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In The Wire, Issue 194, April 2000. The following is a compilation of related articles and letters appearing in The Wire with regard to Terre's performance at "Phase of Post Music" at the NTT InterCommunication Center, Tokyo.
(excerpt) Japan: Tokyo ICC
"What is happening to music?", ask the programme notes to this minimal-electronica night at Tokyo's high-tech ICC Centre. Questions about the future of music hang in the air at such events: will it be faster, slower, longer, shorter, busier, sparser? Machine driven or a return to song? Composed or left to chance? Commercial or whimsical, Western or Eastern? Modern or postmodern? Live or unlive? Will the real experiments take place in pop music or at the 'cutting edge'? Will it become simply background to films and video games? Will it all implode, with a return to storytelling? Are we telling stories now? Does it really matter?
...Saturday night was laptop night. For all sorts of reasons, this branch of modern music is becming less about performance and spectacle. Rock, has forsaken the wardrobe, pop has become a series of PAs with a few dance moves and DJ culture has turned unadorned and silent Men Behind Tables into icons. In many ways this is no bad thing - 'the music's all that matters' - but it sure makes it boring to look at.
...Surely star attraction Terre Thaemlitz would save the day? As yet more people tried to squeeze into ICC's 200 capacity performance space, Thaemlitz gave his usual gender-bending rhetoric as introduction, which at least established some sort of performer-audience relationship, but then it was back to the 'on man and a laptop' (or in this case, two laptops) digital doodling. Call me a Luddite, but Thaemlitz's digital excursions left me cold. I wanted to like it, I wanted to see the oneness of his sonic and sociopolitical theorising, I wanted to tag along to the club event he was doing after the show with Susumu Yokota, but sadly I didn't get it.
...So after three night of, respectively, ether procesing, digital synthesis and the manipulation of readymades, are we any closer to determining future trends in music-making? What is happening to music? At the risk of oversimplifying and being shot down in flames - not much?
- Saxon Roach
I feel I have to reply to the criticism of my performance as Terre Thaemlitz in your April issue. I've been standing in for various techno/electronica/soundscaping artists for a few years now (recently toured as Air, Autchre and Martin Rev - easy; just get some shades and a crappy keyboard and stick the CD player on random play) and I've always prided my in my ability to emulate the real thing in performance, culminating in me and my mate Colin's extremely well received performance as Orbital at Glastonbury a few years back (depite having to shave my hair off and wear those uncomfortable little specs, the whole thing was great).
Anyway, I feel a little aggrieved that my one performance of the year when I didn't really feel up to it ( I'd rehearsed the routine for weeks and spent a day on my make-up , despite a heavy head cold) should be the one that Mr. Elliot decides to pick up on. Okay, so I got the wrong tracks on the laptop (it was a bit of a racket, wasn't it?), okay so I forgot all the dance-steps, but is that really excuse enough to launch into such abuse? Left you cold did it? Well, I'm sorry David but I didn't hear anyone complaining at the after-gig party where I certainly gave as good a bit of Thaemlitz gender bending love action as I got (If 'Susan' is reading this, then I can only apologise and promise to pay for the damages).
Where was the real Terre Thaemlitz? Well, let's just say the boy's not as young as he used to be. Still, it's unfair he should get any grief from this, I fully accept it was me who messed up. I guess I should have listened to something he'd done before taking on the job.
Needless to say, Mr. Elliot's review has made me think long and hard about my career and I'm now thinking of announcing my retirement when I play every single member of Godspeed You Black Emperor! at the Domino Festival in Belgium.
Oh, and I was going on for John Balance at Cornucopea until; you went and put him on the cover in the full light of day. Jesus, isn't it Music to Play in the Dark!, why change a habit of a lifetime now?
See you in Belgium.
- Saxon Roach
- Terre Thaemlitz
Note from Terre: I do not know who Saxon Roach is, but I thought I should have some fun with him as he did with me. ;-)
In light of your review of 'my' performance at Tokyo's ICC Centre (On Location, The Wire 194), I feel I must distance myself from the tru culprit, Saxon Roach, a performance 'stand-in' who has been nothing but trouble since our contract negotiations began (see Letters, 195). Mr. Roach (a lowly creature befitting his name) failed to fulfill the terms of our agreement, ignoring my track selection and even being so brazen as to substitute his own compositions for my own. I was also horrified by his inept attempt at drag, as he looked more like a frat boy during hazing rituals than the persona he promissed to deliver.
I am currently pursuing legal remedy to this situation, and as part of our resolution you should be receiving an explanation from Mr. Roach himself. Please extend my grattitude to the reviewer, David Elliot, for his assistance in bringing this situation to a head.
- Terre Thaemlitz, Oakland, USA