Superbonus was recorded at Nantou Radio Studios in Nantou, Taiwan on January 21, 1999. Superbonus is an improvisational performance by Terre Thaemlitz (keyboards & electronics), accompanied by the jazz ensemble Funks Shui, featuring Tarcy Cheung (bass), Vincent Hui (dulcimer and percussion), Stephen Lin (snare kit) and Fang Min-Shu (additional keyboards and percussion). The near hour-long session was recorded spontaneously, being mastered on a discarded reel of tape found in the radio studio’s engineering booth. The tape’s diffuse quality and the bleed-through of previously recorded radio broadcasts adds to the character of this recording.
Superbonus is a simulacrum of improvisational jazz performance. Its primary objective is to present a digital representation of real-time performance techniques without involving any material engagement of such a performance.
Compositionally, Superbonus was programmed to reflect the styles of such contemporary jazz performers as The Necks, and keyboardist Evan Lurie. However, whereas these artists’ works are a response to and/or deviation from years of training in formal composition strategies, Thaemlitz proposes that simulacra afford the digital composer a third option of forgoing formal music training in favor of directly addressing the music consumer’s performance of desire in the jazz audio marketplace. The objective of Superbonus is not to suggest the replacement of live performance and traditional musicology, but to compose in a manner which consciously engages the digital distribution of music in a marketplace rooted in image management.