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September 3 marks a sad anniversary--the passing of Drexciya's James Stinson at the age of 32 from heart complications. (Born: September 14, 1969. Died: September 3, 2002)
I remember clearly the day I heard the news; I ended up spending the day listening to my Drexciya records over and over. The raw power and passion of "Positron Island" has been not just one of my favorite Drexciya songs, not just one of my favorite electronic music songs, but one of my favorite songs of any genre since the first time I heard it; just as Drexciya remains one of my favorite bands--regardless of genre. Though I have been very lucky and have had the priviledge of interviewing many of my electronic music "heroes" over the years, my interview with James stood out to me right after I spoke with him--and continues to resonate even more so since his passing. After hearing the news, I re-listened to the tape of that interview from December 13, 1999 and was reminded of how many plans Stinson had--to tour, to release even more material, to build relationships with those who connected with his music. Stinson's music continues to be released even after his death, such was his level of quality productivity. And we know from the Submerge mailouts that the spawn of Drexciya are hitting vinyl. But what struck me most about my interview with Stinson was that, despite the incredible focus he obviously had on music, more importantly, he was always able to achieve a balance. James told me that music was the *third* most important thing in his life. I asked him what was ahead of music; "My family and God," he replied. I am not a religious person, but I do understand the importance of family, and today, as I did the day I heard the news, I thought of James' family and wished them peace and strength.
We now have only James' music to remember him by. He was only here on earth for 33 years, but he managed to give us so much joy in the time he was here, and we can continue to keep his memory alive by thinking of him whenever we play and enjoy the music of Drexciya in the future. I am sure James is now in that calm and tranquil place he fondly spoke of--somewhere over the Red Hills. Rest in peace, James Stinson. Take good care. Andrew Duke
read Andrew Duke's interview with James Stinson;
Drexciya on discogs.com