We guarantee you will be 100% satisfied with every Comatonse product and service, or we will help you define and accept your dissatisfaction in relation to the shortcomings of post-industrial consumer
July 5, 2010 11:34 PM   Subscribe

"Living under capitalism, I like learning to feel comfortable with activity that does not result in success — since non-success is the norm. Trying your best and making it is not the norm — it’s propaganda. Of course I play with notions of hype, too... The entire Comatonse website is a sarcastic hype-engine, sprawling forever, overwhelming the viewer with nothingness." - Terre Thaemlitz, AKA DJ Sprinkles

Profile: "Terre Thaemlitz is an award winning multi-media producer, writer, public speaker, educator, audio remixer, DJ and owner of the Comatonse Recordings record label. Her work combines a critical look at identity politics - including gender, sexuality, class, linguistics, ethnicity and race - with an ongoing analysis of the socio-economics of commercial media production. He has released over 15 solo albums, as well as numerous 12-inch singles and video works. Her writings on music and culture have been published internationally in a number of books, academic journals and magazines. As a speaker and educator on issues of non-essentialist Transgenderism and Queerness, Thaemlitz has participated in panel discussions throughout Europe and Japan. He currently resides in Kawasaki, Japan."

Some Comatonse.com highlights...

Eyes, Ears + Pups
"'Eyes, Ears & Pups' is a series of drawings focussing on children with eye and ear deformities, and the injured attack dogs who love them. It is based on my memory of losing my first pair of glasses at age two, marking the moment I first sensed that the 'natural' way in which I perceived the world through 'defective' eyes was 'incorrect,' and that proper perception is often a learned and conditioned thing."


Some graphical scores of songs


Free soundfiles:
"The only way your financial support reaches me in any way is by ordering from this website. If you are unable or uninterested in financially supporting me directly by ordering through this website, I prefer that you share or steal my music rather than pay somebody else. This is not about my anger as an "author" (as many of you know, I am very critical of standard notions of authorship). Personal finances are also not the issue, since my projects are clearly not "hit oriented" and have minimal sales potential. I am more than resigned to my lowly economic standing in this world. This is about my anger at pointless corporate greed, and the ways in which information is controlled and distributed under global capitalism. Meanwhile, please enjoy the free downloads below."
  • "Rosary Novena for Gender Transitioning" [MP3; from Soullessness, forthcoming]
  • "Midtown 120 Intro" [MP3; from Midtown 120 Blues, 2009]
  • "iLenin: iPod-Ready Speeches By Vladimir Lenin" [zip file; apparently a joke; see "iPod is Raping..." essay below]
  • "The Laurence Rassel Show, starring Laurence Rassel and Terre Thaemlitz" [complete album, with notes; radio show and sound-pastiche]
  • "Below Code: Comatonse Recordings 10th Anniversary Comp" [full album; apparently includes recordings by family members and friends]


    Miss Take's Dragifesto
    "You are an amazon warrior who wears the foundation of the future on your face."

    All's In Order:
    "Out of Order" Fashion's Inability to Divest of Power

    "Is it possible to conceive of clothing and body image as non-market driven forms of cultural resistance? What is fashion's relation to clothing whose links to "illegality" lies not within the industry's own attempts at deviance, but within the violent acts criminals claim fashion inspired and justified, such as rape and gay-bashing? How has couture's co-opting of thrift clothing obscured class consciousness, ridiculed poverty, and diffused the possibilities of "fashion terrorism"?"

    On Guattari and Deleuze's concept of "becoming-minor" vs. "becoming minority"
    "And think of how Lesbians and Gays now use similar naturalist arguments to justify our deserving "rights," our deserving to share in dominant power, not out of choice or openness around sexuality, but simply because, "We can't help it." As Minority communities, we declare of our own "free will" that we have no choice in the matter. I mean, who would choose to be Gay, right? Would anyone choose to be Transgendered? Can you imagine someone choosing to be black? Are you implying anyone would choose to be a woman? ...Well, at what point, and in relation to which "bodies," do those questions at the root of humanist legislature start to sound ridiculous and insulting to those they claim to protect? ... This is only about deferring bias, not resolving it, and it will have repercussions because it always fails to address the fundamental dynamics of domination we claim we wish to resist. In fact, most people don't wish to resist power, but simply to partake in the act of domination. Once this domination becomes naturalized, and we are accustomed to it, then we cease to consider it as a form of violence."

    ENTHUSIASM! On the theme of "Communism"
    "Whether it be the First World's negative conflation of communism with fascism, or the Second- and Third World's positive conflation of totalitarianism and emergent capitalism with communism, the term "communism" itself seems to have been coopted beyond any critical usefulness... Everything tainted by fascism, aesthetics and romance."

    iPod is Raping the Rapists Who Raped My Village: An economic overview of contemporary audio production
    "It's like balancing a day job at Wal-Mart with the night shift at McDonalds."

    Viva McGlam? Is Transgenderism a Critique of or Capitulation to Opulence-Driven Glamour Models? [German]
    "Glamour is suspect as a critical-minded political forum because it is about social distance, not social integration. The promise of the pop-glam diva is not the promise of social transformation, but individual transformation in which the exploited becomes the exploiter. It is a promise of an individual's class mobility, not social betterment or class critique. It is, by and large, the American Dream."

    And more...

    See also: an excellent long-form interview with Terre, available in full video and written transcript, at the Red Bull Music Academy in London this year.

    [For the astute: yes, we did this five years ago. So this is finally, I believe, the double post that the Rev was so worried about back then. However, a lot's happened since then, almost all of the material linked about has been added in the interim, and also the author happened to release electronic music magazine Resident Advisor's #1 album for 2009, so I figured it was worth a revisit.]
  • posted by koeselitz (27 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite
    *sigh* Okay, maybe that was too much...
    posted by koeselitz at 11:34 PM on July 5, 2010

    Also probably worth mentioning that the header quote was from here.
    posted by koeselitz at 11:40 PM on July 5, 2010

    Nope not too much, all of that looks awesome. Thanks.
    posted by djstig at 11:40 PM on July 5, 2010

    wow. I guess I won't be going to bed very soon.
    posted by palacewalls at 11:49 PM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Wow! It's taken me over half an hour of skimming just to get some idea of what's going on here. It all looks very interesting. Bookmarked for later perusal. Thanks koeselitz.
    posted by unliteral at 12:13 AM on July 6, 2010

    Terre Thaemlitz is a wonderful musician and super nice. I remember chatting in a couple discussion threads with her on the hyperreal ambient mailing list back in the mid-90s, when Tranquilizer and Soil came out. I bought a few of her recent releases last year and she sent along some lovely mix discs. Such great soul.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:30 AM on July 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

    Terre Thaemlitz is a wonderful musician and super nice.

    Seconded, and a personal hero.

    Also, I think she's generally going by "he" again, unless presenting as female or on request.. There's an explanation of this somewhere on his site, and it's actually quite the evolved, gentle and insightful piece of gender politics. And it's actually something I agree with because the summary and thesis is basically "Why does it matter? Why should I fit your expectations of one or the other? I'm simply me, and it's awesome."
    posted by loquacious at 1:45 AM on July 6, 2010

    Good god amighty, koeselitz, this is a post. Holy shit.

    Met Terre once, and he was indeed a real nice guy. Haven't really checked out that much of his music, though, so thanks for this.
    posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:16 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

    From iPod rapists.

    "So what?" you ask. To which I add, "Labels are generally money driven fuckers of the worst kind anyway, pushing shit music in the same way book publishers try to pass off 'Best Sellers' as literature. Good riddance. Fight the power, etcetera, etcetera."

    Ultimately, these financial troubles trickle down to producers like myself. Our CDs from bankrupt distributor inventories eventually enter the sales market through discount dumping, and we stand no chance to collect sales royalties. Again, "So what?" you ask. To which I add - "Producers and artists are..." - well, you get the point.

    Out of this situation, we producers have to find alternative ways to pay the rent.

    This is one of the most cogent essays on the state of the music industry I have read.

    Awesome post koeselitz.
    posted by three blind mice at 4:05 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Flagged as fantastic post.
    posted by mullingitover at 4:30 AM on July 6, 2010


    Midtown 120 Blues is in my top 5 favorite albums of all time.
    posted by azarbayejani at 6:06 AM on July 6, 2010

    Oh, and here are a few livesets and stuff:

    His mix for Resident Advisor earlier this year.
    Live in Calgary 06-01-1996 (side A)/(side B)
    These two were basically all I listened to for a month.

    And an interview from mnmlssg.
    posted by azarbayejani at 6:28 AM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

    Thanks, koeselitz, this is wonderful. I had no idea about the gender identity stuff.
    posted by mediareport at 6:33 AM on July 6, 2010

    There's an awful lot here to get through, and I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks, koeselitz!
    posted by .kobayashi. at 7:05 AM on July 6, 2010

    Saying thanks for this post now (based on reading the quotes alone, especially "becoming minor") in case I forget after I've delved into the links properly. Wonderful :)
    posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:31 AM on July 6, 2010

    Becoming Minor is an amazing presentation that would have been a great post within itself. I love how Terre can transition from academic and fascinating deconstructions of prevailing notions to pithy asides like "those French guys are always somehow into Zen, which is super-fascist"
    posted by Chipmazing at 7:45 AM on July 6, 2010

    *heart* Terre.
    posted by Theta States at 8:53 AM on July 6, 2010

    Somewhere down the line, I had pulled "Soil" from ::REDACTED:: . It was really haunting to me in it's ethereal nature. I have been a fan ever since...

    That's been maybe nine... ten years ago. It's been a little hard to obtain other works by Terre, but he/she is an artist I have really come to admire for a vast array of reasons.
    posted by PROD_TPSL at 9:02 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Midtown 120 Blues is deeply fantastic, one of my favorite albums of the past few years; it's weird how under the radar that record seems to be despite everyone in the house/techno world crowing about how wonderful it is. And the Red Bull video interview is surprisingly interesting.
    posted by with hidden noise at 9:06 AM on July 6, 2010

    Killa post, and, yeah, Midtown 120 is bomb.
    posted by everichon at 11:34 AM on July 6, 2010

    EPIC. Thanks for this Koeslitz.
    posted by Skygazer at 1:11 PM on July 6, 2010

    Oh yeah, he's playing in DC this friday too. Super excited!
    posted by azarbayejani at 10:49 AM on July 7, 2010

    I watched the Red Bull Academy interview last night. It was pretty wonderful. A lot of Terre's analysis (this is especially in the 2nd half) is spot-on.

    Although it was kind disheartening to hear him admit that he plays tracks for so long because he doesn't have better mixing skills. He's been a DJ for like 14 years longer than me, but never learned how to layer deep/minimal house?
    posted by Theta States at 11:07 AM on July 7, 2010

    Perhaps he/she is just very modest.
    posted by Skygazer at 12:30 PM on July 7, 2010

    Agree with this assessment of Midtown 120 Blues - a fantastic "dance" record. Thank you very much for the post!
    posted by dytiq at 3:45 PM on July 7, 2010

    Here's another DJ Sprinkles set I found. I'm seeing him tonight. Very excited.
    posted by azarbayejani at 9:30 AM on July 9, 2010

    A bit of an update, I guess: two days ago, Terre Thaemlitz issued a letter to the press regarding "illegal uploading" of music from past days with the old Mille Plateaux label to online distributorships. This presumably has something to do with the fact that Mille Plateaux, the label central to the glitch movement which was for all intents and purposes defunct as of three years ago, has recently come into the possession of one Marcus Gabler, who apparently intends to try to spark a renaissance with the label; he started a month ago with the release of a poorly-received fifth volume of the old glitch compilation, Clicks + Cuts. Anyhow, Terre doesn't like it much when people just, y'know, start selling the music without actually asking the artists first.
    “If possible, I would ask you to remind your readers that none of the original Mille Plateaux catalog is authorized for digital distribution, all contracts have since expired, and exclusive rights have returned to the original artists long ago...

    “Ironically, major distribution and the mainstream music industry spend millions of dollars on promotional and legal campaigns aimed at eliminating not-for-profit file sharing, all under a moralistic pretense of the fight to protect access to information worldwide. Let there be no mistake about the hypocrisy of the online music distribution system - including labels, distributors and storefronts - which is only concerned with profit, and has no interest in conceptualizing information as anything other than commerce. To the contrary, their moral march to "protect the rights of musicians" is our demise, individually and culturally. I would rather have my projects illegally shared freely a million times rather than illegally sold once by these cultural slaveholders.”
    posted by koeselitz at 12:37 PM on August 2, 2010

    « Older It weebles and it wobbles but it won't fall down.   |   Looming Newer »

    This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments