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Terre Thaemlitz: Die Roboter Rubato
Mille Plateaux MP CD 34 CD
- Mike Barnes

In Wire, January 1997. This review was tacked on to the end of a review of Curd Duca's "Switched on Wagner."


....Kraftwerk will probably raise no more than a collective quizzical eyebrow at Terre Thaemlitz's piano treatment of their compositions - on Die Roboter Rubato they are often rendered unrecognisable. The pieces are subjected to a treatment somewhere between John Cage and Debussy. Thaemlitz's moody, sometimes virtuoso, renderings always sound like they are going somewhere with a sort of oblique purpose. But in the limited Kraftwerk Cover Versions canon, The Balanescu Quartet's poised, neo-baroque treatments on Possessed suited the material impeccably.

Letter to the Editor (Response)
- Eliza Noh
In Wire, February 1997.

To the editor,

I was disappointed that your review of Terre Thaemlitz's Die Roboter Rubato (Mike Barnes, Jan. 97) was little more than an addendum to Curd Duca's ideological antithesis "Switched on Wagner" (apparently grouped together for nothing more than their mutual sarcastic stabs at classical music). By saying Thaemlitz's abstraction of Krafterk's compositions fell short of the 'impecable suitedness' of The Balanescu Quartet's metered renditions of Kraftwerk on "Possessed," you seem to have missed the fundamental point at which Thaemlitz's versions break from past Kraftwerk covers. This concept of applying randomization and fragmentation to Kraftwerk's infamous precision (a metaphor for the collision of public and private spheres in identity politics) is the theoretical basis for the project, which is outlined in Thaemlitz's rather substantial accompanying text. A text that seems to have been mysteriously overlooked or unabsorbed by the reviewer. As The Wire is considered one of the more coherent voices in contemporary music, it is a shame that you took a rare project rooted in evocative social commentary and reduced it to pure formalism (the very paradox Thaemlitz seems to forever anticipate).