Country:   USA
URL:   http://www.comatonse.com/
13 nodes
Terre Thaemlitz is an award winning multi-media producer, writer, public speaker, educator, audio remixer, DJ and owner of the Comatonse Recordings record label. His work critically combines themes of identity politics - including gender, sexuality, class, linguistics, ethnicity and race - with an ongoing critique of the socio-economics of commercial media production. This diversity of themes is matched by Thaemlitz' wide range of production styles, which include electroacoustic computer music, club oriented deep house, digital jazz, ambient, and computer composed neo-expressionist piano solos. Accordingly, his audio projects have found release on an eclectic variety of record labels ranging from the Deleuze-influenced label Mille Plateaux, to YMO founder Haruomi Hosono's Daisyworld Discs, to Bill Laswell's Subharmonic Records, to Universal Music Germany's Classical Division, to the UK dance label Disorient, and so on. Graphic design, photography, illustration, text and video also play an important part in Thaemlitz' projects. His writings on music and culture have been published internationally in a number of books, academic journals and magazines. As a speaker and educator on issues of non-essentialist transgenderism and pansexual Queer sexuality, Thaemlitz has participated in panel discussions throughout Europe and Japan, as well as held numerous cross-cultural sensitivity workshops at Tokyo's Uplink Factory, near his current residence in Kawasaki, Japan. Thaemlitz was born in Minnesota in 1968, and his family eventually relocated to Springfield, Missouri, which he considers his home town. Throughout his youth Thaemlitz was drawn toward electronic music as an antithesis to the oppressive rock and country culture around him. Thaemlitz moved to New York in 1986 to study at the Cooper Union School of Art, from which he received a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts (BFA) in 1990. During his studies he became disillusioned with the exclusionary politics of the visual arts industry, and began focussing on issues of cultural theory and identity politics. Surrounded by the musical subcultures of the Lower East Side, Thaemlitz' longstanding interest in electronic music quickly led him to DJ-ing at activist benefits under the name DJ Sprinkles. In 1991 he became a resident DJ at the infamous mid-town transexual club Sally's II, where he performed three nights per week with transgendered legends such as Dorian Corey. Thaemlitz became known for his unique intermixing of musical genres and moods, his parties dubbed "DJ Sprinkles' Deeperama" - an approach which predated the presence of "Chill Rooms" in New York. He was presented with an Underground Grammy Award by Sally's House of Magic in 1991. DJ Sprinkles' Deeperama continues today, currently held on the second friday of every month at Club Module in Tokyo, with occassional engagements in Europe. In 1992, Thaemlitz began focusing on producing his own tracks which expanded on his concept of DJ-ing as a form of tape manipulation and collage. In 1993, Thaemlitz started his own record label, Comatonse Recordings, which emphasizes custom colored and audiophile collector's vinyl. His first release "Comatonse.000," featuring the tracks "Raw Through a Straw" and "Tranqulizer," gained international recognition from such preeminent ambient producers as Mixmaster Morris (The Irresistible Force), The Orb and Bill Laswell. The majority of Comatonse Recordings releases are Thaemlitz' solo projects released under various aliases, fostering his unique "Fagjazz" sound which fuses deep house with ambient and improvisational jazz. One of these projects, "Superbonus," was designated with an Honorary Mention in the 1999 ORF Prix Ars Electronica under the category of Digital Musics. However, Comatonse Recordings has also issued a number of cross-categorical releases by such producers as Erik Dahl (featuring the first compositions ever produced with Csound.ppc on the PowerMac platform, the software of which was ported by Dahl himself), Los Angeles audio activists Ultra-red, and the German improvisational ensemble Zeitkratzer (performing actual acoustic adaptations of Thaemlitz' digitally composed faux-acoustic digital compositions, nonetheless). To mark Comatonse Recordings' tenth anniversary in 2003, Thaemlitz released the free-of-charge limited edition compilation "Below Code," which celebrated "10 years of sub-UPC sales" with "a collection of audio without concern for distribution." The release features a variety of contributions by known and unknown audio producers ranging from simple home recordings to unlikely pop, Japanese punk and electroacoustic ambiance. From 1993 to 1995, Thaemlitz held a multi-record deal with New York's Instinct Records, which released his first two full-length CDs, "Tranquilizer" and "Soil." Both albums were received as works which challenged the boundaries of contemporary ambient music by incorporating socio-materialist themes that questioned conventional applications of music for transcendental escapism. On a technical level, "Soil" marked a notable increase in Thaemlitz' utilization of direct digital synthesis software techniques, and a reduction in traditional synthesizers and MIDI-based hardware. In March of 1996 Thaemlitz completed his multi-record deal with Instinct and established himself as an independent producer working with such labels as Mille Plateaux (Germany), Daisyworld (Japan) and Caipirinha Productions (US). In critical response to a music marketplace which attempted to pigeon hole artists, Thaemlitz deliberately sought to produce in a variety of unexpected genres. For example, his 1997 anthology of electronic dance music, "G.R.R.L.," critiqued the rigid separatism between dance genres and subcultures by juxtaposing tracks of various styles so that the CD itself could not be properly placed in a single category by dance music distributors or shops. This gesture played into Thaemlitz' larger interest in unveiling social processes behind the construction of social identities, and the cultural flow of identity-based information. 1997 also marked the beginning of the Rubato Series (Germany: Mille Plateaux), which features emotive, neo-expressionist piano solos covering legendary techno-pop bands of the '70s. The first three installments have featured music by Kraftwerk, Gary Numan and Devo respectively. Each release of the Rubato series is accompanied by a text outlining Thaemlitz' rather personal feminist and transgendered analysis of each artist, including a critique of their larger cultural importance, and personal influence upon Thaemlitz' youth. The irony of the Rubato Series is that their emotive performances (more than once characterized as "virtuoso" by members of the music press) are computer composed. Meanwhile, Thaemlitz continued to pursue his primary interest in direct digital synthesis through "Couture Cosmetique: Transgendered Electroacoustique Symptomatic of the Need for a Cultural Makeover (...or, What's Behind All That Foundation?)" (Japan: Daisyworld Discs, US: Caipirinha Productions, 1997). Thaemlitz' first album produced entirely through direct digital synthesis, "Couture Cosmetique's" accompanying text presented a unique analysis of the interrelationship between non-essentialist transgenderism and electroacoustic audio production techniques, citing both as methodologies which use "sampling" (audio or image-based) as a means to appropriate and recontextualize cultural signifiers. Thaemlitz produced his first video for the track, "Silent Passability (Ride to the Countryside," which was filmed in upstate New York and featured appearances by transgendered performers Darienne Lake, Aggy Dune, Pandora Box and Heather Sky. All of these varied activities are connected by a common thread: by crossing musical genres and blurring the lines between human performance and digital composition, Thaemlitz hopes to complicate notions of music's "universality" by approching different genres as systems of representation, the signifiers of which may be engaged at will and without the rigorous training typically associated with such specializations. Thaemlitz underwent the first of two major relocations of his studio and record label in December of 1997, when he left New York for Oakland, California. Since then, several of Thaemlitz' major electroacoustic works found release through the theoretical-minded German label Mille Plateaux. It is notable that each album presents a a different cultural theme, and is realized through distinct software processes which lend themselves to the expression of the theme at hand. The results are as sonically varied as the themes themselves. "Means from and End" (1998) hypothesizes various strategies for producing political audio, all the while torn between romantic and dismissive critiques of Marxist discourse. "Love for Sale: Taking Stock in Our Pride" (1999) presents an in-depth analysis of the emergence of the "Pink Economy" and the ensuing commodification of Lesbian and Gay identities, one "prideful" result of which is the institutionalization of Lesbian and Gay biases against non-traditional Queer and transgendered identities that fail to conform to the molds of dominant Lesbian and Gay imagery. "Interstices" (2000) uses Thaemlitz' digital techniques of "Systolic Composition" and "Framing" to investigate the interstices (or gaps) between genders, sexual orientations, and other identity constructs; individual tracks discuss such themes as intersexual birth, surgical gender reassignment, sex acts, peer pressure, and transexual job opportunities. Thaemlitz underwent his second major relocation in January 2001, when he moved to his current residence in Kawasaki, Japan. Shortly thereafter, he was commissioned by the Sheffield arts organization Lovebytes and the National Arts Council of England to produce a partial video adaptation of "Interstices." As with "Silent Passability," Thaemlitz personally did all writing, filming and editing. His most recent electroacoustic project on Mille Plateaux, "Lovebomb/Ai No Bakudan" (2003), presents a bi-lingual English/Japanese analysis of love as a cultural mechanism which enables otherwise unacceptable acts of violence, as demonstrated by domestic violence, a terrorist's love for her cause and America's vengeful love of freedom. Digitally processed spoken word samples narrate various scenerios of global violence - from a posthumous association between the roots of Italian Futurism and the 1906 lynching of three black men in Thaemlitz's home town, to the social abuses and neglect emburdened by Japanese society on the last lingering survivors of atomic blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to Thaemlitz's personal post-queer-bashing traumas. The video component, released independently on Comatonse Recordings, presents Thaemlitz' most ambitious video production yet, with a full visual adaptation of the entire album plus alternate videos for two tracks contributed by New York videographer Caspar Stracke. In addition to his solo work, over the years Thaemlitz has collaborated with a variety of producers on a wide range of projects. Perhaps his first noteworthy audio collaboration was in 1989 with John Consigli, a like-minded Cooper Union student with whom Thaemlitz produced a variety of "culture jamming" projects, including the unauthorized installation of beeping devices at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art which were designed to disrupt the sterility of the gallery viewing format. Thaemlitz' next audio collaboration was not until 1995, when he was invited by long-time experimentalist and bassist Bill Laswell to produce a collaborative album. Released under the project name Web on Subharmonic Records, the album fuses Thaemlitz' use of digital sound generation methods with Laswell's analogue tape-based production methods. In 1998, Thaemlitz collaborated with Jane Dowe, a music journalist and producer affiliated with major U.S. university computer music programs, to produce "Institutional Collaborative." This album is Thaemlitz' first collaboration with another completely computer-synthesis based producer, and explores their mutual relationships to an economically ambivalent Ambient marketplace, representations of the music press, and academia. Other collaborations have included the off-center pop vocal tracks "China Doll (Kill All Who Call Me)" with Chiu-Fen Chen, and "Sometimes a Girl Loves a Boy" with Hanayo; as well as assisting Zeitkratzer in their acoustic reworkings of selections from the Comatonse catalog. Most recently, Thaemlitz formed a "band" called Yesterday's Heroes with Japanese improvisationalist and ex-After Dinner member Haco. Their debut album "1979," released in the fall of 2003 by the French bedroom label La Louche Qui Fait Deborder le Vase, features a range of takes on '80s techno-pop. In addition to personal collaborations, Thaemlitz has also produced remixes for Laswell's legendary music collaborative Material (Axiom Records), Haruomi Hosono (the founder of YMO, Sony Records), The Golden Palominos, William S. Burroughs, impressionist composer Claude Debussy, Yoshihiro Hanno, Kim Cascone, Nobukazu Takemura, and others, all of which have received high praise from DJ's, musicians and press alike. Thaemlitz has been featured in articles and reviews in magazines from around the world including Spin, The Wire, Artbyte, MTV On-Line, Billboard, New Music Review, CMJ, N.M.E., Alternative Press, The Village Voice, Keyboard, DeBug, Spex, Blow-up, Fader by Headz, Sound and Recording Japan, and Sound and Recording Korea. An endless sprawl of information regarding Thaemlitz' various releases and activities is catalogued online at his award-winning, self-produced website: www.comatonse.com .Accessed 6.11.06 from http://www.comatonse.com/thaemlitz/profile.html#english
6 Selected Statements
      Worktype Info Year Country Admin
Terre loves Robin Soundwork check year USA Edit
inelegant implemenations - - USA Edit
Tranquilizer Album - USA Edit
10 Years of Amazing Demo Tapes Mp3 - USA Edit
Couture Cosmetique CD Album Caipirinha Productions 1997 USA Edit
Hush Now (DJ_Sprinkles_Broken_Record_Mix) Soundwork 2006 USA Edit