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Terre Thaemlitz: Replicas Rubato 
- Ron Nachmann

In XLR8R, Issue No. 39, 2000.


(Mille Plateaux/GER/CD) Part two of Thaemlitz's Rubato series finds the IDM composer deconstructing th ework of a seemingly more intimate target/idol - Gary Numan - than the first's take on the Kraftwerk personality-monolith. Both takes cheekily sport their layers of irony and intrigue: pioneering electronic pop music rendered on solo piano through both digital annotation and mopen improv; Thaemlitz's agile, anti-essentialist textual analysis of Numan's ambiguously gendered lyrical concerns; and a hidden track featuring a solo synthesizer plink-out of "Down in the Park." The temptation, of course, is to simply separate the music out from its background and theoretical context, which superficially leaves one with brooding, rainy-day ambient piano music. But the real resonance comes through with knowledge (via the above-mentioned analysis) of Numan's effect on the gender-bent Thaemlitz. That part of the experience fleshes out the subtleties in the driving nature of "Down in the Park," the emotionality of the erstwhile detachment of "Cars," the spindly details flowing through the renowned hook of "Dream of Siam," the wandering complexity of "Praying to the Aliens," and the short fury of "Friends." A fascinating, well-executed and intimate document of pop culture polemic.