Thursday, January 29, 2009

charlie cooper 1977-2009.

telefon tel aviv is now down to one. on tuesday, joshua
eustis announced the news via their myspace page that
charlie cooper, his other half, was discovered dead on
the 22nd of january at the age of 31 - just two days after
the long-awaited release of their third studio album on
ellen allien's bpitch control label. the already sad news
comes with the disturbing speculation that it could be
a suicide. if you've spent the last 6 days or so listening
to the album, the idea that it might be true becomes
profoundly devastating. instantly gorgeous, subtly
unsettled, embracingly moody even when upbeat,
uncharacteristically and generously expansive,
Immolate Yourself looks set to be 2009's Saturdays=
Youth: a work that is contemporary in its skilful
new-wave redux and timeless in its scope.

what is it that we always like to say...that there is no
going back? well, this time it's actually for real in an
uncomfortably literal way - you can never go back to
the bliss of a more innocent circumstance, of the
sadness of the album being an abstract thing. in those
6 days or so of ordinary time at the end of january,
against the usual background noise of winter isolation,
mundane early mornings, anticipation, the stress of
daily commutes, the humdrum of real life just getting
on with it - Immolate Yourself came to be an elixir of
distraction and the gift of expansive calm. really, that
it took only twenty days for the first great electronic
album of 2009 to come along should be the gift in itself.

those of us who spent formative years with telefon
tel aviv have our long history to fall back on and the
knowledge that life is all about taking things in and
putting things out. it is not to say at all that there
are clues to be read in Immolate Yourself - after all
the album was completed as early as april 2008 -
but it is conceivable that the shrouded vocals and
sonic fog could be the antidote to getting lost in all of
those questions that have no answers. even as the
title of the album becomes an unsettling irony, early
stages of listening have already revealed a work of
enduring beauty about the affirmation of being alive
and wide-eyed in one's own time.

for the rest of the world that knew charlie cooper only
through the music telefon tel aviv made, that's what we
have left of him. after a while, you'll realise that's how
most things go, so make sure you listen real hard to
someone you love today.

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