Rafal_Kosmos – Drexciya

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJMWzHe1vXQ

Drexciya was—and still remains—an enigma. No longer creating music, Drexciya was an electronic music group active in the early-mid 90s based out of Detroit, Michigan. James Stinson—who passed away in 2002—is their only known member, though Gerald Donald (techno producer and artist) is also usually associated with them.

Why don’t we know who they are? Because they’ve never shown their faces. They’ve never been photographed, and even though they’ve been interviewed (only a few times), they wore masks and, in some, had their voices dubbed over.

Drexciya’s music can best be described as “Electro” or “Techno.” Tracks center around a drum machine and incorporate bass, melodies, and synths. It’s rumored that they recorded tracks while playing instruments live and used sequencing methods—all pretty cut-rate music technology for the time.

They were a part of the Underground Resistance collective, “the baddest group of sonic electronic warriors in the world.”

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                     The past + the future // Invasion + Escapism 

So how does this relate to Afrofuturism?

Drexciya is more than just a Detroit-based Techno group—their music comes along with a story. As revealed in album notes for The Quest (1997), “Drexciya” is the name of an underwater country populated by the unborn children of African women thrown off of middle passage slave ships that learned to breathe underwater in the womb.

What?

Yeah.

Critic Kodwo Eshun talks a lot about Drexciya’s role in the Afrofuturist movement. In his article “Further Considerations of Afrofuturism,” he says that Afrofuturism

“focuses on someone who is at odds with the apparatus of power in society and whose profound experience in one of cultural dislocation, alienation and estrangement”(298).

Their entire narrative is based on a historical event that forever changed the lives of African Americans in the United States—the middle passage.

Drexciya invaded the past, twisted it around and created a new present and future that attempts to dislocate and escape (both physically to a new place and metaphorically for a new experience).

 

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