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Terre Thaemlitz - Dead Stock Archive
- Lisa M. Knapp

In LucidForge (Canada), February 20 2009.


If you are a true fan of music or in the words of John Cusak "a musical geek" taken straight from his movie his popular movie, High Fidelity, you should already know this name, Terre Thaemlitz, who is also known as Miss Take and for some, as DJ Sprinkles. A man of many characters, Thaemlitz is a well known transgender or transgenre musical computer genius. This brilliant artist is also known as an award winning multimedia producer, writer, public speaker, educator, DJ and by many, he is known as the owner of the record label Comatonse Recordings. Thaemlitz is one of the most diverse artists when it comes to identity and themes in his political beliefs. From gender, sexuality class, race, and the like, he brings it all to the surface in his work. Thaemlitz is one of those artists that is a true musical geeks must know and at least one album is a must have in a true music nerds record collection.

Let us take a step back for a moment. I mentioned the movie High Fidelity for a good reason. When the set director for Cusak's brilliant musical film needed to stock a record store magazine rack for a scene about elitist musical nerds who basically have it set in their head that their knowledge of music is better than any one else's especially since no one has ever heard of certain brilliant artist, and this makes them better than others. It was no coincidence that the director made a point of including on that very rack, front and center, a copy of the Wire magazine that features Thaemlitz on the cover.

Thaemlitz has been hard at work doing what he loves for over 15 years. When it comes to his music it can not be classified into one genre because of the immense variety throughout. From ambient to jazz to house to avant garde, Thaemlitz has a way of playing with sound in an organized and playful manner that gives the listener something different and unique to listen to. In the 1980s, Thaemlitz was a busy New York City underground DJ for the house music scene. In the 1990s he brought his music out of the underground and to the surface for the world to hear. He collaborated with Bill Laswell, Mille Plateaux, and of course created his own label. In a word, he deconstructed what is seen as the norm and gave shape to his own identifiable politics. Rather than the beat bopping, butt shaking, high energy pumping music he was used to playing in the clubs, he took his crack at giving music a new energy, something you can take a bath with, something you can laze out to. His music is something to play in the background, something that you can study to, and something you can relax to. When it comes to musical themes, Thaemlitz says that it's "the fragmentation of identity, and the way that dominant ideologies teach us to conceptualize the singular self, the individual, when really we're forced to play many different roles every day."

In a 2004 interview by Sam Lee titled, Bombs away, Thaemlitz combines thought with composition in such a way that it can only be noted through what he actually says, "Of course, many of my projects then go into specific types of identities, such as transgenderism, queer pan-sexuality, ethnicity, race, economic class... most importantly, how all of these identities collide inside us, making us contradict ourselves on a daily basis."ハ He always tends to have something important lying underneath what we simply hear in the music, the music is deeper than what lies on the surface, as it should be, which is why musical nerds tend to point out certain artists.

In another more recent interview done this past January titled DJ Sprinkles' Midtown 120 Blues by Amar Patel, Patel bravely asked Theamlitz if there was "an emotional retardation, deeper criticism of music ...or an inability to confront reality, struggle, censorship and ambition?" Theamlitz notably replied stating that "I think it's easy to feel. I mean, as animals, it's impossible not to feel something or another. Even numb is a feeling. So let's forget about that. The question is, are people interested in sharing concrete ideas? Music is an inherently tricky medium for this." In the same reply he further mentioned that "While the visual arts industries have developed intricate theories of representation, the audio marketplace has largely remained deaf to critical work in the field of audio... Part of this is because, aside from classical, most music remains market-driven, whereas the visual arts are more steeped in private and state sponsorship." Everything now a days is censored, and this in itself has hidden in it's own political stance which is often under looked.

The man is brilliant and his work is equally as brilliant. This past February 11, 2009 the intense and politically minded ambient computer composer Terre Thaemlitz released a complete collected works of what he titles the Dead Stock Archive. This is his latest project, a collection of audio releases under his real name and aliases. The set includes a 2 DVD-Rom data disk duo with more than 61 hours of music on it, it also includes a library of album texts, unreleased audio, all video releases to date and all cover art.ハハハ There are several packages made available to the public including photograph inserts and some with limited edition posters. In one of the collections he includes a plush CD Burger, in another he includes a aluminum case with a zipper.ハハ The cost for this collector's item is $275. Though this may seem steep, what should be noted is that the collection is a limited edition and stock is already running low. All collections are found at and can be ordered straight from this website.