New York-based composer Terre Thaemlitz is one of only a handful of significant American artists working in the new ambient vein. He's released the bulk of his material through the Instinct Ambient label, but has also issued tracks (under his own name and as Chugga) on his own Comatonse label and through others. Although Thaemlitz's entre into electronic came in a somewhat traditional fashion -- as a house DJ -- his explorations in electronic abstraction have been anything but, focusing on themes of abjection, alienation, fracture, and contradiction in his music. Thaemlitz's recorded work, collected on albums such as Tranquilizer and Soil, is closer in tone to ambient-leaning industrialists He's also recorded with Bill Laswell, releasing Web in 1995, and done remix work for Interpieces Organization and the Golden Palaminos, among others.
Born in Minnesota and raised in Missouri, Thaemlitz moved to New York in the mid-'80s to pursue art scholarship at Cooper Union. Soon distracted by the growing New York house scene, he began DJing at drag balls and benefits, leading to an Underground Grammy for best DJ in 1991. Although primarly a dancefloor DJ, Thaemlitz's insistence upon integrating house music's more simplistic monotony with challenging, complicated breaks and references earned him an uneasy relationship with club promoters looking for DJs whose only commitment was the 4/4 beat. Retiring from club DJing in the early '90s (although he continues to spin experimental electronic music at art galleries, one-offs, and in other marginal contexts), Thaemlitz began making his own tracks, beginning with house but quickly moving into genre defying fusions of funk, soul, disco, and musique concrete, and eventually settling into experimental ambient. One of his earliest works, "Raw from a Straw," in addition to limited release through his own Comatonse label, appeared on an early ambient compilation on Instinct, and earned him an almost instant reputation. He's since fortified that with a pair of full-length releases remarkably free of many of the cliched conventions of club-drived ambient.
Electro-acoustician Thaemlitz took the long road around expectation for his Mille Plateaux debut, opting for a set of solo piano extrapolations of songs by Kraftwerk,, "Roboter Rubato" . Built on a high-clearing deck of post-industrial cultural analysis over the course of its seven-plus pages of liner notes, the music on the disc requires little in the way of explanation. Thaemlitz' sparse, inventive interpretations are pleasing enough on their own. Thaemlitz: " I don't play piano, but I've always been aware of the ability for persistent "unskilled" improvisation to invoke a sense of competency, if not virtuosity. 2 years later he released another tribute , this time to his childhood favourite, Gary Numan, "Replicas Rubato" (Mille Plateaux, 1999), both accompanied by thoughtful, philosophical liner notes.
The theoretical component of the program gets a little out of hand with Means From An End (Mille Plateaux, 1998), Institutional Collaborative (Mille Plateaux, 1998), Love For Sale (Mille Plateaux, 1999), Interstices (Mille Plateaux, 2000), all of them based on computer processing of found sounds. Fagjazz (Comatonse, 2000) is a two-disc monolith. The first disc is an anthology of early, hard to find tracks. The second disc is an hour of improvisation with a jazz ensemble. In 2001 he relocated to Japan. in 2003 Terre released Lovebomb (Mille Plateaux,, yet another exercise in collage of samples and tape manipulation that rarely (Between Empathy and Sympathy is Time, Sintesi Musicale del Linciaggio Futurista) elicits emotions and most often sounds like advertising for the specific devices that he is using.
These past years Terre divided his attention between film/video and music, under his alias DJ Sprinkles he's released a number of 12"as well as an deep house album, Midtown 120 Blues. Under his own name, Transister and the You? Again? cyclus and several releases as the Kami-Sakunobe House Explosion K-S.H.E (how's that for one androgyne's moniker ?)
Terre Thaemlitz - Soil (93 now in Flac 222mb)
01 Subjective Loss, Day 83 (9:25)
02 Elevatorium (10:43)
03 Yer Ass Is Grass (8:22)
04 Trucker (9:53)
05 Aging Core, Aging Periphery (10:04)
06 Cycles (11:41)
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Dale Lawrence is a creative Web designer-illustrator by day and the one-man ambient techno, Theorem by night. On this first full-length compilation of Theorem’s 12" single releases over the last year, Lawrence proves himself a reverent and, better still, competent successor to the moody, patient, headphone techno favored by the likes of Kenny Larkin and Carl Craig over the past five years. Lawrence’s MO is to build a mood, not play it, which is why he prefers dub-softened drum sounds and long, room-temperature synth washes to make his tracks as textural as they are musical – as the binary-dub of the opening "Debris" evidences with its plush, gray electronic funk.
Where Ion as a whole really shines, in its quietly glowing way, is in showcasing the album-spanning range of Lawrence’s minimal-yet-full production touch. Certainly a bedroom producer-student of early Brain Eno, and not too far from the Plastikman effects-rack experiments of Consumed, Lawrence makes music you can listen to an album’s worth at a time and don’t have to be a DJ to appreciate. A very unique album in the minimal, techno, ambient realm.
Theorem - Ion (99 now in Flac 321mb)
01 Debris (5:41)
02 Embed (10:47)
03 Cinder (9:18)
04 Shift (14:18)
05 Fallout (8:44)
06 Igneous (6:05)
07 Emerge (13:04)
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Pan American is the alter ego of Mark Nelson, vocalist and guitarist for the band Labradford, who first began recording under that moniker in 1997. During that summer of 97, he started recording a full length album for Kranky at home and at Sound of Music Studios in Richmond, Virginia. Mark's contributions to Labradford as the trio's guitarist and singer, might prepare the listener somewhat for the debut Pan•American album. Those lucky enough to be in contact with the independent taping community (which is the last, true underground left) and in possession of earlier Pan•American cassettes may be somewhat forewarned. But who could have expected what has emerged from months of sampling, recording, and mixing?
Pan American debuted with a self-titled album on Chicago's Kranky Records in 1998. Nelson then recorded a track for the British experimentalist-electronic label Fat Cat's Split series, and also played live with pedal-steel genius B.J. Cole. His second Pan American LP, 360 Business/360 Bypass, appeared in early 2000 with collaborations from Chicago trumpeter Rob Mazurek and the members of Low. A series of split CDs followed, including 2001's Personal Settings: Preset 1, and Nelson returned to his full-length efforts with the stripped down 2002 effort The River Made No Sound. Released two years later, Quiet City brought back the textured layers of Pan American's earlier material, while White Bird Release appeared in 2008.
Comprised of 6 long tracks, "360 Business, 360 Bypass" has things in common with both Pole (without all the glitch sounds), as well as different Basic Channel releases. The opening track of "Steel Stars" rumbles along for over 10 minutes with molasses low end and different drones of sound and a touch of clicks. It then fades directly into the second track "Code," which goes into an almost ambient section at the beginning before again locking into a slow groove. Changing things up a bit, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of Low add almost chant-like vocals to the track, giving it a ghostly quality that works quite well. In addition to the vocals, Nelson lets other more organic elements creep into the tracks in the form of pedal steel guitar (seeping through most noticibly on the beautiful "K. Luminate"), as well as the coronet playing of Rob Mazurek of the Chicago Underground Duo. "Double Rail" moves along with some more luscious bass and a light metallic ping of a beat. One of the qualities of "360 Business, 360 Bypass" is its almost trancelike nature, with warm tones guiding each and every track, providing a real Sundaze soundscape .
Pan•American - 360 Business, 360 Bypass (99 295mb)
01 - Steel Stars (10:41)
02 - Code (6:38)
03 - Double rail (12:29)
04 - Coastal (5:23)
05 - K Luminate (9:26)
06 - Both Ends Fixed (11:25)
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