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Terre Thaemlitz & Jane Dowe: Institutional Collaborative
- Anonymous

In Motion, 1998.


In which New York ambient composer and philosopher Terre Thaemlitz collaborates with sound artist and music journalist Jane Dowe. This release on Germany’s home of intellectually-challenging and boundary-pushing electronica Mille Plateaux makes a lot in its sleevenotes about the genesis of this music, and with good reason: it’s quite a story. It would seem that Dowe and Thaemlitz have never actually met. Dowe, in her role as music journalist, contacted Thaemlitz some time ago to discuss his work, which fascinated her. A dialogue built up between the two - a dialogue of purely digital communication - DAT, CD, email - almost inevitably leading to them working together. A real end-of-the-century bit of copy. So what about the music? Well, Dowe and Thaemlitz evidently share a great deal aesthetically, a sense of the conflicts inherent in electronic, systems and concrete music: conflicts between digital and analogue sound sources, between strict composition and aleatoric techniques, between art and commerciality. They also share a sense of the quality of sound. So the work they do as the - perhaps ironically-named - Institutional Collaborative is, on the surface, hard-going, or at least at the hard-going end of the commercial electronic spectrum, with disparate, and often rather kitschy - sound sources morphed out of all recognition, passages of minimalist, HF droning suddenly shattered by clashing moments of raw dissonance. And yet, there’s something very welcoming about this CD; for all its apparent impenetrability, Institutional Collaborative is oddly familiar, a distant memory of once-seen science fiction films of half-read futurological tracts. Intriguing.