Pitched somewhere between the Afro-Futurism of his previous work as half of Drexciya and a looser, more classically Detroit techno aesthetic, James Stinson’s Transllusion project was originally released at the start of the millennium as part of a year-long ‘Drexciyan Storm’ which encompassed full Drexciyan material and ended with Stinson’s astounding ‘Lifestyles Of The Laptop Café’ as The Other People Place. Long out of print and unobtainable, the Transllusion records have been known to change hands for upwards of £100 as fans searched out every available crumb in the wake of his untimely death in 2002.
‘Mind Over Positive and Negative Dimensional Matter’ represents three tracks available of vinyl (and digitally) for the first time and were originally bonus recordings of the CD version of the album ‘Opening Of the Cerebral Gate’, also recently re-released and for which this EP acts as a companion piece. Anyone looking for a review of that should check out Terminal 313’s recent coverage over on his site.
While there are obviously many elements to the music that recall Drexciya’s almost unique blend of techno and electro, Transllusion is perhaps a less elemental take on the genre that Stinson and Gerald Donald almost single-handedly invented. Where Donald’s solo work as Dopplereffekt, Arpanet, Japanese Telecom and a host of others is often dark, mood-hugging and claustrophobic, Transllusion feels beguilingly open, perhaps more free from the constraints that must have been great as a member of such a legendary outfit. While no one could really claim that the three tracks on offer here are anything less than a fully realised vision of Detroit electro, each of them seems somehow softer, more rounded perhaps; mind music in a way Drexciya did not always seem to be.
Of the three tracks on offer here, it is Disrupted Neural Gateway that comes closest to providing a link to his previous work in Drexciya. It is, like so much of the Drexciyan canon, a darkly atmospheric work out replete with the taut breakbeats that defined so much of their material. A boiling furnace of stabbing chords and superheated pads, it stalks with a brooding, protean menace that most electro has never learned.
The other two tracks offer a differing, but equally exciting glimpse at a vision that was so tragically cut off in its prime. Power of the Third Brain is a sucker punching slice of Motor city techno that owes much to Underground Resistance or Suburban Knight in its prowling, barely restrained potency. The individual notes of the lead, like atoms scattered through an experiment of the edge of science, lend the track an almost nervous quality that’ll have you looking back over your shoulder for the approach of the corrosive snare.
But it’s Do You Want To Get Down that ties together the heady mix of past and future. A downbeat, hauntingly groovy take on hi-teck funk that burns with silver like a midnight moon rising on a starlit sea, it remains a startling lesson in the power of electronic musics almost unique ability to move the body and mind as one. Enthralling and exacting, Transllusion is the sound of a tomorrow that never came to pass but is still, perhaps now more than ever, worth aiming for.