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Laurence Rassel & Terre Thaemlitz: The Laurence Rassel Show
Comatonse 2xCD / Public Record Download
- Jon Dale

In The Wire, July 2007, Issue 281.


With Terre Thaemlitz, audio is never innocent. His concern for the sociopolitical problematics of electronic music, coupled with a fluency in academic theory, led Thaemlitz naturally toward the Mille Plateaux label in the late 1990s, where he perhaps found his spiritual home. Since Mille Plateaux's closure, he has produced several radio programmes, of which The Laurence Rassel Show is his latest, a collaboration with Belgian cyberfeminist Laurence Rassel, a member of the Constant organization.

The story behind the radio drama's commissioning and eventual withdrawal is detailed in the post-production interview appended to this double CD edition. There's a certain irony about the decision made by the powers-that-be: their concern regarded the legality of the quotations from various authors, including Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault, whose quotes supported an overarching critique of the notion of authorship itself that forms the heart of The Laurence Rassel Show. Rassel herself has spent part of her time working anonymously, a tactic which reflects Peggy Phelan's notion of "active vanishing", whereby feminists resist the easy visibility that comes with being a public author figure.

With The Laurence Rassel Show, things are altogether more complicated, as Thaemlitz and Rassel confront questions of "feminist vanishing", transgendered authorship (including the authorship of bodies), and issues of copyright and patriarchy. The piece is one of Thaemlitz' least typical projects - he leaves conversations between himself, Rassel and Nicolas Maleve largely untouched, a far cry from his usual electroacoustic alienation technique - and yet it's consistent with his research into "the space between", the interstices of gender, the slippage enacted by subjects who float between absent and present. He uses found sources as bedrock for subtle, sly critique - from the "one and only, truly original" vocal loop that undercuts a three-way discussion of the intricacies of copyright law, to the recurring "it don't matter to me" that underscores a mournful undertow to the post-production discussion between Rassel and Thaemlitz.

Free Download: Comatonse Recordings | Public Record