Saturday, 21 January 2012
It was around the time that Dope Jams (www.dopejams.net) opened that I bought my first record by Terre Thaemlitz. It was "Raw Through A Straw", it was on lovely blue vinyl and the music was comprised of quite ethereal breakbeats and bass-led ambience. It was quite special as it contained the lead track put together by two different recordings of the same song, one through each channel, one left, and one right, and by adjusting the balance you could listen to either perfomance individually, or the combined effort. It was a re-release of the label's first release and contained the original studio productions from 1997 aongside the new live recordings from 2003.
This quirky idea combined with the trippy, dance-y nature of the music made me an instant fan. Terre Thaemlitz's label "Comatonse" was the home for his more dancefloor orientated material, previously releasing on the Mille Plateaux imprint with ambient and experimental compositions. That wasn't to say that the releases on Comatonse were to be completely noodle free, the deep ambient epic odyssey of "Superbonus" being a case in point, complete with amazing 3D artwork (see 1st image).
Recently remixing John Cage continued the cerebral themes running through his output and in fact all releases on the label have a strong rooting in his politics, sexual and otherwise!
Interestingly enough the serious nature of this music is combined with a sense of fun and dancefloor experimentation, of course Terre's knowledge runs deep referencing underground nightlife history with aplomb.
Like many others, a variety of psuedonym's are employed to differentiate between styles, Glorimar, Terre's Neu Wuss Fusion, DJ Sprinkles and so on. The live perfomance aspect seems particuarly important and seems unusual in modern electronic dance, not to say that there aren't plenty of others doing it (although few seem to integrate live and programmed dance music with quite as much fluidity).
I mentioned sexual politics earlier and it's a subject that is proudly displayed on most of the artwork, each release promoting sexual health with tongue in cheek slogans and whole compositions dedicated to raising awareness.
And so back to the music. I put together a few of the Comatonse catalogue here to give a flavour, and although some of these releases may be hard to come across, the japanese imprint Mule Music have recently made available again some of the more seminal dancefloor moments from Terre alongside some of his newer productions and remixes, go seek!
Comatonse label spotlight by fred_naked
DJ Sprinkles - Sloppy 42nd's (Glorimar's Deeperama)
Nina Simone - See Line Woman (Terre Thaemlitz Remix)
Terre's Neu Wuss Fusion - She's Hard (Live @ Hug Parade Minsk/Belarus)
Terre Thaemlitz - Raw Through A Straw (Double Live L=North R=South)
DJ Sprinkles - Glorimar's Whore House
Chugga - Theme for the Buck Rodgers Light Rope Dance (Interstellar Speedskate)
Kami-Sakurobe House Explosion - Stand Up
Kami-Sakurobe House Explosion - Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair