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Terre Thaemlitz's (DJ Sprinkles) deep house album
- David Pescovitz

In BoingBoing (US), January 8 2009.

My dear pal and bOING bOING Digital contributor Terre Thaemlitz is a transgenre / transgender computer musician who makes challenging electroacoustic music, glitchy folktronica, and deep house. But even as it makes your ass shake, Terre's work tears into heavy issues like gender identity, the human/machine interface, consumer culture, and queer politics. Terre moved from San Francisco to Tokyo almost ten years ago, so I was especially thrilled when I opened up this week's San Francisco Bay Guardian and saw a long rave review of his recent album, Midtown 120 Blues. Released by Mule Music, Midtown 120 Blues is the first full length album from DJ Sprinkles, Terre's alias when he spun at New York City underground gay clubs in the 1980s. (You can get tastes of the tracks here.) From the SFBG:

    The intellectual rigor of Thaemlitz's music doesn't compromise its pleasure. Most of Midtown 120 Blues' tracks hover around the 10-minute range, and none are vocal tracks. As a producer, Thaemlitz has explored as broad a range of styles as anyone, from ambient on the Instinct label (Tranquilizer, 1994, and Soil, 1995) to electroacoustic experiments on the Mille Plateaux label, but the dominating sound here is deep house. With sustained, liquid jazz chords stretching out over an unhurried 4/4 pulse and expertly manipulated flute samples, "Brenda's $20 Dilemma" is headphone music that, while not formally ambient, inspires reverie rather than dancing.

    More stylistically consistent than any other release Thaemlitz has had a hand in so far, Midtown topped dance music Web zine Resident Advisor's 2009 album poll ― something one imagines Thaemlitz might not be too comfortable with. Thaemlitz doesn't offer political messages for listeners to parse, preferring to insert ambiguities in the process of production itself. His 2000 release Fagjazz (Comatonse) is, as he described in an interview with the Advocate, about "the illusion of an acoustic improvisational jazz moment," arrived at through careful sequencing and zero instrumental virtuosity. Deep house's debt to jazz suggests one of many routes connecting these otherwise distinct projects. In attempting to corral all of the different positions Thaemlitz has occupied as a producer and DJ, we come around to the recognition that his true project is pushing against naturalizing claims about origins.

"DJ Sprinkles finds some hyper-specific space for reverie in the house" (SFBG)

DJ Sprinkles - Midtown 120 Blues (