Telefon Tel Aviv, “Fahrenheit Fair Enough” [reissue]

Telefon Tel AvivTTA
Fahrenheit Fair Enough [reissue]

At its advent, the ridiculously named genre Intelligent Dance Music (or IDM) came with smart-kid credentials, and was pioneered by those who considered themselves the thinking man’s electro wizards. Aphex Twin, Autechre, and The Orb were its godfathers; think of them as the sullen philosophy professor rolling his eyes at EDM’s fist-pumping frat boy.

The influence of those early IDM acts helped spurn Telefon Tel Aviv, an experimental duo—Joshua Eustis and Charles Cooper—out of New Orleans whose 2001 debut album Fahrenheit Fair Enough is considered a defining release in the category. TTA remained left of center throughout their career—three albums in ten years, with remixes a plenty, suggesting an obsessive tinkerer’s mindset. During the launch of their third album, 2009’s Immolate Yourself, Cooper died unexpectedly and the band was scuttled. Now fifteen years after its release, Fahrenheit is being reissued with a number of unreleased outtakes and new tracks, and a new sheen added to the original nine.

The album reads as part history lesson, part interesting discovery. Comparing the various versions of tracks is a welcome task, and recognizing the sounds of earlier musical idioms is a nice refresher course on IDM’s early thrills. At seventeen tracks, it may be too much of an introduction, but it’s still a welcome reminder of a more cerebral time.


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