K-S.H.E. - Routes Not Roots (Skylax)

Friday, April 8th, 2011 | Sounds

After releasing a few limited 12″s last year, Skylax gives Terre Thaemlitz’s K-S.H.E. ‘Routes Not Roots’ a full release. The original Japanese release in 2006 via Thaemlitz’s private label Comatonse, has become quite sought after. Listening to this album, you can understand why anyone lucky to have the original, wasn’t about to sell it on Discogs. It’s all too rare that electronic music has a social commentary, however, ‘Routes Not Roots’ is not only a great deep house album but it’s underlining themes (about Thaemlitz’s experiences as a transgender) creates a much more emotive and thought provoking listen. Many of the tracks are deftly crafted using samples, much in the same style as KDJ, taking the original source material, re-interpreting and making it work in it’s own right. ‘B2B’ uses LNR’s ‘Work It To The Bone’ as the backbone to the track and adds a vocal-loop, sub-bass, lush organ and piano with great effect. Thaemlitz’s sample of ‘Another Star’, on the 13 minute long ‘Crosstown’, has to be one of the most inspired and interesting uses of a Stevie Wonder song - taking the uplifting original and giving it a melancholy twist. Not only is Thaemlitz respectful of the original but he makes it his own, and to do this from such a recognizable and widely loved song, is even more admirable. There are also a couple of lush beat-less pieces and interludes that pace the dance-floor orientated tracks. Thaemlitz’s productions are often compared to Larry Heard’s, a comparison which is quite appropriate when listening to this album. Although the two producers approach crafting music in different ways, the effect is same - for me ‘Routes Not Roots’ evokes the same feeling and thought provoking commentary as The It’s ‘On Top Of The World’. Highly recommended.

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