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Terre Thaemlitz: Lovebomb
Mille Plateaux CD
- Tobias C. Van Veen

In e|I, Issue 1, March 2003.


Love is (not) the answer: this is the problematic that gender-bending, self-identified "Queer" Terre Thaemlitz investigates in this stunning, evocative, and unsettling work. One of few artists utilising experimental electronic music to conjoin issues beyond genre formalisms, Thaemlitz's Lovebomb arrives from the depths of his new home, Japan, to question one of the West's (if not humanity's) most cherished & presupposed universalisms - that "love is the answer." Thaemlitz's included liner-essay introduces a provocative deconstruction of "love," noticing how in every case there is "love," it is conjoined to hate and violence, what Deleuze would call Oedipal power. Love is inseparable from War, from a purist telos heard throughout the plundered and remixed manifestos, radio broadcasts, pop-love songs, and TV shows. Imagine: a vocoded-speech from the rebel African National Conference calling to arms against the white oppressor that is rendered uncannily beautiful, yet dangerously haunting... a screaming women in a "COPS" domestic dispute with the swear words muted... piano and granular synthesis atop distorted Futurist speeches and machine gun fire.... The presentation and arrangement evident in the baring of technological processes and patient mixes that investigate the quietest ranges of hearing - and thus curving a tense sonic narrative - unveils a sonography that calls for repeated, reflected listenings and critical, close interpretations of both text and sound (the text is presented in both Japanese and English). Why do I feel melancholic when hearing a simple piano refrain over a violent Futurist manifesto? Why does the screaming woman still shock me? Thaemlitz's aural uncanny is woven into today's issues over love: the Love for Freedom is made counterpart to the War on Terror, while throughout the album extreme distortions - most prevalent in "AI NO BAKUDAN" - conjure the very sound of bombs dropping, exploding bodies, lives, and hearts: every bomb is born from love, every act an act of love for destruction. At its heart, Lovebomb traces the threads between Fascism and Futurism, racism and art, gender and family, love and violence, in a collage that will leave you alone & at the brink of a completely new hearing of what it means to "love." [tV]