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Terre Thaemlitz: Replicas Rubato
Gary Numan songs get transformed into lush, melancholy solo piano pieces.
- Jason Pettigrew

In Alternative Press, December 1999.

Thaemlitz is the gender-bending electronic artist whose music in inextricably linked ot the politics of his sexuality. This is the second album (the first, Die Roboter Rubato, was a tribute to Kraftwerk) in his series of rubato interpretations of artists who helped shape his aesthetic.

One doesn't need exhaustive knowledge of '80s synth icon Gary Numan to appreciate Thaemlitz' tribute, but it helps with regards to the in-jokes surrounding the packaging, as well as to Thaemlitz' own didactic essay on how Numan's audio-visual aesthetics influenced his own questions about human sexuality. The piano versions included here are strikingly poignant in their ability to create askew atmospheres, and they make grandiose gestures out of Numan's esceedingly simple song structures.

The usually well-respected Thaemlitz has come under fire for recording what one misguided critic perceived as a "Richard Clayderman album," but much of this recording is far too ominous and melancholy for retirement-home denizens. Sure, the hits are here: Thaemlitz delivers emotional readings of "Down In The Park" and "Cars" with interesting results. But he also plumbs Numan's obscure albums fo rmuch of his source material (especially Dance), and does an admirable job of redesigning the songs' individual contexts.

At its worst, Replicas Rubato recalls the stuff playing in your New-Age dentist's office - Thaemlitz must have duct-taped the sustain pedals to the floor during the recording to create all that lush reverb. At its best, though, Replicas Rubato is a spaeshifting tribute to a personality who never got much respect in the first place. (Mille Plateaux; dist. by Caroline)