it actually has to be happening faster than light for it to happen because it is affecting light. What is going on? There are other experiments too where the observer affects the outcome of the experiment. Does the particle/universe know it’s being watched? Other titles on forthcoming releases will be 'EPR Effect' and 'Twin Paradox' and if you look into what they refer to then it looks more likely that the nature of these types of experiments are on Gerald Donald's mind. What things like this soon lead you to is, as I said, the possibility of there being ‘extra-dimensions’ (a phrase projected when Dopplereffekt played live last in 2007), black-holes, worm-holes and extra sensory perception to name but a few. But that all comes later, right now on this album he is still searching for a rational explanation, not that quantum mechanics is always rational!
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This almost 7000 word article, by far my longest, is testament to the old adage that the less information you have the more you have to use your imagination. Which I’m sure Donald understands very well. In this case my over zealous research and speculation has no doubt blurred the meaning of the album for you. But basically if you remember nothing else you can break it down thus. Musically it gets progressively more accessible and is the first of his albums to fully synergise subject and music; the theme is high energy physics, in particular the on-going search for the elusive graviton. There now, I should have done that in the first place!
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There is a feeling that Donald picked up the pace after this album, I don't think he was ever particularly slow but from now up to 2007 he would release an album each year which is good going by anyone’s standards. My next port of call when considering Donald again will be the debut Der Zyklus album 'Biometry' which turns out to be another side step conceptually which should serve as a warning (to me) not to think you ever have Gerald Donald totally figured out.
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The following DESY websites are given in linear notes
http://www.desy.de/
http://www.zeuthen.desy.de/

Der Zyklus - Biometry

Der Zyklus 'Biometry' came out on the Clone offshoot DUB label in 2004. This release is the first outing for Heinrich Mueller under that name since 2000 and the first as an album. Like the previous Dopplereffekt album, 'Linear Accelerator', it certainly doesn't sound like the previous releases under that name either. I also have to revert to Heinrich Mueller as this is indeed the name credited here. Not that he has ever used the name Gerald Donald on any of his releases but I will refer to him as Heinrich Mueller for this article.
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When this album first came out I was impatient to hear it and bought it on record. Maybe the CD version came out a while later as sometimes happens. While it is a very attractive artefact on double white vinyl it has always been an album I have seldom had the time needed to put into listening to it and rarely all the way through, more on this later, but I‘ll just say I would recommend having it on CD.
When I started this process of going through all the Heinrich Mueller releases in order I knew that from 'Linear Accelerator' on that I would really be pushed to describe them musically and conceptually. I feel like I succeeded with 'LA' but it took me almost 7000 words to get there. Considering it seemed such an impenetrable piece of work, particularly on the music front, to find the thread of the concept within it and how the music fitted together was a pleasant surprise. On the surface here the concept is fairly straight forward. We even are lucky enough to have a single interview done to promote it with the Polish writer Pawel Gzyl which I will quote from extensively. On the musical side however we are still in deep waters. The synergy I spoke about last time which he has developed between the music and concept is still evident here but is developing. The music is nowhere near as challenging as some of the longer tracks on 'LA' but the tracks are still not exactly easy listening either. Not that he would want it to be accessible, the whole point, to me, appears that we have to make an effort with this music, to listen more closely, to live with it for a lifetime if necessary (it's not tied to style) and ultimately to question it. In answer to just this; if we decide to ask the most obvious question of it, is this really music, he said, "There are rhythms throughout this work, everyone has a different perspective of what rhythm is. Percussion is not the only source of rhythm, waveforms are also rhythms. Patterns that repeat themselves is rhythm. No certain sound or percussive element is exclusively a rhythm, every element produces its own rhythm." He also said on this subject, “There is no single method for music development everything is considered. Whatever instigates the musical idea will be considered its stimulant. There is no formula or restrictions on methodology. Musical creation should always be free of constraints." Just to get all of this music commentary out in the open for your consideration at the beginning to he also finally said, “...the environment is the fundamental inspiration for a musical work and this embraces everything, sound, science, social structure etcetera. Inspiration has no boundaries." The way I am looking at it, with this music we are receiving an objective viewpoint of what music can be. Which is anything. It's very exciting when you think about it, music is still wide open to expand in so many different directions. It is only human beings that put restrictions and definitions on it which limit it's evolution. Rhythm is enough.
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I might as well deal with the concept first. So what exactly is biometry? Well, my favourite resource, Wikipedia, tells us that ‘Biostatistics (biological statistics) or biometry is the application of statistics to a wide range of topics in biology. It has particular applications to medicine and to agriculture. But this term has now been largely usurped by the information technology industry.’ It is this latter usurped definition which Mueller is obviously concerned with. This is all about real time personal identification by a computer data base. Either by iris scanning, facial recognition, hand geometry, fingerprint correlation etc etc. The German company, Biometric, is cited with a web site address in the artwork and there you will find the following text on their home page.
'Every human being is unique. So is his iris.
We have learned to read the iris and made it into an ID. Tamper-proof and impossible to lose.
This ID frees you from codes, cards, and keys. Just look into a special camera. Security - provided by nature. Feeling free, being secure, finding yourself. Every human being should have this opportunity. Because every human being is unique.'
You should also check out their promo video found there as well and once you get past the ‘for your convenience and keeping you safe’ crap you start to see how this technology has the potential to control your life for good or ill. What if you choose to opt out of the data base how will this affect your multiple access? When speaking previously with John Osselaer, Mueller was asked if he had any concerns about the control of people through technology. He said, “Well the concerns are that we will eventually loose our liberty because tracking and data chips will eventually sooner or later be installed in all unborn generations via world governments. I will refer these yet to be born as the GPS-generation for they will be tracked anywhere on the planet by our big brothers via satellite.” I might have called this quote slightly paranoid previously but take a look at this site and maybe its not so far away. I’ve also included here some of the, frankly laughable, images they have on their site. The other of the ‘datalinks’ found in the artwork is for another of these companies, IBG, ‘one of the biometric industry's leading consulting and technology services firm. Since 1996, IBG has provided technology-neutral, vendor-independent biometrics services, strategy, and solutions to government agencies, systems integrators, high-technology firms, and financial services organizations. IBG leverages real-world, hands-on experience with multiple biometrics - including fingerprint, face, and iris systems - to design, integrate, and deploy custom ID systems, access control, IT security, smart card, and transportation solutions.' Again, if your interested to do some research yourself the link to both these sites are at the end of article. If you do go to their site you’ll soon find them proudly proclaiming a contract with Homeland Security. Enough said! Some of you might be wondering what my problem is with this stuff, certainly representatives of those companies would. I firmly believe I should not have to rely on technology to make me feel safe and certainly not free. Of course I already trust technology not to reveal my passwords, bank details etc but I just feel that trusting these type of companies is a step too far. As I will show later, Mueller himself will expand on just this point. But while there is nothing wrong with the actual technology itself, it is rather the end motives of the people that control it that are suspect. You might say that government and state legislation already protects us from the worse aspects of them to some degree, in certain countries, but even this can change. In fact this kind of technology creates its own legislation, which is very dangerous.
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Even though I might not have listened to the album as consistently as others, I did keep coming back to it, the puzzle of it kept drawing me in. I did know it had a few ok tracks but remembering which ones they were and having to keep changing records to find them didn’t always seen worth it. To understand a little more about the synergy thing he has going on now, Mueller himself explained the music and its relation to the science of biometry thus, “The Biometric theme required a different technical perspective and the science of biometry stimulated the musical electronics. The music reflects concept of biometry. “ It’s still hard to know how exactly he squares the sounds we find on ‘Biometry’ with the subject matter of the album but we have to trust him as the artist that this is how he hears this subject in his head.
As I said, musically this album does take some measure of concentration no matter the format, which is a compliment really but the listener won't always have the time. At least ‘Linear Accelerator’ is on CD only and that made it a lot easier to make the commitment necessary to get into it. Anyway, some people might be of the opinion, especially if they haven't heard it, that this album sounds a lot like ‘LA’ but on closer comparison there is very little which is sonically similar. It does certainly have the same synergy between concept and music but the music is quite distinct, a different sonic palette is being used.
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The opener is suitably enough 'Biometery' which is very soundtrackish, think 2001: A Space Odyssey. Which is such a lazy comparison I know but it actually would fit there very well. While on this subject I see that the music here is published by Universal Music. I actually did some research into this and on their website it mysteriously doesn't list any Der Zyklus or Heinrich Mueller projects but presuming there are now people trying to place some of his music into a wider context it would appear that on a surface level a science fiction theme might suit him best. However, a director with a truly penetrating vision would I hope see its potential for a far broader interpretation. Getting back to the track ‘Biometry’ itself, it does indeed set the tone very well for the rest of the album but in some ways almost any of these tracks could have done that job just as well. Perhaps significantly or not lower case is used for all text including the track titles. So that should read ‘biometry’ really.
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‘Polar Coordinates’ starts off promisingly enough with a lovely repeating melody, soon joined by a more ominous texture, but it just as soon morphs into one of the more challenging tracks of the album. By the end of its almost 4 minutes it shows no signs of its original form. Again it could be from a soundtrack. It is obvious that Mueller is continuing to create new musical forms and I and anyone else that try’s to put them into an already existing context are wasting our time. This is music of the future or outside of time altogether, which has yet to be defined into a definitive genre or even find a use as of yet.
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‘Eigenface (facial asymetry)’ is a lot more spirited in tempo and consistent in form. I can’t imagine hearing this in a club but it is the first track so far that you might risk trying to move a crowd with. It is bare though. It has a march of the robots type feel but with some funk to it, there is a definite groove to be found in these patterns. It comes as no surprise that ‘Biometric ID’ was picked to be on the 12” released to promote the album. It creeps along in a majestically tasteful manner and could, I think, sound as good in 50 years or more. Mueller does have this ability to regularly come up with these type of timeless sounding tracks and here he has pulled off another. The lyrics are, “My personal identification number is obsolete, the biometric identification is now complete, encoded inside a microchip are the patterns of my fingertip, I use my biometric smart-card for multiple access’. This sounds like a consumer of the future! He doesn’t sound very happy though, more detached and indifferent. Next track, ‘Biometric Systems’ was also included on the 12” and is as would be expected fairly accessible. In this case it might well be my favourite. It really builds up into something approaching epic in the middle section and returns to its solid shuffle beat with sound effects. It ends with a lengthy female vocal sample which repeats itself and goes along the predictable lines of “I will place my hand on the scanner and it will compare its shape with the shape recorded in the data base, the geometry of my hand can be utilised for the purpose of identification, a tool will now -
penetrate the iris of my eye for the purpose of biometric identification.
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‘Facial Vectors’ is one of the more ‘challenging’ tracks to be found here. It appears to be of simple enough construction but doesn’t really go anywhere. It‘s nice, but more of a feeling than a complete thought, which does of course give it its place in the context of an album. ‘Hand Geometry’ comes as a real shock at this stage mid point of the album. The opening sounds literally jarring you to attention. It does contain an element from ‘Linear Accelerator’ towards the end to my ears. It sounds almost like the disintegration of a track with a suitably sudden ending. ‘Recognition Time’ is rather harsh sounding as well, another track which has been brutalised, although in this case atomised seems the right term. It changes, not once but twice into other tracks altogether with completely new sets of sounds. Something which Mueller has been increasingly doing up to today since ‘LA’. The third and final part of the track has for me the most to recommend it. Very micro, without the house. Interestingly on the record these last three tracks all occupy the same side (C) and they do seem to fit together in their own disjointed fashion. Some insight to his approach to these tracks in particular can be gleamed from this quote, “Electronic music is based on science and the scientific method is utilized in its creation. Theories and hypothesis are put forth and if they are practical and plausible they will be tested to verify them. Some theories work and some don't, but no theory is considered too abstract. All is considered. The more radical the better.” This is some radical shit alright!
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‘Iris/Retinal Scanning’ has a very difficult beat which forces your body and mind to conform to new steps. Predictably I think it’s worth the effort though with some lovely atmospheric textures emerging after awhile even though the difficult beat doesn’t let up. ‘Optical Fingerprint Correlation’ is yet another track which takes on a different form within its time frame. The latter section however is amazing all on its own. It’s very reverby with a wide variety of sounds but is over all too quickly in my opinion. ‘4000 Irises (2000) Persons Max)’ has a nagging rhythm which oddly sticks in your head. Some disturbing sound frequencies move in and out of the mix of which everyone will have their own interpretation but mine is disembodied dead digital souls! It is a scary way to bring the album to a close. Maybe, if he’s saying anything at all with this final track, is that not all is not well with this technology.
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A bit of minutiae to deal with next. Alden Tyrell is credited for his masterful mastering services. I mention it only as I think it’s the first time this information has been noted. Alden is a well respected Dutch artist and DJ himself with releases on Clone and Viewluxx to his credit. Also in sleeve notes we find that the project was ‘developed 2003/2004‘. On the subject of timeframes he said, “There was no time frame in which work had to be completed, when the concept is comprehensive then it is considered complete. Time tables are not a part of our working ethos."
Also a 12" came out to promote the album which was quite bare in the additional artwork department and simply reproduces two of the tracks found here and like a sucker I bought it a month or so before the album came out!
The artwork is really well done, some of the images are credited with coming courtesy of one of the companies already mentioned, the German one, Byometric Systems. On the record label the reproduction is very dark and most of the detail is lost. On the CD however you can see the full images and they are very effective. The cover itself is really good, a green lighted head shot of a female going presumably through her facial recognition test. Lines marked X and Y separating the 4 quadrants of her face and lines A, B and C measuring distance between her irises and the tip of her nose. It is a very ghostly image it has to be said. She looks to me like To Nhan Le Thi from ‘Gesamtkunswerk’ era Dopplereffekt and more recently from live appearances as Der Zyklus and Dopplereffekt. The other picture with a person where we only see the back of a males head and part of his face is not Mueller but some guy from Biometrics archive. It is a negative image, touched up with more green, as is the text, and it looks similar to promo stuff the company currently have on their site so maybe as I said it’s one of the pictures they got from them and was adapted to fit the artwork. The other two images probably do come from the company. The one with the eye close-up has a design superimposed with mathematical symbols surrounding it which look pretty cool. All of the timings for each tracks are given in seconds which ties in very well with the precise nature of the subject.
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For sure with this album he is continuing to mine a very productive interface between science/technology and music. He has found the perfect muse for himself. He said of this source of inspiration in relation to creating art, “To a certain extend you could say this. It takes skill and improvisation to unlock the hidden secrets of the natural world. Science has a beauty all its own. Science and art always interface to create something new and innovative. Take electronic music for instance, this is the perfect example of the science and art interface. The term art has many connotations.” As I said, this is the third release attributed to Der Zyklus, after a fairly substantial 4 year gap from the previous 12” on Gigolo. Not that timeframes as we know have ever been a major concern of Mueller. Speaking to Pawel Gzyl he said of this album, “This is the latest theme within this conceptual template.” So in the mind of Heinrich Mueller there is definitely a common conceptual template between all the Der Zyklus releases to date. I would personally plumb for this theme to be simply the progress of science/technology. Der Zyklus means the circle/cycle and perhaps in this context could mean the cycle of life which really brings us back to evolution but then most things ultimately do. I just mean Mans evolving knowledge of science and technology. I think that Mueller is conscious of the fact that we should remember that as we progress in matters of the head, technically and scientifically, we should be mindful of regressing in the sphere of the heart, emotionally and spiritually. He said on this subject, “Science and technology are not perilous at all, its the people that control it that are dangerous. Atomic energy does not threaten our very existence it’s the powers that be and other subversive elements that make it threatening. We are our own worst enemy, not science and technology. People always finger-point inventions when their masters should be the ones that are singled out. Machines don't make decisions (at least not now) human beings do.” But this is of course a cycle itself which is leading us we know not where. Biometry is viewed by its proponents as a means to a utopia of safeness and perversely, freedom. Again we will all have our own opinions on this but where is this particular evolutionary cycle of science and technology leading us? I feel sure that Heinrich Mueller is asking a very subtle variation on this same question.
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I’ve also said this before that Mueller is playing a dangerous game by not explaining his motives more widely. By seemingly on the surface flirting with Nazi imagery in the past and now glorifying the tools of control he appears on the surface, which is about as far as most people will delve, to actually be to some degree condoning these things as they currently exist. While he is in fact glorifying the technology he is paradoxically making a statement about the uses it is put to. You only have to read his own words for this to be soon self-evident and I hope I have succeeded in showing this. It is hard therefore to understand why he only spoke with one obscure Polish webmag on this subject. He may have faith that someone like me and others will pick up on it but while my own readership is wider than I ever thought possible it would soon be dwarfed if he started speaking more widely to print magazines and the like. Presuming they would be interested to talk with him, maybe I have too much faith also? He obviously has a strong opinion and while he’s under no obligation to express it far and wide if he does ever choose to go down that road it would spark more debate on this subject than his music has to date. But who’s to say, his more subtle approach might pay off in the longer term, it will just take a long time to get his point across to people. Drexciya obviously understood that the revelation of the Storm Series was more powerful if you discovered it for yourself, also leaving it open to be interpreted in different ways, but this particular point of Mueller’s is much more specific and could be expanded upon by him without ruining any mystery.
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There is also another theme or pattern continued with this album also. Which is the referencing of a specific commercial or otherwise company as part subject matter. Namely; mobile communications (NTT DoCoMo), high energy physics (DESY) and now biometry (Biometric Group). There has also been a descending order of how to the fore these companies are featured as well with the latter reduced to some images and datalinks. But it is a new element that is present that was not before. This introduction of a real world element to music which is usually a medium of escapist subjectivism is interesting, but not original. It may reveal how Mueller would like to have his music viewed, not as frivolous but important, vital even. In that it's about real things, a kind of commentary on how we are evolving. Maybe it means nothing more than what it is, on the surface, but it does make it somehow more legitimate. But that is the great thing about art, we will all find different things. But we must remember that what we do find is there, whether Mueller in this case put it there intentionally or not but the level of importance which we give those things will always be total speculation on our parts.
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This final Mueller quote about science sums up pretty well why this subject is so close to his heart and why he is still pursuing it to this day, “Well science is a body of knowledge that mankind has accumulated over the ages about the natural world, the greater universe. We use this knowledge to gain command over nature for the progress and benefit of the human race. Science is imperative for our survival and progress, so I would not say its fascinating but more essential.” His next essential release will needless to say be my next port of call.
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http://www.byometric.com/
http://www.biometricgroup.com/
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Further Research
http://www.siam.org/news/news.php?id=309
http://aix1.uottawa.ca/~jkhoury/eigenfaces.htm
 

Arpanet - Quantum Transposition

"Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it."
Neils Bohr
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Arpanet released their second album, 'Quantum Transposition', in 2005 on the Rephlex label. For me, getting to the stage of reviewing this album in particular is a bit of a landmark as it was the first new release by Gerald Donald after I began doing DRL. It has therefore taken me just over three years to catch up to where he was exactly the same length of time ago! But I did have roughly 15 years of releases to get through, not to mention miscellaneous articles. I'm quite happy never to catch up with him entirely though, this is music, particularly an album like this, that you shouldn’t rush into assessing. He still has something of a head start anyway with quite a few releases and MySpace projects for me to consider so I would still be doing well to reach him even now. The text information on the sleeve and labels is pretty scant this time, without any name credited with writing or production. I will have to revert to calling him Gerald Donald for this article then.
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Again I went for the vinyl option when getting this album (will I ever learn!) and with two records to get through it is not surprising for someone like myself who has obviously gotten out of the habit of playing vinyl that it has been an album that I only listened to rarely after I first got it. Although one of the more positive things about having an album on vinyl is that it can be more of an occasion when you do put it on, plus you will more than likely be hearing it on a reasonable home sound system at your ease and not just on the portable machine in the kitchen when your making dinner! This is music which does deserve attention anyway as if you don’t know already, it follows on in the ‘Linear Accelerator’ template. I suppose at the time yeah it was still a surprise to see that another of his previously more accessible projects had also now gone down the same path as Dopplereffekt and Der Zyklus. Interestingly the previous Arpanet album, 2002’s ’Wireless Internet’, was the final album he did with his earlier more accessible style. Updating this project as well, after he had updated the Dopplereffekt and Der Zyklus templates, also marked once and for all his commitment and fulltime move into making these brave new sounds. The choice of label was also a bit of a surprise at the time but shouldn‘t have been. Even though the last Arpanet album had been on the French label Record Makers, who he would incidentally return to for the release of the next Arpanet album, he was obviously under no contract or obligation to them and ended up with the UK label founded by Aphex Twin and Grant Wilson-Claridge. Rephlex had previously released the Drexciya 3 12” and also the final Transllusion album and 12”from the Storm Series. This is a relationship which continues to this day with Dopplereffekt’s 2007 ‘Calabi Yau Space’ album and Heinrich Mueller remixes for their label. It would be interesting to know how lucrative it is for a label to have one of his releases on their catalogue these days but kudos wise it is no doubt desirable. The people behind Rephlex are definitely fans of his music as well though so it is probably a bit of an honour for them as well. Although I have a feeling that there wouldn’t be too many established labels chasing his output he appears to have a small core of European labels he continues to work with which I hope will continue to be receptive to him when it comes to finding a home for his latest releases.
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Thematically this album is more of a follow up to ‘Linear Accelerator’, it’s back to cutting edge science after the previous detour of real time identity matching on the Der Zyklus ‘Biometry’ album. But musically it progressives on from both those albums very smoothly indeed.
The first four tracks on the album are all short pieces which are tracks yes but not as you would normally know them. 'Innershell Shielding' begins the album with a slow tempo procession of weird but complimentary sounds. It has an inhuman quality somehow too, of course it is electronic music but it lacks the human touch somehow. It is certainly one of the darker tracks on the album as well which could be a statement in itself. 'Planck Factor' is much different template-wise featuring a swirling mass of high pitched electronics. I would hesitate to call it a track, again, more of a mood than a whole piece. It comes in at 1 min 36. Next comes 'Entangled Photons' which does quicken the pace but is basically a nice sounding loop coming in at just the 1 min 25 sec mark. 'Heisenberg Compensation' follows and while I said that the opener was dark, well this one would give even it a run for its money. It almost reaches the 2 minute mark at 1 min 50 sec. We are actually getting into Black Replica/Zwischenwelt territory here to my ears, which might make more sense later in the article. This first group of tracks definitely belong together, united on the surface level by their short length and sequence, but also by the unsettling mood they collectively inspire. This will turn out to be a spooky enough sounding album anyway, so this opening suite kind of lets us know that in advance. It is also a completely instrumental album unlike the previous Arpanet album and its follow up.
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The first full length track is 5, 'Ionic Crystals'. This goes back and forth between melody and abrasion with a layer of what will have to pass for a beat on top. A few other textures of synth do emerge as the track progressives. Without these extra touches it would have been sort of throw away which is telling you we are dealing with some pretty minimal production, it just about works.
'Entrophic Decay' in contrast has huge reverb soaked beats topped off with more outer space textures slowly emerging from the ether. We can imagine being sucked into a black-hole. This is again unsettling, interesting as well but the mood is definitely one of unease. In my notes for this article I wrote down 'classic' after 'Probability Densities' and yeah it is one of my personal favourites on the album. Whether it is one of Gerald Donald’s best though, probably not. Again the tempo is slow but that beat is still somehow the driving force. There are loads of different touches exhibited here as the track progresses. Towards the end almost everything falls away to be rejoined by the driving beat and it is a wonderful moment. It is kind of delicate and you have to almost will it along, like at the point I just described but it rewards that effort on your part.
'Orbital Wavelengths' is has to be said is also amazing. The beat is again the most important aspect, it has an incredible rhythm, almost so different as to justify the formation of its own new dark electronic genre. The other sounds on it are sparse for sure but somehow it is just enough to hold it together and work. The end is unusual, suddenly slowing right down for a few more bars to an echo. This has to be my other favourite on the album.
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'Information Quanta' also has tempo changes but this time it is one of the main elements used throughout the track. The beats are fully present and correct on this one as well, but they drop out a lot in-between the large variety of sounds which play the melody. It is a bit all over the place but not in that morphing into completely other sounding tracks that was evident on the previous two albums, ‘LA’ and ‘Biometry‘. Interestingly that never happens on this album, which shows that he is approaching it in a different and distinct way to the others. He will in the future go back to this morphing thing but for now he is taking a break from it and the tracks remain consistent in content.
'EPR Effect' is tightly wound and uncurls right out of the gate only to retract again as the tempo slows up. The tempo changes a lot on this one as well. With all this tempo changing going on in these tracks Gerald Donald is obviously trying to make a point. I will speculate on this later but it is one of the things which gives this album it’s own distinct feel. I get a clockwork/time vibe from how it sounds as well. This might tie in with the title which again I’ll get to later. If 'Quantum State Recombination' had some vocals it could almost be from the early Dopplereffekt era. It definitely has elements of that more accessible period but for all of that it is sort of disappointing. It’s kind of stuck somehow and doesn’t really go anywhere interesting for me. It rattles along and sustains interest but is ultimately a bit empty.
'Wave Function' is another one of those original sounding tracks that might in a parallel dimension have its own underground musical genre. Its melody gets into your head but it’s also of another delicate and slight construction. It’s rare that you can say that Gerald Donald’s music reminds you of something you’ve heard before but on this track and one of the earlier ones I got a Polygon Window feel (one of the more ambient PW tracks). It is strongest on this track for sure, just one of the layers of sound here is doing it to me. I’m talking about a project by Richard D James aka Aphex Twin (him again), an album he did called ‘Surfing on Sine Waves’ in 1992 on Warp as part of their ground-breaking ‘Artificial Intelligence’ series. This album would still be in my ‘top ten favourite albums of all time’ if I was a true Nick Hornby type. You kind of wonder if Donald listens to anyone else’s music at all or does he still, like James Stinson said in his interviews, shut down from outside influences when doing music. It would be interesting to know what he listens to himself when not in the studio but unless and until he chooses to share this information with the public we won’t know.
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A bit of a surprise next in that 'Isotopic Balance' uses the same or almost the same melody from the previous track. It does have loads of those tempo changes and stops which does make it a kind of remix really. It is quite different from ‘Wave Function’ alright but the melody is actually the same. But I don’t think we should report him to the trading standards board just yet! He did do something like this once before, interestingly on the previous Arpanet album with two tracks which were only slight variations on the other, ’I-Mode’ and ’NTT Do Co Mo’. Maybe at this point with Arpanet he had a running theme going? Some people would find this a bit of a cheat really but I’ll forgive him, some people only have one track and spend their whole career rewriting it. He might also be making a point about how many directions a track or anything can evolve in and that might tie in partly with the conceptual side of the album which I’ll get to. All the variables.
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'Uncertainty Principle' is the only one which you think is really about to morph in an ‘LA’ way at any moment but it just about holds its form together. It moves along at quite a click with a solid and insistent beat with lots of drop outs to just soundscape textures. The end has no beats and is all soundscape. It’s pleasant, not one of the high points but a reasonable track and quite distinct from the others in certain ways.
'Variables' is a lovely way to end the album, it has a familiarity about it somehow, like an old friend that comes to greet you after the confusing dark ride this album has been. It is still in keeping with the album however. It's a simple enough loop based track, a kind of final reprieve for us at the end. It has loads of ghostly sounds throughout but in a way is quite upbeat. Again I couldn’t think of any particular artist but it does have an element of that kind of lo-fi clockworky electronica that was popular a few years ago, just an element though. Although it is almost 4 minutes long it does kind of remind you of the first four tracks which were setting a tone or mood. It kind of wakes you up again and reassures. This goes to show how subjective this all is anyway, you might have a totally different and equally legitimate view of the album.
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To sum up the musical feel of the album I would have to repeat that it is dark, foreboding and uneasy. Just listen to the end of 'Uncertainty Principle' or the eerie tones of 'EPR Effect' to pick just two random examples, but basically they all share this feeling more or less. Even someone over at Warpmart picked up on this, they describe it as a “set of gothic futurist vignettes”, which would be a pretty close description of Black Replica. I like it, it has a mood and is very listen able in the main, even accessible. I think the music ties in very well with what I think he is trying to communicate to us here. Of course you could say that all of Gerald Donald's could be interpreted as dark but I think this is by far his blackest statement to date and that he is making a point along those lines. As you have already seen the track titles look more like the glossary of a science book than anything but once you start to understand what they are referring to it begins to make sense.
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The album title itself to be honest doesn’t tell us a lot at this stage. So, what is Quantum Transposition anyway? Actually it is a term that I struggled to locate but I have deduced that it is about the fact that a quantum can swap two elements of a set. Very revealing I know! If you didn’t already know, the subject here is quantum theory and if you only remember that this simply assumes that energy and radiation are in the form of packets and that quantum mechanics is the method of analysing the universe using that assumption then that is an achievement. I’m really afraid of losing people at this stage but please stick with it! Gerald Donald has really taken a leap into the unknown from this point onwards and going deeper and sharing my findings with people is what DRL is all about so joining him there is the only route to take. I agree that this is a crazy subject for music but only by normal standards, but when you understand it, it is actually a perfect match. You can still get into it of course without going to this level of analysis, just play the music.
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Although this has been a very successful theory owing to the fact it has yet to be disproved and might not take that much bravery for him to get behind. But with ‘LA’ he was still dealing with emerging hard science, getting close to the fringes of the unknown yes but still working on information which was emerging from the DESY centres and others. Although the ultimate objective of ’LA’ is the elusive Higgs particle, which is itself only theorised about. This subject matter is very much a counter balance to that. Here he is diving into a whole other, purely theoretical area, no matter how long it has managed to be disproved. I wonder if Donald had any doubts himself about this? Thankfully he took that step and like Drexciya before, who when the whole underwater thing was getting predictable, for themselves as well as us, they began the Storm Series. In the same way he too has evolved his themes of science and technology to the frontiers of science and beyond. Black-holes and ESP are a long way from cellular phones and simulated sex! Although as I’ve said in the past he is well capable of working on different themes simultaneously.
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One big clue which would not have made much sense at the time is printed only on the CD itself where there is an equation. He’s crafty alright, what about the poor vinyl people or is this some comment on preferring digital?! The Ψ symbol, used just a year later by Black Replica, is the first character of it. This gives us a whole new context for it, one beyond mere speculation. The symbol in the context of Black Replica certainly still represents the Greek word psi which represents the word or study of psychology as discussed before. But what it also now clearly represents is the Ψ particle. I couldn’t find if the equation on the CD represents this particle but it led me to investigate the connection between the symbol and physics. The particle was discovered in 1974 by a group led by Burton Richter at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Centre, who named it the Ψ particle. Unbeknownst to then, at about the same time in November 1974, the team of Samuel Ting at the Brookhaven National Laboratory found the same signal. They had dubbed their particle, J. It is now commonly known as J/Ψ and has remained a particle which has been studied intensively ever since. So important was this discovery that they jointly received the 1976 Nobel Prize. Why did the first group call it after a Greek letter you might ask? The odd coincidence was that a computer reconstruction of the decay of a J/Ψ particle looks just like the Greek letter Ψ. Wikipedia said this about it, "The J/ψ is a subatomic particle, a flavour-neutral meson consisting of a charm quark and a charm anti-quark. Mesons formed by a bound state of a charm quark and a charm anti-quark are generally known as "charmonium". The J/ψ is the first excited state of charmonium (i.e, the form of the charmonium with the second-smallest rest mass). The J/ψ has a rest mass of 3096.9 MeV/c 2, and a mean lifetime of 7.2×10-21 s. This lifetime was about a thousand times longer than expected." I think that Gerald Donald was struck, just like the scientists were, that the decay of this particle should take such a distinct shape. That something more was going on here, something unknown. I think this is a great symbol to use then if you want to start to begin dealing with just these unknowns of physics. Like for example why the observation of certain experiments influence the outcome. Erwin Schrondinger, one of the originators of quantum mechanics said, “Subject and object are only one. The barrier between them cannot be said to have broken down as a result of recent experiments in the physical sciences, for this barrier does not exist.“ We are now in an area which ultimately leads us to the belief that we are all connected, that the Universe is all. Where heretofore unexplained things like ESP begin to make sense. This has got to be a subject he needed to explore separately but in tandem to his more straight science related theme. This album therefore is the splitting point of his thoughts on this subject. But they are related really but perhaps he felt as an artist that they needed to be treated as different things for now.
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With the use of certain titles, doubt is beginning to be introduced. On the surface, titles like 'Uncertainty Principle', 'Probability Densities' and 'Variables' speak for themselves. The 'EPR Effect', better known as the EPR Paradox and also known in scientific circles as 'The Pandora's Box of Modern Physics', deals with just this uncertainty as well. This is a famous thought experiment dreamed up by Albert Einstein, Boris Podolonsky and Nathan Rosen in a 1935 paper which was originally trying to prove that quantum theory was not complete. But in fact it truly was a Pandora’s Box because when you brought their two objects going in different directions which can’t possibly affect each other, they can only be affected by local causes, down to the level of the photon for example(’Entangled Photons’), strange things start happening. They appear to have an intelligence, appearing to have a connection to the other, if one is caused to spin so does the other, instantaneously! Now you can see why Neils Bohr felt as he did about this subject, "Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it." This flies in the face of only local causes effecting their independent movement. Similarly ‘Planck Factor’ is relating to the German physicist Max Plank who came up with the ‘Planck Constant’ or ‘Planck’s Quantum Principle‘, which I presume he must be referring to. Quantum mechanics itself developed from this theory and Heisenberg’s ‘Uncertainty Principle’. Planck’s Principle stated that light can be emitted or absorbed only in discrete quanta whose energy is proportional to their frequency.
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‘Entangled Photons’ deserves its own paragraph as this is one of the specialities of Anton Zeilinger who is credited with providing the cover image. The sleeve credits him with being based at the Institute of Experimental Physics at the University of Vienna. Obviously we are meant to follow this up if we want to go deeper. I have included a link to his biog at the base of this article for you to do just that. Reading from it I also presume that what we are looking at on the cover is another of his fields of research, atom optics. But I may be wrong here on this. This is from his biog, “In 1990, Zeilinger became Professor of Physics at the University of Innsbruck. He took the opportunity to start two lines of research. One concerned entangled photons, the other, because of the limited possibilities with neutrons, atom optics. He developed a number of ways to coherently manipulate atomic beams, many of which, like the coherent energy shift of an atomic De Broglie wave upon diffraction at a time-modulated light wave, have become cornerstones of today’s ultracold atom experiments.” There is too much to write about him here but as far as we are concerned, Donald is well aware of his work, he has probably had some limited contact with him as well to secure the cover image. This subject also brings me to the title, ‘Probability Densities’, which provide a framework in quantum photodetection, which if the album cover is not what I said it was then more than likely this is what is going on.
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Another person, non living alas, which is central to this album is Werner Heisenberg. For it is he who came up with the ‘Uncertainty Principle’ which is the statement that locating a particle in a small region of space makes the velocity of the particle uncertain; and conversely, that measuring the velocity of a particle precisely makes the position uncertain. We are back to the observer and the observed again. His ‘Heisenberg Compensation’ theory also gets a name check. This is said to remove uncertainty from subatomic measurements. I found a reference to this in a Star Trek context by the way. It’s is said to be how their transporter works, wasn’t this called the hollo deck? This is the second time a Star Trek reference could possibly be drawn from his work. Gerald Donald may be a Trekky. The previous one was strangely in connection to the last Arpanet album as well! See that article for more on this subject.
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‘Ionic Crystals’ are a crystal consisting of ions bound together by their electrostatic attraction and they are indeed used in quantum mechanics experiments. ‘Orbital Wavelengths’ brought me to consider that particles and waves are properties of the same identity. That quantum mechanics treats electrons as waves and that wave properties are more than the particle properties of electrons. At that point I said, “Deep enough”! Although they are related to ‘Wave Function’, which is a mathematical tool used in quantum mechanics to describe any physical system.
‘Innershell Shielding’ was a tough one to find a specific meaning for but I think it’s safe to just take a literal one from it for now. It’s probably part of some piece of experimental equipment. ‘Information Quanta’ is literal enough also, (quanta is plural of quantum). ’Quantum State Recombination’ is again literal enough, it’s the experimental process of putting quanta back together. ’Isotopic Balance’ in the context of quantum mechanics I’m not sure if it does fit but an isotope is a chemical element, of which there are many different types. To have a balance might be important for some experiment or other to do with this subject. Maybe someone else knows and that goes for any more details or even corrections you can make here. ‘Variables’ has got to refer to hidden variables in this context. Hidden variable theories were espoused by a minority of physicists who argued that the statistical nature of quantum mechanics indicated that it is incomplete. Einstein, the most famous proponent of hidden variables, famously insisted that, "I am convinced God does not play dice." This meant that he believed that physical theories must be deterministic to be complete.
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I‘ve left this title till last as although it does have a slight quantum connection it also I believe points to what is coming next. ‘Entropic Decay’ surprisingly brings in Donald’s interest in black-holes to this subject. I found this revealing text in reference to it online, “While it is the case that entropy tends toward collapse, physicists have also shown that ultimate collapse into black holes creates its own form of entropic decay in the evaporation of the black hole. This occurs because “information” is not destroyed so much as randomised when energy is crunched into the black hole. But, since energy retains its curious quantum properties of indeterminacy, at the boundary of the black hole, the question of whether it is “within” or “without” results in a gradual “leakage” until it evaporates. Consequently, energy neither being created nor destroyed means also that the information is neither created nor destroyed.” This subject will be followed up in later releases but unless I’m wrong this is the reference he is making. It may either have an evolutionary meaning as well, which would be of the inevitable social decline and degeneration of all living mammals. But I think the former is correct. I couldn’t find any direct reference to this term in relation to quantum mechanics. This may be the link to the next album, again an Arpanet release, ‘Inertial Frame’, which we will see is very much black-hole centred, pardon the pun. Somewhere in these titles, perhaps this one, there might be a meaning as to why he made a point of having all the changes of tempo. I think it ties in alright, unpredictability, time stretching, that kind of thing.
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It’s interesting and entertaining to see the actual Arpanet tracks come up now when you look for these terms on search engines. I wonder what researchers in this field make of it all! I must say that in trying to track down some of these titles they are either slightly off what they are normally known by or fairly abstractly related to the subject. I don’t know if this is to hinder the research of the layman but it does have that effect. It must be said, although I don’t for an instant believe Donald to be in the least cynical about this, but it would be possible for someone making this type of music to simply go to the glossary of a book on Quantum Mechanics or whatever subject it was supposed to be ‘about’ and simply pick the titles at random from it. Maybe this is why Donald went to so much trouble so that he couldn’t be accused of this. While there is always a danger of cynical deception when dealing with instrumental concept albums we ultimately have to trust the artist. Although I could think of a few examples of visual as well as musical artists that just tack on a load of rubbish to give their latest ‘effort’ a bit more meaning. Why I and usually everybody else notices this for the pastiche it is though is because it is blindingly obvious that the style does not match the substance. Donald on this showing certainly has the substance alright and the style also matches up.
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As I said already the artwork is pretty much just a cover image, a full colour photo courtesy of Anton Zeilinger as the credits state. The subject being at my best guess atom optics or photodetection. I presume the V and H on the instruments represent vertical and horizontal. When I saw this cover fairly small online it looked like an aerial view of a live concert or something. I was surprised when I finally got to see it close up. It is a great cover though, perfectly complimenting the subject matter. On the CD and the record labels for some reason Arpanet is written in either Russian or some weird font. Prefiguring Zerkalo, who knows, I’m tired?! After all that, the sad reality is that I feel I have barely scratched the surface of this album! But that is good, it’s mysteries are safe to continue intriguing us for another day.
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To sum up. Gerald Donald’s interest in the search for the Higgs particle has reached it’s logical conclusion in reaching the new frontier of quantum mechanics. You could read this as a balance between the known and the unknown aspects of science if you wish. You can also take it as the point where he splits his subject into another path of interest which will soon lead him toward Black Replica/Zwischenwelt and interests like ESP and the occult. But black-holes are also still pulling him too.
 
 
 

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