January 2009 was a busy month for the Grim Reaper. He took The Cramps’ Lux Interior, who has done a pretty good impersonation of the ol’ Reaper himself throughout the last few decades, and also put poor old John Martyn out of his misery. One piece of unwelcome news that unsettled me the most, however, was the untimely death of Charles Wesley Cooper (above, right), one half of the relatively unknown American electronica act Telefon Tel Aviv. Although it has not been fully confirmed, it is thought Cooper took his own life after an argument with his girlfriend.
I became aware of Telefon after hearing the wistful, electro-ambience of ‘Sound In A Dark Room’ on Donal Dineen’s late night Today FM show and have been a major fan ever since, especially of their astute remixes of the likes of Apparat and Barbara Morgenstern where they would often improve on the original. After a gap of four or five years since their excellent last album ‘Map Of What Is Effortless’ they released ‘Immolate Yourself’ – a collection of songs that had all the hallmarks of being their breakthrough album – in January of this year and live dates were in the pipeline. It looks likely that I will not now see them live as Cooper’s creative partner in the band, Joshua Eustis, is too distraught to carry on at this moment in time. Cooper’s death didn’t make the newsdesk of NME.com or even Pitchfork but for the few of us who have been touched by the innovative yet poignant electronic music he and Eustis created over the last decade, it is indeed an extremely sad passing. RIP.