K-S.H.E, House Explosion I


Photo by Nicolas Alan Cope

[Skylax Records]


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In 2006, Terre Thaemlitz (aka DJ Sprinkles and several other aliases) released Routes Not Roots, an album on his own Comatonse label under the name Kami-Sakunobe House Explosion K-S.H.E, or K-S.H.E. for short. Being a relatively tiny label with limited runs it’s an album not exactly easy to come by, and admittedly I myself haven’t heard the entire thing. But now French house label Skylax is endeavouring to reissue the K-S.H.E material in a series of newly-curated vinyl EPs and later on CD. It’s an excellent move on part of the label and Thaemlitz, because as stepping stones towards as the landmark DJ Sprinkles album Midtown 120 Blues these tunes need to be heard.

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The music written and produced as K-S.H.E is essentially deep house akin to the music released under the DJ Sprinkles banner, though where that LP was often papery thin and soaked-through with melancholy, the beats on House Explosion I are built solid and confident. “Down Home Kami-Sakunobeā€ coasts on lush pads and gentle drums before Thaemlitz introduces waves of pure, compressed heat in the form of rousing violin riffs that set the track aflame, infusing each layer and element with an irresistible, contagious energy. Contrasting downbeat pads with lively, syncopated percussion, “Double Secret (Dub)” sounds almost cheerful, uplifting even; then the vocal sample is wedged in, dragging things down about twenty fathoms. The song’s tense and surprising push-and-pull between moods is arguably more effective than any simple downtempo number could have been, and it’s a testament to the Thaemlitz’ craft: this goes far beyond dance music, layered with innumerable themes and motifs, both unspoken and unspeakable. On the flip, the 12-minute “Hobo Train” sounds even closer to Midtown, its dust-caked drums, spare atmosphere and rousing vocal sample sounding like that album’s precursor — and considering that album was a masterpiece, this is no small feat. Re-releasing obscure material can often bring up questions of necessity, but there’s no doubting how essential the K-S.H.E material is, providing the once-missing-link in Thaemlitz’ enigmatic persona as well as an early clue to the late-2000s deep house movement.

Jay Simon  on August 25, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Terre gave me a copy of this cd personally when he came to D.C. a few weeks back, and it is indeed incredible…Conceptually and aurally.

Andrey R  on September 2, 2010 at 2:06 AM

..aand again just as I finally get the original EPs they re-release them:D I recon the internets are helping greatly the re-discovery of obscure treasures. In Terre’s case there’s still an ocean to be heard. The funny thing is in this instance an EP from a super-obscure label gets re-released on a somewhat-obscure label.

Jaycee  on September 3, 2010 at 1:24 AM

Thx for writing & sharing again this brillant release on SKYLAX, Terre is one the best artist i’ve heard in a long time. Sorry andrey but i am following Skylax for years now & the’ve been releasing some great music, not obscure at all. I can’t wait to get my hands on this.
It seems this day everybody knows terre & his work, i don’t think this is true, don’t believe hype.

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