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In Writing

The Mire: Tangents, threads and opinions from The Wire HQ

in search of space

Derek Walmsley

Over the last three years, Dopplereffekt - whom common consensus suggests is Gerald Donald, originally once one half of Detroit duo Drexciya- has quietly reorientated his electronic muse, turning away from the physicality of electro and towards the quietude of deep space. His albums Linear Accelerator and Calabi Yau Space are the closest contemporary electronica has to a true music of the spheres: vast, echoing spaces, with cold, pristine tones unspoilt by human hands, and elliptical melodic orbits strangely akin to the use of the Blue Danube in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. These albums are love-letters to technology: eulogies to massive man-made marvels such as the nuclear particle laboratories housed underneath the French countryside.

Given his love affair with technology, it's perhaps not surprising that Donald himself is an elusive character, never having given an official interview. Live dates are few and far between, and often unpredicatable affairs. Which makes a recording of an excellent recent Dopplereffekt set in Sweden, downloadable here, even more valuable. It's not clear if the material is actually performed live, but the material, drawn mostly from the material from 2007's Calabi Yau Space, is clearly in a constant state of evolution: the music now incorporates lingering electronic grace notes of almost heartbreaking melancholy, and subsonic shudders that hint at ghosts in the machine. It's an essential document of an electronic artist who currently seems light years ahead of the pack.