Leftfield, experimental house looks to be peaking right now. It's a catch-all term that means different things to different people and I'm not clear on the definition either. But fortunately, these days it seems to be applied less and less to pop-orientted blog house and more toward the "anything can happen at any time in this track" club music that has made Terre Thaemlitz AKA DJ Sprinkles an unlikely star. BTW, where does Thaemlitz going from purveyor of wibbly ambient to a big name in house music -- over the course of TWENTY years -- rank among the most remarkable and unpredictable comebacks in electronic music?
"Workshop 19" reminds me of those marvelous cassette tape recordings of 80's Hacienda or Warehouse sets that have been known to pop up on the internet, where everything sounded underproduced, the bass or treble would tend to vanish without warning, and eclecticism was a constant theme. Unfortunately, most of the tracks here are too short to get their message across. His earlier singles are wondrous for the way they let the groove breathe often for well over ten minutes, and you just can't capture that hypnotic effect in only five or six minutes.
I can't believe I'm about to write this, but "Churches, Schools, and Guns" is mostly an album of looping, abstract, club unfriendly minimalism and it might be too abstract and too minimal even for me. As an exercise in crafting dense and chunky techno it makes for an intriguing listen, but you'll need to be in a patient mood before you sit down with it. The vaguely Hallucinator-like "Laws and Habits" is a change of gears that threatens to launch the album properly, but the spooked-out horror techno of "Follow the Leader" and "Catch Twenty Too" ratchet the mood right back down again to something unfriendly and fierce. "The Illusion of Choice" is possibly the most conventional banger here, and it's followed up by "We Live As We Dream"'s static-y beats and echo-heavy, barely there looping melodies that could have been lifted from Autechre's fluffiest album "Amber". I was expecting a more club-oriented album and I got something that'll take quite a bit of deciphering.