[microsound-announce] ROTHKAMM - ALT
yoko.karu at baskaru.com
Fri Nov 20 17:52:50 EST 2009
He cultivates enigmas. He leaves no one cold. He could be the next genius
the right-thinking avant-garde will be late to discover. He is Rothkamm, but
his friends call him Frank Rothkamm.
This composer, philosopher, and conceptual artist can turn music (electronic
and otherwise) into thought territory, an abstract playground, or even a
smoke screen. In fact, Rothkamm is a magician, a prestidigitation
theoretician, and a carny all in one.
The oeuvre he is building one CD at a time seems to be designed to sidetrack
listeners (and better push them onward), deconstruct accepted ideas (and
better reinvent them), and elevate contradiction to the rank of art form (so
as to better critique it). After all, this is the man behind an electronic
trilogy that introduced a new and serious music theory peppered with kitsch
elements (the FB series), a record of microtonal pieces for parlor organ
(one piece bearing the exquisite title "Kris Kristofferson of the
Avant-Garde"), a set of piano variations on the first ten notes from the
"Spongebob Squarepants" theme song (Opus Spongebobicum), and a digital
cantata masquerading as dance music.
So what about ALT? Don't be surprised to be surprised: this particular album
features quite accessible ambient electronic music. This work is less
microtonal than Rothkamm's previous similar pieces, more immersive, but just
as fascinating. Its simple - or even harmless - appearance imbues the
approach issue with extra urgency. Rothkamm: "On ALT I have set up iterative
procedures on physical machines (as opposed to a linear process in
software). Once the process is in motion, no or minimal intervention takes
place. Each piece on ALT has the same premise: to create an infinity
machine, a deus ex machina, to experience an infinite process in a finite
amount of time."
On its own, this Rothkamm CD can be appreciated openly, and fans of Scanner
and Biosphere will take a shine to it. Taken in the context of the artist's
oeuvre, it embodies yet another enigma (amplified by the symbolic and
numerological games found in the track titles and durations). For that, ALT
makes an excellent introduction to the Rothkammian mystery.
ALT is out now on Baskaru.
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