Author Archive: Jon Dale

LWE Interviews Terre Thaemlitz

For Terre Thaemlitz, audio is never “innocent.” From Thaemlitz’s earliest ambient recordings, through a series of incredible electro-acoustic projects for the Mille Plateaux label, to a current triple-life as producer of astringently political “radio shows,” deep house auteur as DJ Sprinkles and K-SHE, and writer/polemicist, Thaemlitz’s project has always been to unsettle any putative audience’s assumptions of what constitutes knowledge and politics. Thaemlitz is also possibly dance music’s finest socio-political commentator. Not to mention her continual “queering of the pitch.” With DJ Sprinkles’s Midtown 120 Blues somehow managing to be one of the best dance music albums of both 2008 and 2009 (thanks partly to a staggered release schedule, but also to the ineffectual nature of most any of its supposed “competitors”), it’s time to take the temperature of the “ideology of the dance floor” with our scene’s most articulate outsider.

BBH: Cluster & Eno, Cluster & Eno/Eno, Moebius & Roedelius, After the Heat

Here’s a proposition, possibly reductive, probably true: the German duo Cluster (Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius) were the only Krautrock act to make the usual artistic trajectory, from incipient experimentalism to more approachable, populist moves, without trading in one iota of their humour or their peculiar genius. Can and Tangerine Dream lost it; Faust and Ash Ra Tempel watered down most of their ideas (Faust’s “Krautrock” and Manuel Gottsching’s E2-E4 notwithstanding); Amon Duul II aren’t worth mentioning; perhaps only the other great Krautrock duo NEU!, of Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger, made it to the late 1970s with their aesthetics intact. Tracing Cluster’s history is a grand thing to do. Starting as Kluster, with third member Conrad Schnitzler, they released several albums of hard-nailed, formless analogue electronics, Klopfzeichen (Schwann, 1970), Zwei-Osterei (Schwann, 1971) and Eruption (1971), which were as vast and cold as the Arctic tundra, forbidding and steely in their gravity. After losing Schnitzler, the first two duo Cluster albums, 71 (Phillips, 1971) and Cluster II (Brain, 1972), explored similar terrain — an improvised meta-music that satellites out from the big bang of late ’60s counter-cultural disruption, where academic electronic music and the freedoms of rock at its most structurally footloose met on even terrain.

Jackmate, Malawi Dub

[Phil e] Michel Baumann has had a good 2008, with his Soulphiction album Do You Overstand as one of 2008’s quiet achievers, and a few great Jackmate singles. On “Malawi Dub” he’s got the architecture of the track just right. This one builds effortlessly from its humble beginnings, where hands slap against bongos, before the […]

Ellen Allien, Out Remixes

[BPitch Control] Ellen Allien’s Sool album was cold and precise, and “Out” stands as a fine example of its poker-faced mood: In its original form, “Out” is resolutely unyielding, the vocals sent shuddering and twisting through reverb, edited into stammering machines. It shares with the music of its producer AGF a distanced delivery, at least […]

Ezekiel Honig, Surfaces of a Broken Marching Band

[Anticipate Recordings] New Yorker Ezekiel Honig’s ambient music does what the genre promises but often fails to deliver: through careful arrangement of and attention to sonorous material, it creates an environment that’s quietly seductive and almost supine. Its attention to texture is finely detailed, but it’s not showy about its exacting nature. Rather, on Surfaces […]