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Top Albums of 2008
03. DJ Sprinkles, Midtown 120 Blues
[Mule Musiq]

- Jon Dale

In Little White Earbuds (US), December 28 2008.


Midtown 120 Blues shares with the rest of Terre Thaemlitz's productions a strange combination of polemical intent and intellectual resignation: Thaemlitz understands how hopeless things are, but can't stop articulating exactly why everything's so fucked. Like his earlier electro-acoustic project Love For Sale: Taking Stock In Our Pride, Midtown is about the co-optation of queer, the way public figures like Madonna strip community-based movements of their localized empowerment, neutering their political potency through trite, universalizing statements. This time, though, Thaemlitz drags the issues up in gorgeous house productions that shift from the hypnotic threnody of the title track, through the rhapsodic "Ball'r (Madonna-Free Zone)," and on into the album's centerpiece, the Jesse Jackson-sampling "Sisters, I Don't Know What This World Is Coming To." Both Public Enemy and Thomas Brinkmann used the same sample for different purposes - the former as firebrand politic, the latter as abstracted soul signifier. For Thaemlitz, it's both and neither, and those confusions are what makes Midtown 120 Blues one of this year's most thrilling, beguiling records - the deeper you dig, the more uncomfortable it gets.

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