Drexciya - Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller IV

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  • Clone has handled their Drexciya reissue campaign commendably. They've made coherent LPs out of the duo's earliest records (eight EPs released on different labels from 1992 through '97), fitting in unreleased material along the way without disrupting the original narrative—which, in case you didn't know, concerns a race of sea-people descended from pregnant slaves thrown into the Atlantic ocean. The Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller series has taken the newly unearthed "Unknown Journey" tracks and sprinkled them throughout, adding them to the story like an expanded director's cut of the original series. The fourth and final compilation rounds up the remaining bits and, crucially, features five new tracks that should get Drexciya obsessives salivating. You might assume that the well had run dry by compilation number four, but to Clone's credit, the tracks here don't feel like cold leftovers. In fact, maybe they've been saving the best for last—two of Stinson and Donald's most epic tracks, "Mantaray" and "Hydro Cubes," finally surface on IV. The latter is basically the epitome of the Drexciya style, with synths that actually sound like turbulent sea waves cresting. The straight-up techno of the neglected gem "Black Sea," originally released on Warp in 1995, makes a nice counterpoint to the electro sound they're most associated with, and hints at the more open-ended direction they would begin to take with 1998's Neptune's Lair. If you're invested enough in Drexciya for four compilations in three years, you're probably more interested in the "Unknown Journey" tracks. These sit comfortably with the duo's legacy, though a few, like the acidic jam "IX" and the pitch-shifting "X," are a little inconsequential. The meatier ones stand up to any of the classic tracks—"VIII" is especially gorgeous, with its shimmering pads and almost regal procession, a rare moment of grace for the duo. "VII," meanwhile, drives home their oft-forgotten pop capabilities with an earworm of a bassline. There's a wealth of material that followed where Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller leaves off—if this is your first brush with the world of Drexciya, you're overdue to check out Neptune's Lair and the Storm series, where their music beings to take different forms than the rawer electro on display here. But for an easily digestible chunk of one of the richest discographies in electronic music, Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller is as close to perfect as anything could be.
  • Tracklist
      01. Intro (The Unknown Aquazone) 02. Depressurization 03. Water Walker 04. Mantaray 05. Unknown Journey VI 06. Unknown Journey VII 07. Unknown Journey VIII 08. Living on the Edge 09. Hydro Cubes 10. Unknown Journey IX 11. Unknown Journey X 12. Aquatic Bata Particles 13. (Unknown Interlude) 14. Black Sea 15. Sighting in the Abyss 16. The Last Transmission