Shifted Phases The Cosmic Memoirs of the Late Great Rupert J. Rosinthrope

It's unfortunate that this disc had to arrive with the news that one of its key creators, James Stinson, had recently passed away. As Drexciya, Stinson and company foresaw the electro revival a decade in advance with their surreal reinvention of the 808 funk sound. But as this posthumous release confirms, the Detroit originators were/are still ahead of the game. Where Drexciya cast themselves as the musical ambassadors of a black Atlantis, Shifted Phases turns to the astral realm for the setting of their new techno mythologies. The change is reflected in the titles, but the sounds here are as dark and danceable as ever. The aquatic snares-ripples of Drexciya-past reappear on "Waveform Cascades" and "Crossing of the Sun-Ra Nebula," while the bass grind on "White Dwarf" and "Scattering Pulsars" penetrates with characteristic Detroit edginess. Production is tight and much more melodic than usual, but there's less of the sinister vocals and unintelligible muffles that made this outfit distinct from the rest of techno's ultra-minimalist elite. It's mostly in the second half of The Cosmic Memoirs, when various utterances start to surface on tracks like "Alien Vessel Distress Call" and "The Freak Show," that Shifted Phases reveals its eccentric side. Instrumentals like "Solar Wind" and "Dance of the Celestial Druids" otherwise provide an initiation for those listeners making contact with these strange but infectious sounds for the first time. (Tresor)