Techno Week After-Bonus: “Darthouven Fish Men”
While techno’s origin closely entwined itself with a kind of bleak futurism, the duo Drexciya takes its mechanical fascinations from the concrete jungles to underwater metropolises. Every EP represents another part in an evolving, serial account of Drexciya, an underwater “liquid dystopia” populated by mutant beings. The track above comes from The Journey Home EP, released in 1995. Though it shares the machined aesthetic that stamps all early Detroit techno and other instances of the genre that follow in its wake, it has a menacing quality all its own. Shorn of many of the bells and whistles typically associated with dance music, it maintains a mysterious aspect while retaining its ability to move you on the floor. While I’m not sure I entirely buy––or understand––this article from The Wire, this particular passage tickles my fancy, and makes for a good conclusion in our journey through the dark tunnels of techno. Humanity and machine have never been closer friends––or more bitter enemies––and techno is our way of wresting control back, at least as long as a night in the club can last. Drexciya submerges us in an aquatic world fraught with peril and semi-human terror. The least we can do is enjoy our time there.
“But Drexciya know better. For them, Techno’s electrification of consciousness is a world historical event in the machinic mutation of modern life. As imperceptible as the Net once was, Techno is an evolutionary phase shift in African-American history and therefore in the coevolution of humans and machines.”