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Terre Thaemlitz - Interstices
- Anonymous

In, June 23, 2001.


This is a very difficult album to describe. I have to say that the motives expressed by Terre Thaemlitz fascinate me and, although I was initially unsure how well such themes would be expressed, the album makes a sense to me in a very powerful way.

Terre Thaemlitz is an experimentalist DJ who expresses interest in cultural theory, identity politics and issues of sexuality and gender. Through the sampling and crossing of musical genres, Thaemlitz "hopes to complicate notions of music's universality by approching different genres as systems of representation, the signifiers of which may be engaged at will and without the rigorous training typically associated with such specializations."[1]

The cover text of Interstices describes two processes: framing (the "manual selection and repitition or deletion of individual sample frames in a digital audio waveform" which can result in anything from an "incongruous buzzing sound" or "something similar to an audio delay or time stretching") and systolic composition (which "procedurally refers to the shortening of sound sources by removing primary passages in order to create new compositions"[2]).

I am particularly intrigued by the second process, systolic composition, which manages to shift emphasis onto the more peripheral elements of the samples on the album. It reminds me of a deconstructionist notion whereby dominant narratives in text can hide more subtle subtexts that, upon closer examination, reveal very different meanings from those originally intended by the author. In essense, by removing dominant themes from the samples, Thaemlitz is revealing entirely new compositions that were previously hidden on the edges of the original.

Thaemlitz is interested in using these new, interstitial compositions "as metaphors for identities which exist between dominant binarisms of sexuality, gender and ethnicity."[3] The result is thought-provoking to say the least, and shocking in parts, but it is also surprisingly easy to take at face value, as an intriguing set of ambient electronic compositions.


1. Terre Thaemlitz' bio on the Force Inc. web site.
2. Cover notes from the album Interstices.
3. Album notes on the Force Inc. web site.