Born in Minnesota and raised in Missouri, Terre Thaemlitz moved to New York in the mid-1980s to pursue art scholarship at Cooper Union. Soon distracted by the growing New York house scene, he began DJing at drag balls and benefits, leading to an Underground Grammy for best DJ in 1991. Although primarily a "dance DJ", Thaemlitz's insistence upon integrating house music's more simplistic patterns with challenging, elaborated structures earned her an uneasy relationship with club promoters looking for DJs whose only commitment was a monotonous dance formula. Thaemlitz began making his own tracks, beginning with a sort of deepest deep-house but quickly moving into genre defying fusions of funk, soul, disco, and musique concrete, and eventually settling into advanced ambient. One of her earliest works, Raw Through A Straw / Tranquilizer, in addition to limited release through his own Comatonse Recordings label, appeared on an early ambient compilation on Instinct Records, and earned her an almost instant reputation.
As an ambient producer/artist, Thaemlitz focuses mostly on themes of sexual self-identity, alienation and contradiction in his music. Thaemlitz' recorded work, collected on albums such as Tranquilizer and Soil, is closer in tone to ambient-leaning industrialists such as Lustmord, Carl Stone, and (some) Merzbow, as well as "deep listening" composers such as Pauline Oliveros and Robert Rich although she also prove to be an awesome deep-house and unusual dance music producer at times. He also recorded with Bill Laswell and did remix work for many other artists.