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Catalog No: karu:15
Artist: ROTHKAMM
Title: ALT
Label: Baskaru
Length: 39:34
Composed: 1989-2002
Release Date: 10/31/2009
Edition Size: 1000
File Under: analog computers
ambient


AMBIENT ENIGMATICA

He cultivates enigmas. He leaves no one cold. He could be the next genius the rightthinking 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 : FB01,FB02,FB03), 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 being released by the French independent label Baskaru. Baskaru publishes only a few carefully-selected releases each year. Its previous productions (including albums by Ethan Rose, Symbiosis Orchestra, Francisco L�pez, Lawrence English, Yoshio Machida, and Maurizio Bianchi, among others) have already established high artistic and visual standards.

Francois Couture



Tracklisting: year opus
[01] New York AAA 1997 281 4:40
[02] New York GUI 1997 290 2:58
[03] New York RED 1996 338 7:44
[04] San Francisco OOO 1990 132 3:32
[05] New York SUN 1997 284 3:00
[06] New York LOW 1997 339 0:58
[07] New York MID 1998 294 4:29
[08] New York RND 2002 366 1:22
[09] New York DEC 1997 343 1:05
[10] Vancouver B.C. CON 1989 121 9:46




Reviews:

GAZ-ETA  POLAND
 
German based composer and conceptual artist Frank Rothkamm returns with his latest release "ALT 1989-2009". I am assuming this is a compilation of some of his work realized during the last two decades that he processed on analog computers and algorithms. The man better known for providing rhythm synthesis for people like Elliott Sharp, Alfred 23 Harth, Wolfgang Muthspiel, DJ Spooky, Hardkiss Bros, supplied music for commercials, remixes for Zeena Parkins, Rebekka Bakken, the Cranberries is also busy on a number of conceptual projects. Amongst those are a 3CD + 1 DVD set called "Tetralogy". All of these ideas keep Rothkamm extremely busy but what is crucial on the latest effort is his music.

The music he presents on this release is as bare as it gets. Full of delicate shifts of grumbling bass-like loops, through to rumblings of something that could be mistaken for an organ, all the way through to sampled choral sections. Sounds are never oversaturated, nor do they attack the listener all at once. Rather, Rothkamm keeps a steady pulse on the proceedings to ensure minimal development occurs within the realm of an individual piece.

"ALT 1989-2009" turns out to be a fantastic effort, brimming with novel ideas and musical dexterity to spare.
 
Tom Sekowski GAZ-ETA

CFLX  CANADA
 
Sherbrooke, le 29 décembre 2009 — L’émission radiophonique Délire Actuel consacrée aux musiques exigeantes (CFLX-FM, Sherbrooke, Québec) annonce aujourd’hui son palmarès des 30 disques à ne pas manquer en musique expérimentale pour 2009. Cette liste regroupe 30 titres représentant la crème des musiques exigeantes, soit la frange avant-gardiste ou expérimentale de tous les genres musicaux (musique contemporaine, jazz actuel, improvisation libre, avant-rock, électronique, etc.).

« Ce que j’appelle musique exigeante recoupe les notions de musique actuelle, expérimentale, d’avant-garde, novatrice, etc., explique François Couture, coréalisateur de l’émission. Évidemment, je n’ai pas tout entendu ce qui s’est fait en 2009, loin de là! Donc, je ne prétends pas présenter LES 30 meilleurs disques de l’année, mais bien MES 30 meilleurs disques! Néanmoins, vu les quelque 600 disques soumis à mon attention cette année, j’espère que les artistes et les étiquettes de disque concernées sauront s’enorgueillir de figurer dans ce Top 30. »

Délire Actuel présentera son Top 30 lors de deux éditions spéciales qui seront diffusées ce soir (29 décembre) et mardi prochain (4 janvier), de 20 h à 22 h (heure de l’Est), sur les ondes de CFLX. Un extrait de chaque disque y sera présenté. La liste des 30 disques sélectionnés par François Couture a été publié ce matin sur le blogue Monsieur Délire (blog.monsieurdelire.com). On peut syntoniser CFLX au 95,5 FM dans la région de Sherbrooke ou sur le web au www.cflx.qc.ca.

Sherbrooke, December 29, 2009 — The demanding music radio show Délire Actuel (CFLX-FM, Sherbrooke, Quebec) unveiled today its top 30 experimental music albums you shouldn’t have missed in 2008. This list culls 30 titles, the 2009 crème de la crème in demanding music, i.e. the avant-gardist or experimental fringe in every music genre (contemporary, avant-garde jazz, free improvisation, avant-rock, electronica, etc.).

“What I call demanding music covers the notions of experimental music, avant-garde music, innovative music, musique actuelle, etc.,” explained François Couture, producer of the show. “Obviously, I haven’t heard everything released in 2009! So, I am not pretending that these are THE best records of the year, but they are MY best 30 records of the year. And, since they were selected from somewhere around 6000 submissions, I hope that the artists and record labels can find a little pride in appearing on this Top 30.”

Two special editions of Délire Actuel will be broadcasted tonight (December 29) and next Tuesday (January 4), from 8 pm to 10 pm (EST), on CFLX. A track from each selected CD will be featured. The Top 30 was posted this morning on the blog Monsieur Délire (blog.monsieurdelire.com). You can tune in to CFLX at 95.5 FM in the Sherbrooke area, or anywhere over the web at www.cflx.qc.ca.

Le Top 30 des musiques exigeantes 2009 de Délire Actuel

Délire Actuel’s 2009 Demanding Music Top 30

Format des notices : Artiste Titre Étiquette

Nouveautés et rééditions combinées. Présentation par ordre alphabétique.

Reference format: Artist Title Label

New releases and new reissues combined. Alphabetical order.

1. Henry Cow The Road: Volumes 1-5 + Volumes 6-10 ReR Megacorp

2. Magma Ëmëhntëtt-Rê Seventh Records

3. Supersilent 9 Rune Grammofon

4. Vainio, Mika Aíneen Musta Puhelin (Black Telephone of Matter) Touch

5. Kreng L’autopsie phénoménale de Dieu MIasmah

6. Bouhalassa, Ned Gratte-cité empreintes DIGITALes

7. Furt Sense Psi

8. Derome, Jean Plates-formes et traquenards Disques Victo

9. Dixon, Bill Tapestries for Small Orchestra Firehouse 12

10. Miriodor Avanti! Cuneiform

11. Alva Noto - Ryuchi Sakamoto - Ensemble Modern Utp_ Raster-Noton

12. Brady, Tim My 20th Century Ambiances Magnétiques

13. Victor Ensemble, Fay The Freesong Suite Greene Avenue Music

14. Hildegard lernt fliegen ...vom fernen Kern der Sache Unit Records

15. Rubin, Justin Nostalgia Innova Recordings

16. Vialka Succès planétaire international Vialka

17. Speak Easy Backchats Creative Sources

18. Quatuor Bozzini Hozhro Collection QB

19. Kinit Her Glyms or Beame of Radicall Truthes Hinterzimmer Records

20. Led Bib Sensible Shoes Cuneiform

21. Rothkamm ALT Baskaru

22. Rodéoscopique Rodéoscopique Audiogram

23. Mirthkon Vehicle AltrOck

24. Rupp, Olaf - Marino Pliakas - Michael Wertmüller Too Much is Not Enough FMP

25. Pateras, Anthony - Robin Fox End of Daze Editions Mego

26. Jones Trio, Darius Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) AUM Fidelity

27. MC Maguire Trash of Civilizations Innova Recordings

28. Agnel, Sophie Capsizing Moments Emanem

29. Mezei Wind Quartet, Szilárd We Were Watching the Rain Leo Records

30. Martin, Aaron Chautauqua Preservation
 
Francois Couture CFLX

MUSICAREACTION 
 
Symphonies for minimum vibration and analog computers, the music of Franck Rothkamm does not leave indifferent. In this case, ALT, the new album from German-American composer (also a conceptual artist and philosopher) is a marvel. A refined and melody of (false) simplicity, it is a constant reinvention.

Built on algorithms as elegant and complex, ALT, paradoxically, in part a voluntary process accessible, evoking the atmosphere of the pioneers of electronic clear that called the current electronica, like Biosphere or scanner, when it 's is no further, experiments play Germans Cluster (Moebius and Rodelius). Upon listening, you actually believe Zuckerzeit particular, a disc consisting of two mini-albums from the duo in 1974. Because it is mainly in the approach of the physical process of creating electronic sounds (pushed, pressure, vertical, horizontal) - Rothkam sharing feature to be here with her elder Germanic - so moving that ALT, published in French Baskaru, research approaches of these two great elders.

Like the purely physical phenomena such as electricity, mechanics and hydraulics implemented by the computers to model a problem to solve, Franck Rothkamm based on physical characteristics of sound to compose his lap ten pieces alternately melodic and fractured. Result? A timeless album, which certainly will cross the ages, to enroll in the electronic landscape classic (those that study in conservatories), while remaining unique and innovative.

See a demonstration of Franck Rothkam on Youtube:

-- original French --

Symphonies minimales et vibratoires pour calculateurs analogiques, la musique de Franck Rothkamm ne laisse pas indifférente. En l’occurrence, ALT, le nouvel album du compositeur américano-allemand (également philosophe et artiste conceptuel) est une vraie merveille. A la fois raffinée et confondante de (fausse) simplicité, elle est une constante réinvention.

Bâtie sur des algorithmes aussi élégants que complexes, ALT, s’inscrit paradoxalement dans une démarche volontairement accessible, évoquant l’ambient électronique limpide des pionniers de ce que l’on nomme le courant electronica, tels que Biosphere ou Scanner, quand ce n’est pas plus avant, les expérimentations ludiques des Allemands de Cluster (Moebius et Rodelius). A son écoute, on pense en effet particulièrement à Zuckerzeit, un disque composé de deux mini-albums du duo en 1974. Car c’est surtout dans l’approche du processus physique de la création de sons électroniques (poussés, pressions, verticalité, horizontalité) - particularité que Rothkam partage ici avec ses ainés germaniques - que cet ALT si émouvant, paru chez les français Baskaru, se rapproche des recherches de ces deux grands anciens.

A l’image des phénomènes purement physiques que sont l’électricité, la mécanique et l’hydraulique mis en oeuvre par ces calculateurs pour modéliser un problème à résoudre, Franck Rothkamm s’appuie sur les caractéristiques physiques du son pour composer ses dix pièces  tour à tour mélodiques et fracturées. Résultat ? Un album hors du temps, qui traversera certainement les âges, pour s’inscrire dans le paysage électronique classique (de ceux qu’on étudiera dans les conservatoires), tout en restant exceptionnel et innovant.

Voir une démonstration de Franck Rothkam sur Youtube :
 
Maxence, MUSICAREACTION

THEMILKFACTORY 
 
Despite a body of work that spans over twenty solo releases, spread over twenty five years, German-born musician and conceptual artist Frank Rothkamm has remained a fairly enigmatic figure for most. Beside his own music, Rothkamm, who currently lives in Los Angeles, has provided music and sound design for big international corporations (Levi Strauss, Philips, Hewlett-Packard, Ford, Warner Bros…), and has worked with a wide range of artists, including the likes of Lesa Carlson, Wolfgang Muthspiel or DJ Spooky.

Released on the excellent Baskaru, ALT sequences ten fairly minimal pieces, all named using seemingly random collections of three letters, some ordered in familiar patterns (SUN, RED, LOW, CON, GUI) others in more mysterious strings (AAA, RND, OOO, DEC). The music appears to focus on the introspective experimentations of granular electronic sounds and tones, often taking the appearance of slow evolutive drones and textures, which are not without evoking some of Tangerine Dream’s early experiments. While the sonic aspect of the record is relatively varied, Rothkamm works from a very limited palette on each track, making the most of the malleable nature of analogue electronics. The result varies from deeply reflective pieces, concentrated toward the middle of the album it appears (SUN, LOW, MID, RND) to more expressive constructions, whether they are purely sound-based (AAA, DEC) or support fragments of melody (GUI, RED, CON), while on OOO, Rothkamm processes an artificial choral loop which has for a moment this album slip into a particularly ethereal and haunting mood.

ALT is in many ways as enigmatic as its creator, its soundscapes remaining for the most part sparse and entirely artificial, with no clear clues to their provenance. It is as if Rothkamm was concerned with the very essence of each sound used here, and that they should work as stand-alone components, . This micro-level approach is fascinating throughout, but it takes a singular dimension in the central cluster of meditative tracks. While they are perfectly delineated, Rothkamm has placed them specifically to create the illusion that these four pieces continuously morph into one another, the range progressively dropping from somewhere toward the higher end of the spectrum on SUN down to much lower frequencies on RND.

Elsewhere, the magnified pulses that ripple through AAA or DEC, although very different, add an element of grit to the record. On the former, the pulses remain fairly constant throughout, only becoming more potent as the track progresses, while on the latter, the bright motif which echoes through the beginning of the piece soon clouds over and eventually disappear into the lower end. With GUI and RED, Rothkamm opens his sound pool more, even adding a brush of guitar to his electronics on the former, but it is with the synthetic choir of OOO that the album reaches its emotional peak, the piece a stark counterpoint to the earlier contemplative compositions.

With this album, Frank Rothkamm has created a particularly effective atmospheric experimental work which, while rooted in the early Kosmische scene by way of austere minimal soundscapes, is very relevant to contemporary electronic music. A particularly refined record, where less is definitely more, ALT is definitely not to be missed.
 
themilkman THEMILKFACTORY

EARLABS 
 
Excellent new compilation from German sound art legend Rothkamm

Frank Rothkamm is German composer who lives and works in Los Angeles. He is well-respected for his compositional skills first of all operating in spheres of abstract sound art. Present album is a compilation of "analog computers and algorithms" created over a span of 20 years from 1989-2009.

Being a tough one to pigeonhole, the expression of the album range from abstract to semi-melodic moments. Thanks to the analogue approach there is a nice classic electronic sound of the album drawing associations towards early days of Kraftwerk, Brian Eno and Laurie Anderson. Despite the fact that the sound recalls aforementioned pioneering composers, the compositional approach of "Alt" is personal and timeless.

On the accesible line you find tracks such as "Gui" containing a nice western guitar sample sounding like Ry Cooder on a space trip, the alluring choir-based piece titled "000" and the closing piece titled "Con". But even the accessible parts of the album hypnotizes. Thus the album is one of those that you keep returning to.

The more you listen to it, the more it rewards. Alluring work of art!
 
Niels Mark EARLABS

ECHOES-ONLINE.COM 
 
Boris Groys: The avant-garde work of art is precisely the one that reflects his own aesthetic, historical, political and other contextualization explicitly in itself. If one deducts from an avant-garde work of art that comment, it just remains a very traditional piece of art. The avant-garde art is in need of commentary, in fact, not a work of art, but to be avant-garde. The comment is [these works of art not so] outwardly, but an integral part of what makes them interesting for modern, avant-garde art - Frank Rothkamm is certainly an artist who is more (but not Exclude work) about the idea than about the aesthetic reception , the theory can be creative.

Works such as the variations on the first ten notes of the Spongebob Squarepants theme song-(Opus Spongebobicum, 2008) or the super modern manifesto (The plan for the pure and applied electronic music of supermodernism calls for the randomization of man and machine, so that the boundary between them will not be told with certainty and the randomization of music and time, so that no absolute placement in a linear historical terms can be made) which is indicative of irony and sincerity, awareness, and spontaneity, art and artifice, radicalism and Pop education, facilities, real options, which is already important as a concept and should not be further paraphrased, and therefore harmless to hear that you have not even, it is sufficient that it exists.

The procedures for ALT, the album, to which we are talking now, is of Rothkamm, and thus the ratio Marathon will be brought to an end, described as 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 and infinity machine, a deus ex machina, to experience an infinite process in a finite amount of time. Of these, already reflects the tracklist, which begins and ends with AAA CON - sound loops that are also ideas that are also quite different, black holes, which are suspended in space and time, a Mehralssound, a reflective circling Paradox; on maddest But: It is not only abstraction but also trivial pleasure. ALT is in fact, been in all the theoretical background of music and the artist, a very rich sound, harmonious, exciting ambient electronic album.

(Citing Boris Groys: The pop-flavored, in: Grasskamp and others (eds.): What is Pop. 10 attempts, Frankfurt / M., 2004, p.101) (Citing Boris Groys: The pop-flavored, in: Grasskamp and eds others (): What is Pop. 10 attempts, Frankfurt / M., 2004, p.101)

-- original German --

Boris Groys: Das avantgardistische Kunstwerk ist eben dasjenige, das seine eigene ästhetische, historische, politische und sonstige Kontextualisierung explizit in sich selbst reflektiert. Wenn man von einem avantgardistischen Kunstwerk den Kommentar abzieht, dann bleibt eben ein sehr traditionelles Kunstwerk übrig. Das avantgardistische Kunstwerk ist in der Tat kommentarbedürftig, aber nicht um ein Kunstwerk, sondern um avantgardistisch zu sein. Der Kommentar ist [diesen Kunstwerken] also nicht äußerlich, sondern ein integraler Teil dessen, was aus ihnen interessante, moderne, avantgardistische Kunstwerke macht - Frank Rothkamm ist sicherlich ein Künstler, der mehr (aber nicht aussschließlich) über die Idee funktioniert als über ästhetische Rezeption, der Theorie kreativ werden lässt.

Werke wie die Variationen über die ersten zehn Töne der Spongebob-Schwammkopf-Titelmelodie (Opus Spongebobicum, 2008) oder sein Manifest der Supermoderne (The plan for the pure and applied electronic music of supermodernism calls for the randomization of man and machine, so that the boundary between them won't be told with certainty and the randomization of music and time, so that no absolute placement in linear historical terms can be made), das zeugt von Ironie und Ernsthaftigkeit, Bewusstsein und Spontaneität, Kunst und Künstlichkeit, Radikalität und Pop, von Möglichkeiten, realen Möglichkeiten; das ist schon als Konzept wichtig und soll gar nicht weiter paraphrasiert und folglich verharmlost werden, das muss man nichtmal hören, es reicht, dass es das gibt.
Die Verfahrensweise bei ALT, dem Album, um das es hier nun geht, wird von Rothkamm, und damit soll der Zitatmarathon zu Ende gebracht sein, beschrieben als 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. Davon zeugt schon die Tracklist, die mit AAA beginnt und mit CON endet - Soundschleifen, die gleichzeitig Ideen sind, die gleichzeitig etwas ganz anderes sind, Schwarze Löcher, in denen Raum und Zeit aufgehoben sind, ein Mehralssound, ein reflektierend kreisendes Paradox; am tollsten aber: Es ist nicht nur Abstraktion, sondern auch trivialer Genuss. ALT ist nämlich, bei allem theoretischen Background der Musik und des Künstlers, ein überaus klangreiches, harmonisches, spannendes Ambient-Elektronik-Album geworden.

(Zitat Boris Groys: Der Pop-Geschmack; in: Grasskamp u.a. (Hrsg.): Was ist Pop. 10 Versuche, Frankfurt/M. 2004, S.101)
 
Steffen Greiner ECHOES-ONLINE.COM

TOUCHING EXTREMES  ITALY
 
Two synonyms associated to Rothkamm's name considered as an adjective – frank – are “open” and “transparent”; that’s exactly what the tracks shaping this record feel like. Thanks to a set of algorithms and computers put in motion without secondary human intervention, we benefit from a valuable therapy consisting of uncomplicated – minimal, you may say - electronic designs that, at the same time, are austerely efficient and, in a couple of examples, plainly stunning.

“Gui” utilizes a modified sliding guitar sample as a hooking “theme” in such a tantalizing fashion that Wim Wenders might wish to grab it for the second edition of Paris, Texas; “OOO” makes us wonder instead if a reiteration of overlaid choir scraps is indeed the sound that will be heard after our vanishing. Perhaps the main aspect to be chewed over is the music's overall tendency to reveal facets that are both positively “present-day” and hinting to the past. More than “ambient”, in fact, one tends to think about certain episodes as some sort of slowed-down development of constructions grown from selected branches of the German cosmic era. The impeccable linearity and the untainted geometry of these structures are definitely relatable to that area of exploration.

This notwithstanding, a clear reference to the typically uncompromising traits of Rothkamm's work is also detectable. Creativity that doesn't need excess to affirm its value, only the sureness and the deep conviction that an idea, or even a single fragment, is sufficient for the instigation of an important artistic signal if that lone element is given the proper light and angles. There lie the rewarding aspects of Alt, sounds that enhance the positive features perceived by the mind during a listening session, stimulating a dynamic response that goes well beyond the mere “I appreciate it/I don't” feedback.
 
Massimo Ricci TOUCHING EXTREMES

TOKAFI  GERMANY
 
Understanding and enjoying at the same time: A bond between technical sounds and real life.

Candidly broken down into several chapters of electronic and purely computer-enhanced sounds, Frank Rothkamm's „ALT“ seems hard to digest at first. Is it merely a blasphemy of artistic randomness or something else, something conceptual after all? The sounds he's developed are, without fail, well-shaped, precisely executed  and groomed with exceptional care and dedication. It indeed seems as though there were a ‘Grand Rule’ behind it all. But what is it?

ALT unfolds like a symphony of electronic music, making sense of and enhancing its elements, like the chapters of a story, like the sequences of a television series, like the A’s and O’s of life, a regular person’s life. First, there is the foundation, setting the rhythm, but not the melody. The following chapters add to the whole piece, defining in a way which path is to be taken, projecting where the listener and his mind may end up. Computer-created choirs are introduced as background music, not only complementing the growing range of notes, but also the bond between technical sounds and real life.

The latter seems to be at least one of the objectives of Rothkamm. Born in the city of Gütersloh, in the north-western area of Germany, he selected Los Angeles, California, as the place to develop and hone his artistic talents, obvious not only in his musical solo-output but also in his important and very much appreciated contributions for several projects ranging from notable clients such as Warner Bros., Ford, Hewlett Packard and the Los Angeles Times, to just name a few. As a result, ALT indeed has an immediate appeal, and it may well be a manifesto to the aesthetic of ‘supermodernism’, proclaimed by Rothkamm in 2002, trying to ‘overthrow the dominant illusion of reality’. But let’s not indulge too much in words and definitions. With regards to what I called the ‘Grand Rule’ at the beginning, I’d like to suggest a much more simple train of thought.

Rothkamm has published a well-balanced piece of art with this album. On the one hand, it offers a variety of interpretations, depending on the listener’s state of mind. At the same time, he has created a structured composition, which leads the way these interpretations may go. Deriving pleasure from conceptual music isn't always easy. At times merely trying to understand it is hard enough. With ALT, however, Rothkamm has achieved the ideal: Enabling the listeners to understand and enjoy at the same time.
 
Fred M. Wheeler TOKAFI

LE SON DU GRISLI  FRANCE
 
Man with multiple functions (composer, philosopher, conceptual artist), Germany's Frank Rothkamm aka Rothkamm explores roads trenches of abstract electronica on his new opus. Hosted on the French Baskaru pharmacy, master of ceremonies for one of the greatest records of its kind in the past year (HB Francisco López & Lawrence English), ALT 1989-2009 calls for a dive in the original thick coldness North, in the atmospheres of colors but more changeable than it seems at first.

Everything starts on a heavy vibration and disturbing (AAA), and uniquely modernist evocation of Ursula Bogner, more successful and controlled. Beautifully broken down into various themes and specific, the following moments are interspersed in the breaks genre. Echoes of Americana Square on Both Sides escaped on Expanding Records, where deviance Galactic founder Syd Barrett send Nocturnal Emissions - when it is time Tuxedomoon The Ghost Sonata exploring some of Benge Twenty Systems - flowering is concerned turns gray, amazingly beautiful and febrile. More often, the memory of the giant Arctic Biosphere predominates, such as unexpected weight of a glacier matamoréen of funds arising from obscurity to threaten us his next cast. Do not forget to don your detective before the long trek ahead.

-- original french --

Homme aux multiples fonctions (compositeur, philosophe, artiste conceptuel), l’Allemand Frank Rothkamm aka Rothkamm explore les routes tranchées de l’abstraction électronica sur son nouvel opus. Hébergé sur l’officine française Baskaru, maître de cérémonie d’un des plus grands disques du genre en cette année qui s’achève (HB de Francisco López & Lawrence English), ALT 1989-2009 invite à une originale plongée dans les froideurs épaisses du nord, dans des atmosphères aux coloris toutefois plus changeants qu’il n’y paraît de prime abord.

Tout démarre sur une vibration lourde et inquiétante (AAA), évocation univoque et moderniste d’Ursula Bogner, en plus abouti et maîtrisé. Merveilleusement déclinés en des thèmes variés et précis, les instants suivants s’intercalent dans les ruptures de genres. Echos américana d’un Square On Both Sides échappé sur Expanding Records, déviance galactique où Syd Barrett enverrait sombrer Nocturnal Emissions – quand ce n’est Tuxedomoon période The Ghost Sonata explorant quelques-uns des Twenty Systems de Benge – la floraison s’inquiète des tournures de gris, étonnamment belles et fébriles. Encore plus souvent, c’est le souvenir arctique du géant Biosphere qui prédomine, tel le poids insoupçonné d’un glacier matamoréen surgissant du fonds de l’obscurité pour nous menacer de sa fonte prochaine. N’oubliez pas d’enfiler votre polar avant le grand départ vers l’horizon.
 
Fabrice Vanoverberg LE SON DU GRISLI

MAEROR3 
 
"He Rodkamm, but friends call him Frank Rodkamm" - so is his new "family member" label «Baskaru», offering the audience a look at this album in particular and multifaceted creativity of the German composer in general. Rodkamm began its activities in the early eighties, have embraced "a cluster network" with its strange but many film talents of manipulation and "collage" music, then fell silent for a while to return again in the nineties, creating new material and removing records from the store in the past years. Disk «Alt», blend tracks recorded over the last decade, should please fans of ambient music in his minimalist and experimental forms of existence. The first part of the album is almost entirely devoted to the manipulation of Frank with short and very "standard" samples, extracted from libraries is not the newest and most clever "synthesizers. By launching them in a circle, a musician in every way transforms their sound over and over again (slowly turning the equipment), making it louder, then quieter, then pulling, then accelerating, muffling and changing the equalizer settings. On the track «GUI» on the same principle is changing very beautiful piece of guitar improvisation (something blues heard in her, at least at first), against which the echo of the sweep of the molecule, separated from her the same, and other "digital garbage" . The structure of the album changes from the beginning of «RED», the author brings together in one song many seemingly unrelated sounds and begins to build one sequence, during which quickly picks up and carries with him, plunging into the depths of vibration, pulsation, resonance, entangling stratagem of an infinite set of elements (among them can even hear the characteristic «Kraftwerk» cold "machine" of consonance). Examining the curves of the amplitudes in the «SUN» and reaching the full minimum in «LOW», since «MID» Rodkamm brings everyone in the world is warm and still, like a summer night, ambient, transparent, vibrating in the air, spreading a uniform flow in infinite space . Through it sometimes penetrate the signals properly operating equipment, the echo of voices and church chorales ( «OOO»), creating a very unusual atmosphere. The last two pieces of the album - another excerpt from the popular sound libraries, work with sounds that someone just not used to create electronic music, from trance and Hausa to the usual "pop". Their smooth glide up and down, their synthetic harmony pleasing to the ear and only - but, in our time and many are willing to accept as a boon. Press release label calls it all «Ambient Enigmatica» and argues that Rodkamm cultivates mystery. Perhaps they do not exaggerate, these lucky few, to catch in its catalog this wonderful album, claiming to love many listeners.
 
maeror3 MAEROR3

BLOW UP  ITALY
 
Rothkamm is nuts, and these are his third and fourth disc that we have in our hands within two months, and are completely different from each other.

The first contains 26 short fugues carried out on a '34 Steinway piano kindly provided by this Zahra, who also lends his man, these are just flights of classical music performed in pairs "in the exact Baroque conception of 'pure ornament' in compliance of the cantus firmus, the song of a fixed structure. Trivialized and the ancestors of improvisation: O tempora.

"ALT" contains just sounds instead, of analog computers built on/for algorithms: Saying "ambient", to understand, with inspiration from vacuum-driven in the dark cosmic darker pictures or trends-tension classical and opera (!) or the edge of music video game.

The nice thing however is that both discs are done well and work: rating of (7) to both, and estimates for increasing an "outsider" of this sort.
 
s.i.b. BLOW UP

EXCLAIM!  CANADA
 
Germany-born and L.A.-based sound sculptor Frank Rothkamm is extremely prolific. Subscribing to the aesthetics of supermodernism and sci-fi serialism, Rothkamm's discography contains at least 20 releases. ALT contains ten relatively short pieces that were created between 1989 and 2009 by what Rothkamm says are analog computers and algorithms. Far from the frigid, clinical atmosphere shown on the cover art, the music is decidedly pleasant, its temperate ambient undulations and outer space melodies revealing many emotional states. Rothkamm's sparing use of samples, such as on "GUI" and "OOO," further enhances the organic feeling of the electronic tones. It's this brevity and simplicity that make ALT an enjoyable listen; Rothkamm chooses not to weigh his sound constructions down with excess, choosing to let them float freely. This is the true essence of ambient music.
 
Bryon Hayes EXCLAIM!

SOLÉNOPOLE  FRANCE
 
Artist conceptually related as much to writing music that philosophy, Franck ROTHKAMM develops compositions layering sheets fuzzy melodic lines to produce a clear impact of the most haunting. On this disc the listener is thus transported in a subtle spatial acoustic space, leading him to discover novel fields of perception. An album with creamy textures and quiet atmosphere designed to captivate fans of trance music fresh. Fans of Biosphere or scanner should not sulk pleasure.

-- original French --

Artiste conceptuel, touchant autant à l’écriture musicale qu’à la philosophie, Franck ROTHKAMM élabore des compositions superposant des nappes floues à des lignes mélodiques claires pour produire un impact des plus envoûtants. Sur ce disque l'auditeur se voit ainsi transporté dans un espace acoustique subtilement spatialisé, l'amenant à découvrir des champs de perception inédits. Un album aux textures onctueuses et à l'atmosphère paisible conçu pour captiver les adeptes d'hypnose musicale douce. Les fans de Scanner ou de Biosphere ne devraient pas bouder leur plaisir.
 
Olivier Lehoux SOLÉNOPOLE

ALL ABOUT JAZZ  USA
 
Frank Rothkamm is not a type whose music is what is called easy or listenable. Emblem of his madness by electronic collage, as minimal, and Alt Baskaru French label, ten tracks of ambient electronic music that have jobs and friends Rothkamm (basically Jeffrey Fredrickson and Frank Genius) written between 1989 and 2009 to / Computer analog and algorithms.

As you know listeners like that even in the dark, cold and dense electronic textures there is always a little 'poetry. So with the unfolding of these tracks listening minimal, but still dense, seemingly no different from many good computer music, sound is revealed the geography of a truly new world (sound). Accomplices or a jewel box is devoid of any type of claim [even the song titles ... Although the site of the label rectifies this Mancan], which shows photo-collage of futuristic and imaginative that allows us to outline what more we like what we hear: imagine and make real plays lunar or plutonium in a third track of great poetry even seem to carillon music. Almost brilliant ... algorithms if they were not born to a computer!

On this occasion I can not resist the temptation to point out also the beautiful project made recently by Rothkamm on Frank Zappa, a masterpiece of electronic collage!

-- original Italien --

Frank Rothkamm non è un tipo la cui musica è quel che si dice facile o ascoltabile. Emblema della sua follia da collage elettronico, in veste minimal, è ALT, dell'etichetta francese Baskaru, dieci tracce di ambient electronic music che presentano lavori di Rothkamm and friends (sostanzialmente Jeffrey Fredrickson e Frank Genius) scritti tra il 1989 e il 2009 per/con computers analogici e algoritmi.

Come ben sanno gli ascoltatori del genere anche nelle più oscure, fredde e fitte trame elettroniche c'è sempre un po' poesia. Così con lo svolgersi di queste tracce d'ascolto minimal, ma comunque dense, all'apparenza non diverse da tanta buona computer music, si disvela la geografia sonora di un vero e proprio nuovo mondo (sonoro). Complice ne è una jewel box privo di ogni tipo di indicazione [neanche dei titoli dei brani... anche se il sito dell'etichetta pone rimedio a questa mancana], che presenta delle foto-collage futuristiche e immaginifiche che ci consento di delineare quel che più ci piace di quanto ascoltiamo: immaginiamo e facciamo veri e propri ascolti lunari o plutonici che in una terza traccia di grande poesia sembrano persino musiche da carillon. Quasi geniale... se non fossero algoritmi partoriti da un computer!

Per l'occasione non posso resistere alla tentazione di segnalare anche il bel progetto realizzato di recente da Rothkamm su Frank Zappa, un capolavoro di collage elettronico!
 
Francesca Odilia Bellino ALL ABOUT JAZZ

VITAL WEEKLY  NETHERLANDS
 
Over the past few years I must admit I have a strong affection for the music of Frank Rothkamm. He is a serious composer of electronic music, but he's always in for a surprise or two, usually hidden as a concept that lurks underneath the music, but the great thing is that it is never in the way of the music. Creating a CD with piano variations of the first ten of the tune to 'Spongbob Squarepants', an electro record, an organ record and now with 'Alt' he produces an ambient record. When the machines rock (I took that from Gary Numan), they rock, that's the idea of Rothkamm. He sets the parameters of a piece on his machines - an array of analogue synthesizers or perhaps digital ones, and when everything is set in motion, he hardly adjusts the machines to what they are doing. Thus he creates ten variations to that theme, which harks back to say Brian Eno and everything that came after that, say Pete Namlook (but shorter in duration), say HIA, say Biosphere or anything on Hypnos (but perhaps at times a bit more 'loop' based, rather than endless sustaining sounds. As such, perhaps this album, is not the greatest revelation in music you could expect from Rothkamm, but in his catalogue of works so far, its perhaps the least conceptual one - or perhaps just a very loose concept: create an ambient album - but like so much else of his work, this is quite a pleasant, late night listening album. Nice one. Again.
 
Frans de Waard VITAL WEEKLY

CHAIN D.L.K.  USA
 
One of the most enigmatic and prolific conceptual artist and philopher - as he’s considered the progenitor of some aesthetical ideas such as supermodernism, and IFORMM, acronym for (intuitive|improvised) (future|forth) oriented (retrograde|realtime) (motion|music) (music|machine), a sort of self-explanatory aesthetical idea…- , the German-born - but currently living in the former Wilshare Royale hotel, a 20ies dismissed building rich in panache in Los Angeles - Frank Holger Rothkamm chalks up another release fostering the mysterious and sometimes inscrutable aura around its character, but after many sound explorations including bizarre works between snooty academic-like austerity even if often peppered with kitsch elements (such as the FB series issued by Flux Records) and a certain sense of humour (i.e. the funny bunch of piano variations in Opus Spongebobicum), he decides to collect some fuzzy oddities he grabbed from his beloved analogue machines. Although Frank Rothkamm works on a limited palette of sounds, it’s not so correct to say ALT, released by the excellent French label Baskaru, is a microtonal ensemble as it’s decidedly more accessible and less “elitist” than his previous albums.

The role of the composer seems to be limited to the booting of self-feeding iterative processes and by his own admittance Rothkamm acts just as a sprinkle for subsequent fire! The premise is to create a sort of what he calls an “infinity machine” in order to experience an infinite process in a finite amount of time: it’s like the composer inject some starting tones and a generally triadic tonal sequence, reprising its vision of the theorized tri-fold unity of tuning, synthesis and instrument partially reflected in the funny choice to entitle its track with a 3-letter code, whose meaning is sometimes clear (such as the subtonal LOW or GUI, one of the rare track in which there’s a sign of melody created from a guitar sample of Max Laesser), sometimes quite obscure and almost esoteric. Then it seems the machine turns knobs and adjusts pitches by its own! I’ll guess ALT could be just a sampling exhibition of analogue synths close to the “historical” one recently released by Benge aka Ben Edwards on Expanding if I could ignore its author, so that ALT is more like a compendium to unveil Rothkammian mistery, but it ends to embody another enigma amplified by symbolic tricks and numerological games you could find in the track titles, their durations along a total timing of 39 minutes and 39 seconds and compositions as well. You could ask yourself if Herr Rothkamm looks like more the wittiest follower of Wilson’s modus operandi or shares the same metaphysical-logical vision by Leibnitz in order to traduce it into sound.
 
Vito Camarretta CHAIN D.L.K.

FOXY DIGITALIS  USA
 
“ALT” is a series of precise, computerized statements, each seemingly complete in and of themselves. Frank Rothkamm, in addition to electronic sound manipualtor, is also a conceptual artist, and prior releases have featured experiments with odd instruments, toy instruments, orchestrated environments, etc. So is there a concept here? Does the whole signify anything? If the title is deliberate, though enigmatic—alternate, alteration, alternative-- what is this an alternate form of, an alteration of what?

Of the ten tracks, the opener is the weakest. “AAA” is merely a bumpy pulse that wobbles a few times, but goes nowhere or creates no response. “GUI” is almost Eastern, with a guitar-driven tone becoming increasingly more clean, resonant, vibrant. The hermetic, submarine, claustrophonic of “RED” segues into the sci-fi noir of “SUN.” As the record progresses, the tones begin to approach stand alone soundscapes, reflecting Krautrock-like coolness (“OOO”) or a spacy, nebulous curiosity (“MID”). “CON,” a moody closer, feels like a summation of themes, though there aren’t any.

“ALT” is puzzling, then not. Frank Rothkamm’s sound-shaping can be heard as individual moments, or a loosely linked set of fleeting atmospheres. In that sense, it really doesn’t matter if there is a concept; these are tones that drift by, and then fade out before questions really seem important.
 
Mike Wood FOXY DIGITALIS

SKUG  AUSTRIA
 
The German-American sound artist Frank Rothkamm takes on ALT a journey through minimalist drones from analog and digital machines. On the CD cover is an excerpt from C.D. Friedrich's "Das Eismeer". The harsh effect [of the image] leads only halfway to on the right track: Rothkamm, energetic musician with a weakness for Hollywood soundtracks & for the theoretical grotesque ( "Opus Spongebobicum"), has collaborated to with Alfred 23 Harth, Wolfgang Muthspiel and Elliot Sharp, and creates here flowing soundscapes, which put one's body into a suspended state. ALT brings quite accessible ambient textures that could spin endlessly in principle. Music that is exciting while reading a book or as attentive listening. Something new does not necessarily happen here, but ALT is made with convincing craftsmanship.

-- original German --

Der deutsch-amerikanische Soundkünstler Frank Rothkamm unternimmt auf »Alt« eine Reise in minimalistische Drones aus analogen und digitalen Maschinen. Auf dem CD-Cover ist ein Ausschnitt aus C. D. Friedrichs »Das Eismeer« abgebildet. Dieser harsche Eindruck führt nur bedingt auf die die richtige Spur: Rothkamm, umtriebiger Musiker für Hollywood-Soundtracks mit Faible fürs Theoretisch-Groteske (»Opus Spongebobicum«), kollaborierte mir Alfred 23 Harth, Wolfgang Muthspiel und Elliot Sharp und entwirft hier fließende Klanglandschaften, die den Körper in einen Schwebezustand versetzen. »Alt« bringt recht zugängliche Ambienttexturen, die sich im Prinzip endlos dahinspinnen könnten. Musik, die beim Lesen eines Buchs genauso spannend ist wie beim aufmerksamen Zuhören. Zwangsläufig Neues tut sich hier nicht auf, dafür ist »Alt« von überzeugender handwerklicher Qualität.
 
Heinrich Deisl SKUG

SPINNER 
 
Rothkamm Frank is a songwriter, philosopher and conceptual artist (whatever it is that) German lives in California. His latest work entitled 'ALT 1989-2009' and her goal is to achieve "an infinite machine, a deus ex machina in order to experience an infinite process over a finite time period. And he published a French label, Baskaru, dedicated to experimental and published just a handful of discs (carefully selected) throughout the year.

These elements sufficient to cause immediate rejection of anyone who takes this music as a purely recreational activity, free weights conceptual and intellectual anchors to prevent it flying off. But do not believe: In the background, and despite her stern appearance and resabida, 'ALT 1989-2009' no longer a disc that collects ambient pieces composed by Rothkamm over the past two decades.

Songs that rarely exceed five minutes put them all to the same production process: Rothkamm established a set of parameters for their instruments and let the sound evolve on their own from them, without interference (except the minimum required) on their part. The result is ten different variatio, the ten songs that make the disc, the same theme with reference to Brian Eno, Pete Namlook and Biosphere.

That is, abstract and numbered with music to put the soundtrack to vector and scalar matrices dimensional and spatial axes, in the abstract as we are, that whole space-time mathematical paraphernalia that neither seen nor touched, but well we can draw on our imagination through diagonal grid. This is the sound environment of a world well-defined geometric lines that turns analog resonances, faint drones, digital landscapes, acoustic elements that really are not and samplers arranged in a loop.

What of 'ALT 1989-2009' can give the impression of being one of the discs of pure electronic as cold as detached from any human or animal passion. And some of it is: one can imagine hearing these songs lost on the surface of Antarctica with the sole company of Werner Herzog. However, despite the arid and remote which may be in the beginning, it remains that a disc whose harmonic component is above any other consideration (to hear songs like 'GUI' or 'OOO'), which raises ever the voice of a transmitter and also stained white inner peace.

Which, believe me, things much easier.

-- Orginal Spanish --

Frank Rothkamm es un compositor, filósofo y artista conceptual (sea lo que sea eso) alemán radicado en California. Su último trabajo lleva por título 'ALT 1989-2009' y su objetivo declarado es el de lograr "una máquina infinita, una deus ex machina, para poder experimentar un proceso infinito durante un periodo de tiempo finito". Y lo publica un sello francés, Baskaru, dedicado a lo experimental y que apenas publica un puñado de discos (cuidadosamente seleccionados) a lo largo del año.

Elementos estos suficientes como para provocar rechazo inmediato en todo aquel que asuma esto de la música como una actividad exclusivamente lúdica, libre de anclajes conceptuales y pesos intelectuales que la impidan volar libre. Pero no se crean: en el fondo, y pese a su apariencia adusta y resabida, 'ALT 1989-2009' no deja de ser un disco de ambient que recoge piezas compuestas por Rothkamm a lo largo de las dos últimas décadas.

Canciones que casi nunca superan los cinco minutos sometidas todas ellas a un mismo proceso de producción: Rothkamm estableció una serie de parámetros para sus instrumentos y dejó que el sonido evolucionara por su cuenta a partir de los mismos, sin injerencias (salvo las mínimas imprescindibles) por su parte. El resultado son diez variaciones distintas, las diez canciones que componen el disco, de un mismo tema que tienen como referencia a Brian Eno, Pete Namlook o Biosphere.

Es decir, música abstracta y numerada con la que ponerle banda sonora a vectores y escalares, ejes dimensionales y matrices espaciales; en un plano abstracto como en el que estamos, a toda esa parafernalia matemática espacio-temporal que ni se ve ni se toca, pero bien la podemos dibujar con nuestra imaginación mediante diagonales en plantillas cuadriculadas. Este es el ambiente sonoro de un universo geométrico de líneas perfectamente definidas que echa mano de resonancias analógicas, tenues drones, paisajes digitales, elementos acústicos que en realidad no lo son y samplers dispuestos en forma de loops.

Lo de 'ALT 1989-2009' puede dar así la impresión de ser uno de esos discos de electrónica pura tan fríos como desapegados de cualquier pasión humana o animal. Y algo de ello hay: uno se imagina escuchando estas canciones perdido en la superficie de la Antártida con la sola compañía de Werner Herzog. Sin embargo, pese a lo árido y distante que pueda resultar en un principio, no deja de ser este un disco cuyo componente armónico se sitúa por encima de cualquier otra consideración (escuchen canciones como 'GUI' o 'OOO'), que no levanta nunca la voz y además trasmisor de una paz interior teñida de blanco.

Lo cual, créanme, facilita mucho las cosas.
 
Zigor Cavero SPINNER

LOOP  CHILE
 
German composer/pianist Rothkamm aka Frank Holger Rothkamm now based in Los Angeles has been active since 1986 with more that 20 releases in various formats and compilation appearances.  He has done conceptual works with acoustic and electronic compositions.
“ALT” recall me of the 90’s ambient electronica in the likes of the Future Sound of London, exploring vast ambience which reveals a broader spatial context.
Rothkamm using analog, computers and algorithms goes deep into experimentation with microtonal and abstract sounds.
This album offers spare, beautiful and spacious music.
 
Guillermo Escudero LOOP

ONDA ROCK 
 
Il tedesco Frank Holger Rothkamm, base a Los Angeles, è un ingegnere del suono che ha sviluppato un programma di pseudo-filosofia ergonomica, sulla base di tecniche, strumenti e sintesi personalizzate. Come compositore, Rothkamm produce musica sotto i vari soprannomi di Frank Rothkamm, Rothkamm e Frank Genius.
“Alt” raccoglie una decina delle sue “modulazioni” (non propriamente “composizioni”), da vignette di cortocircuiti robotici e sciacquii cibernetici come “Red” a brandelli di voci alla Prefuse73 come “000”, da bozzetti Boards Of Canada come “Gui” a vibrazioni impressionistiche-cinematiche-sinusoidali come “Con”.
Tipico parto a pretesto del perfetto compositore prolifico, il cui continuo cambio di moniker soddisfa più la sua voglia di produrre musica che quella dell’ascoltatore di ascoltarne altrettanta, con tiepide ambizioni. “Gui” contiene un campione di Max Laesser.
 
Michele Saran ONDA ROCK

ELECTRONIQUE 
 
Excellent work as usual selection Baskaru, French independent label that has given us in the past and the excellent album Urkuma (Etre), here, now, with this new job Rothkamm signed Frank, a German artist with a strong history of manipulator sounds.
Rothkamm images for this new job a clean environment and diverse, a place popular with its frequencies, one of those '70s architecture made of the angular minimalist futuristic references but at the same time warm atmosphere created through graceful shapes of furniture.

The music glides appropriate density of space, a uniform and rhythmic flow, interrupted only for brief moments by electric jolts that seem almost aftershocks.
The combination of guitar sound to create synth modulations poignant feelings that tend to keep tight and live for the duration of labor.

Rothkamm twists the notes in a process of slow and hypnotic modulation, creating atmospheres mutants and very persistent, playing with a strong impact on the choices more ethereal than his other illustrious colleagues.

We can say that his is ambient music that seems pervaded by a dark force that seeks to emerge, as if taken before spaces of architectural complex as an example they are unable to contain its expansion, that incandescent lava seems to increase its constant temperature with precision, 'ascent, culminating in a song featuring the angelic voice samples that open slits in the dense fog, handing over a reassuring and math final of almost ten minutes in which the artist lets slip two organ notes that there return a heartbeat finally, new regulations.
 
liquid ELECTRONIQUE

RARE FREQUENCY  USA
 

 
Susanna Bolle RARE FREQUENCY

DE:BUG  GERMANY
 
Rothkamm Frank is a German-born but long live in Los Angeles composer, programmer, and not least, a conceptual artist who deals with semi-automatic processes, and like the combination of pop-cultural symbols and conceptual abstraction.

About the enormous background, one learns nothing on this release, although it is the first in Europe for over twenty years ago: "analog computers and algorithms," tell us more Baskaru on the CD. Perhaps you have to also do not know exactly in what way to build the pieces now on iterative processes to physical machines or is there some symbolism in which the titles and lengths of pieces, as indicated by the press release. Or just in general, who is Rothkamm.

Labels and artists trust that a wonderfully pleasant exciting, with rich harmonics and filtering processes very beautiful sound synthesizer designed to ambient album is already on his way.

I wish it to them.

-- original german --

Frank Rothkamm ist ein deutschstämmiger, aber schon lange in Los Angeles lebender Komponist, Programmierer, und nicht zuletzt Konzeptkünstler, der gerne mit halbautomatischen Prozessen sowie der Kombination popkultureller Zeichen und konzeptueller Abstraktion umgeht.

Über den enormen Hintergrund erfährt man auf dieser Veröffentlichung nichts, obgleich es die erste in Europa seit über zwanzig Jahren ist: “analog computers & algorithms”, mehr sagen uns Baskaru auf der CD nicht. Vielleicht muss man auch nicht wissen, in welcher Art genau die Stücke nun auf iterativen Prozessen an physischen Maschinen aufbauen oder welche Symbolik etwa in den Titeln und Stücklängen steckt, wie der Pressetext andeutet. Oder eben überhaupt, wer Rothkamm ist.

Label und Künstler vertrauen darauf, dass ein wunderbar angenehm spannendes, mit reichen Oberton- und Filterprozessen ausgesprochen klangschön gestaltetes Synthesizer-Ambientalbum schon seinen Weg machen wird.

Ich wünsch es ihnen.
 
multipara DE:BUG

CFLX  CANADA
 
Full disclosure: For the past few years, the French label Baskaru has been hiring me to write the press releases sent out with promo copies of their releases. These unsigned papers are designed to sell and convince. That being said, in the specific case of Frank Rothkamm’s ALT, I mean every single word I wrote on that press release. The album was meant to come out last spring, but there have been delays at Baskaru, and now it comes out just as Rothkamm is self-releasing (on his own Flux imprint) his Tetralogy - three CDs and one DVD coming out between Oct ’09 and Jan. ’10. (In fact, the second installment, Zahra Fugues, is available for download FOR FREE, but only until Christmas.)

ALT is, by far, Rothkamm’s most accessible record yet, and for two main reasons: 1) the mystification side of the album – always important in Rothkamm’s works – is downplayed and more subtle than usual; 2) the music is akin to ambiant electronica. It consists in a set of short electronic pieces, soft and melodic, very pretty. Highly recommended. A strange contrast in a body of work already full of contrasts.

--- original French ---

Déclaration volontaire: Depuis quelques années, l’étiquette française Baskaru m’embauche pour rédiger les communiqués de presse qui accompagnent les exemplaires promotionnels de ses disques. Ces textes non signés ont pour but de vendre et de convaincre. Cela dit, dans le cas précis d’ALT de Frank Rothkamm, je pense chaque mot que j’ai écrit sur ce communiqué. L’album devait paraître au printemps, mais Baskaru a connu des retards, et voilà que le disque est lancé alors que Rothkamm publie à son compte (sur son étiquette Flux) sa tétralogie Tetralogy, trois CD et un DVD échelonnés entre octobre 2009 et janvier 2010. (D’ailleurs, le second volet intitulé Zahra Fugues est disponible en téléchargement gratuit jusqu’à Noël).

ALT est, et de loin, le disque le plus accessible de Rothkamm et, ce, pour deux raisons: 1) l’aspect mystification, toujours important chez cet artiste conceptuel, adopte une forme plus subtile et non-instrusive; 2) la musique s’apparente tout à fait à l’électronique ambiante. Il s’agit d’un groupe de courtes pièces électroniques, douces et mélodiques, très belles. Chaudement recommandé. Un drôle de contraste dans une œuvre déjà fort contrastée.
 
Francois Couture CFLX

FREQUENCIES.IT 
 
Had lived at the time of the Restoration would have tortured to death as Giordano Bruno, for as he is a mysterious philosopher Frank Rothkamm visionary artist even before (we speak of him in relation to MO.MA New York).

Rothkamm assign its heresies sound at romatica computers that calculate the route with millimetric precision of comets, and he's completely lost in the dark.

In the darkness where everything is swallowed by the emptiness of the brain waves are drones that make the insulation even more unbearable, but just when one is alone, away from it all, you can feel better the weight of conscience and you realize of being alive.

This is ambient existentialist!

No need to give rhythmic tension element to the landscape of fog and swamps dotted by this weird music, and it is still useless to protrude beyond the gaze directed to the sound, the maximum expression of architecture, mathematics is the key dimensions of space and time for which each touch of the guitar is a different universe.

I set before a child is forever scared but at the same time curious to find out what's beyond the horizon beyond.

The disk in question is a work of austere behind with a great research, but in her charming way with the tracks to affect more details than for the whole.

A CD to listen to the almost empty house standing in contemplation because unlike theorized by Brian Eno here is not about music but sound design environments for our soul.

Federico Spadavecchia

--- original Italian ---

Rothkamm Fosse vissuto ai tempi della Restaurazione l'avrebbero torturato a morte come Giordano Bruno, perchè come lui Frank Rothkamm è un misterioso filosofo visionario prima ancora di essere artista (si parla di lui anche in relazione al MO.MA di New York).


Rothkamm affida le proprie eresie sonore a romatici computers che calcolano con millimetrica precisione la rotta delle comete, mentre lui è completamente perso nel buio.

Nell'oscurità dove tutto è fagocitato dal vuoto le onde celebrali sono drones che rendono lo stato di isolamento ancora più insopportabile; ma proprio quando si è soli, lontani da tutti e tutto, si può avvertire meglio il peso della coscienza e ci si rende conto di essere vivi.

Questa è ambient esistenzialista !

Non serve l'elemento ritmico per conferire tensione al paesaggio di nebbia e paludi tratteggiato da questo bizzarro musicista, ed è comunque inutile cercare di sporgere in là lo sguardo per orientarsi: il suono, massima espressione di architettura matematica, è la chiave dimensionale dello spazio e del tempo per cui ad ogni tocco di chitarra corrisponde un universo differente.

L' io posto davanti all'infinito è un bambino spaurito ma al tempo stesso curioso di scoprire cosa c'è più in là oltre l'orizzonte.

L'Il disco in questione è un'opera austera con alle spalle una grandissima attività di ricerca, ma a suo modo affascinante con le tracce che colpiscono più per i dettagli che non per il loro insieme.

Un cd da ascoltare con la casa deserta stando quasi in contemplazione perchè a differenza di quanto teorizzato da Brian Eno qui non si tratta di musica per ambienti ma di sound design per la nostra anima.
 
Frederick Spadavecchia FREQUENCIES.IT

AMBIENTBLOG 
 
Frank Rothkamm is a composer as well as a conceptual artists. You can tell when visiting his website, but also when reading the promo text for this new CD: "He cultivates enigmas <...>In fact, Rothkamm is a magician, a prestidigitation theoretician, and a carny all in one".

Wow. Big Words. Want more? Read [here]!

But luckily he's not without humour. His discography boasts 21 releases - among which Opus Spongebobicum, a set of piano variations on the first ten notes from the "Spongebob Squarepants" theme song. (Don't know it, but I'd love to hear it!)

His latest release, ALT is released on the Baskaru label. It is a collection of 'analog computers & algorithms', created between 1989 and 2009.

It's a diverse collection of sounds. Sometimes based around the beautiful old-fashioned sounds of analog synths, like the opener AAA, but also featuring string loop tracks (GUI)  and choir samples reminiscent of some tracks by Biosphere (OOO , featured below).
All tracks explore a different starting point, and the result is a varied album full of quite accessible electronic music.

"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."

The last statement is especially true, since most of the 10 tracks on ALT are fairly short - the full album finishes after just 40 minutes. So to 'experience an infinite process' you probably will have to put it on repeat.

Though this album conceptually is quite different to most other 'ambient/electronic' albums, the result will obviously please anyone interested in electronic sounds.
So, to conclude with another quote from the promo text: "ALT makes an excellent introduction to the Rothkammian mystery."
 
Peter van Cooten AMBIENTBLOG

ELECTRIC ECLECTIC 
 
Well… Welll….Wellll….. I always like the strange and very rare releases of french Baskaru imprint and i also like this one, but if you have to choose between a rare french wine and this french release (by a german höhö) you’d choose the wine! I’ll tell you why!

Nowadays most people don’t have any former lifes nor will have any in the stinted future, but I do had a lot of them. This CD reminds me of one very special life as a close friend of mighty Timothy Leary back in the good old days when the air was clean and sex was very dirty my friend - I tell you! We used to hang around on his ranch and as you already read it, every 2nd day some lazy drug addicted band came along and played in front of the house, I was very progressive back then and I kicked ass everybody who simply played drums, git & bass - we wanted modern music, so they bored us to death with silly ambient music, whabber wabbber, squeeeeezzze, oink oink…wabbber wabber…as I said they where very addicted to some shit and some more shit, they got the shit from Tim and his mexican friends, but when those losers couldn’t pay they had to impawn thier instruments especially when they already owned something like a moog.har har… Yes, and in the nights Tim, his wife and even the jung Uma Thurman and me where sitting around with tapedelays, one or two moogs, tapemachines and some gear those addicted guys (I told you musicians)  build by themselfes. We sounded kindly like the new Rothkamm, maybe he also was a close friend of us  back then? Don’t know! All those old recordings where cashed in by the FBI when Tim got arrested in the early 70ies - I’m sure it’s because one of those unfaithful musicians! Now comes in my mind, maybe this is one of those old recordings? So, if you are a stinking hippy fuck you need this CD, if you are a stinky art student you also need this CD, if you are a webdesigner, you already listen to it from rapidshare - i know you bloody wankers! Just kidding ;-)
 
Alexander Dreyhaupt ELECTRIC ECLECTIC