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Frank Rothkamm [ LAX ]
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[LAX] Cover
[LAX] Press Release
[LAX] Art Work

Catalog No: FLX7
Artist: Frank Rothkamm
Title: LAX
Label: Flux Records
Length: 41:33
Composed: 1998-2000
Release Date: 10/1/2007
Edition Size: 500
UPC: 635961111221
File Under:

LAX is a cinema vérité1 of contrasting soundtracks: 10 scenes map the gradual collective re-wiring of reality to that of high-parallelism during the 2 years before the year 00 in the megacity of Los Angeles.

LAX examines the new cartography of underground music or Musik des Unterbaus2 that emerges from the fallout of contemporary society's reaction to stress. It listens to Los Angeles' true ideology.

LAX is a not Mostly Mozart, but Mostly Marx; not only historical materialism but dialectic Duck Soup3 - providing mankind a soundtrack to the "economic structure of society, the real foundation [Unterbau], on which arises a legal and political superstructure [Ûberbau]"4

LAX was recorded in its entirety in Los Angeles with vintage equipment - including, but not limited to, a Hewlett-Packard first-generation model sine wave oscillator, and classic Atari and Macintosh home computers, both of which were custom programmed.

LAX is post-computer, post-electronic, post-ambient, post-field-recording, post-noise, post-industrial, post-sound-art, post-office. It shapes the parallel reality of the 21st century as a process of Synesthesia, where sound becomes in sight: the Freedonia of music.

1 Movement OR cinema of truth fr
2 Music of the sub structure OR build(ing) ger
3 Marx Bros. "Duck Soup" (1933)
4 Marx, Karl "Critique of the Political Economy" (1844)

Tracklisting: year opus
[01] Hollywood Temporarily Unavailable OR Descent into LAX 2000 308 4:37
[02] Hollywood Los Angeles OR LATV 1998 303 2:57
[03] Hollywood Beehive OR Focal Point of Masonic Meditation 2000 313 4:27
[04] Hollywood Digital Signal Processor OR Earthquake 1998 296 4:39
[05] Hollywood Still Random OR Burial of Music 2000 307 5:18
[06] Hollywood Digital Feedback OR Highland 1998 295 3:22
[07] Hollywood Sine++ OR Compass 2000 326 5:19
[08] Hollywood XFM OR New Encounter Architecture 1998 297 3:25
[09] Hollywood Reality OR Room in Hollywood 2000 314 3:29
[10] Hollywood Bellsine OR Ascent out of LAX 2000 312 4:00



Rothkamm about LAX (quoted without shame from his MySpace page):


LAX is a cinema v�rit� of contrasting soundtracks: 10 scenes map the gradual collective re-wiring of reality to that of high-parallelism during the 2 years before the year 00 in the megacity of Los Angeles.

LAX examines the new cartography of underground music or Musik des Unterbaus that emerges from the fallout of contemporary society's reaction to stress. It listens to Los Angeles' true ideology.

LAX is a not Mostly Mozart, but Mostly Marx; not only historical materialism but dialectic Duck Soup - providing mankind a soundtrack to the "economic structure of society, the real foundation [Unterbau], on which arises a legal and political superstructure [�berbau]"

LAX was recorded in its entirety in Los Angeles with vintage equipment - including, but not limited to, a Hewlett-Packard first-generation model sine wave oscillator, and classic Atari and Macintosh home computers, both of which were custom programmed.

LAX is post-computer, post-electronic, post-ambient, post-field-recording, post-noise, post-industrial, post-sound-art, post-office. It shapes the parallel reality of the 21st century as a process of Synesthesia, where sound becomes in sight: the Freedonia of music."


Frank Rothkamm gropes his lingual way through the ridiculous and laughable downside of the world of technology, extracting his very own art form from it, against all odds. I see his CD covers turn more and more arty, the deeper he bores into the calculus of digits and angles and hypothetical spaces that seem to emit like metallic mist from the mouths and eyes of Indian computer programmers from Varanasi and Bombay.

LAX CD cover comes across in ghastly, ghostly sci-fi scenes from Los Angeles, downplayed in withheld colors, as if time itself had lost its power, and matter begun to dissolve into shreds of memories of itself, all the eleven dimensions of quantum theory curling up in fragile scrolls of uncertainty.


                                          Rothkamm has found a zero place of composition, bringing lost into found, sharing his artistic thoughts on emptiness in full measures with us, proving the contradictory property of existence. He�s like those zero spot photographers (I�m one of them) who like to take thousands of pictures of scruffy places under highway overpasses or empty corners of abandoned factories � but Rothkamm achieves something else too, something more, certifying in his compositions the prime quality of the turned-away; the magic of the stale and rusty, the decaying and the downright hostile � only, he works with the mind, not the world of matter� and the mind is a sordid place of much hostility and innumerable zero spots! We�re walking on stilts through a swamp of ill will and ego illusions.


                                          The music? Brilliant:


Track 1. Temporarily Unavailable OR Descent into LAX [4:27]


                                          These rumbling, soaring sounds are alien, desolate, scary � if you want to feel cozy and safe. This is situated on the far side of cozy, in the opposite direction of safe. You feel like a completely insignificant life form in the vicinity of the indifferent source of these electromagnetic sonorities, reminding me some of the Nasa-Voyager I & II
Space Sound recordings of the Uranus fly-by, issued on a CD from Brain/Mind Research in El Camino, California back in 1989, but these curtains of carelessness could well be sonic representations of the Northern lights, and they also bring me fond memories of some of the best scenes out of 2001; A Space Odyssey.


                                          Frank Rothkamm has managed to wring these rather banal and simple sounds slightly out of whack, to a sounding position that renders them an unyielding tension, the Harry Martinson way, the
Aniara way, glimpsing into a void so mighty and endless that it leaves nobody sane. The Beauty of Temporarily Unavailable OR Descent into LAX is hard and tough, acid clean, down to the molecular level. Praise be!


Track 2. Los Angeles OR LATV [2:53]


                                          Surprisingly, Rothkamm moves into a realm where I haven�t met him before; a text-sound arena, a plunder-phonic collage kind of land � which he masters! The first clicks of an old film projector moves rapidly into a maze of mixed and layered � as if poured out of a bucket � slabs and shreds of spoken moments, tilted and swung around and flying up like flocks of gulls and down and away like flakes of soot. The velocity is speedy, the density crushing, the richness of expression nasty! We love it! I play this a couple times more, out of sheer pleasure � and I turn the volume UP!!! Text-sound rocking and rolling, staggering intoxicated down a back alley, bumping into lingual trashcans and human resources!


Track 3. Beehive OR Focal Point of Masonic meditation [4:23]


                                          A mighty dome of bells, in a deep vibrancy that gridlocks you from bar one. The metallic serenity is so rich that it probably cures cancer. I�d introduce Rothkamm�s
Beehive in all hospitals if I hade the power to. It�s lifesaving music; crisis remedy: t he end to war and aggression: play it in the head of the President; let it sound through the army�s loudspeakers in Iraq, play it loudly through the New York subway. Nobody can resist this fanatic beauty!

                                          The over-whelming brass vibrations � as if through water � swell and roar through the spheres in the sonic correspondence to Nag Champa incense up your nostrils, fine-tuning your senses for the ride to high-time spirituality in very clear and spacious thought-streams. Beauty at its outer reaches.


Track 4. Digital Signal Processor OR Earthquake [4:35]


                                          The crackling is grey and white, but soon moving into dried-up chunks of clay, splintering all over your premises, but you must get used to the abruptness of sections, the sound cutting off in loudness, immediately starting again (but changed) on a lower volume. This is a hasty play on white noise, somewhat like a contemporary development of Jan W. Morthenson�s
Neutron Star from 1967. The first seconds are galloping!


Track 5. Still Random OR Burial of Music [5:23]


                                          Here we go into a half-breed area; half of the music recalling an early electronic culture of a German guttural kind wrapped in a French kind of sonic poetry � and this paired with a bouncing late 1990s� electronica motion that moves like the shadow of a train in moonlight across the fields of Southern Sweden in February. Rothkamm manages the harsh and the sweet simultaneously, and I even hear the dreams of Herbert Eimert and Henri Pousseur flaking by here, in stolen moments. Outlandish!


Track 6. Digital Feedback OR Highland [3:17]


                                          This tune provides one of those moments that are Rothkamm�s specialty; playing contemporary music in a methodology of decades past. Here he achieves the most exciting and investigative, exploring sound, which clearly has the mark of our days, but which also very clearly takes up a tradition of the electronic music of the 1950s, echoing and shadowing the boys of Cologne. It�s a mastery of the trade to be able to invest in this without getting lost in the past, and without just landing in a pastiche.


                                          On top of this, the composer paints a sonic picture of great, incisive beauty with these old brushes. It�s time to listen again, and yet for the first time, to a kind of music that brings both the charm and familiarity of the old, with an alien and unforeseen fragrance of something new.


Track 7. Sine++ OR Compass [5:14]


                                          A rumble descends on all of me, making me dizzy, like sitting in the back of a bus as the sound of the engine starts to wear off on the hull of the vehicle, traveling down your seat and into the floor and back, swallowing your voice into a fragile equilibrium of disappearances.


                                          I�m flying a probe in
Sine++ OR Compass, whether through Antarctic ice a million years back (down three kilometers) or through deep, uncharted levels of consciousness, I don�t know. The deep, dizzying drone eventually emits whistling figures that rise like solar flares or wobble like unsure intentions.

                                          Again, this is old style electronic music (this section 1970-ish!), but, as before, in a new, contemporary way that makes your ears grow. It�s rough in a polished way, incredibly!


Track 8. XFM OR New Encounter Architecture [3:20]


                                          Industrial noise at its best, waking you up in a giant hall, two kilometers long, half a kilometer wide, 100 meters high, large overhead traveling cranes moving about up in the dusty haze, their spotlights spreading cones ahead of them as they move their heavy loads.


                                          The machinery in this Kingdom of Production pours its many individual machinery voices into the grandness of the hall, appearing as one dusty, poisonous cloud of noise, overtone-rich, encompassing anonymous sound-worlds from white to grey to black, the visual aspect glittering with myriads of floating metal dust grains.

                                          The sudden shadows cast by welding flames fly up across the walls, into the darkness under the ceiling, like flaring bolts of lightning, goblin people stooping over their tasks down on the floor, diffuse in haze and smoke.


                                          XFM OR New Encounter Architecture reminds me of an LP called
UGN (OWEN or FURNACE) from 1992 by Swedish enfants terrible Leif Elggren, Per Jonsson and Kent Tankred, or something by the noise and dread group The Too Much Too Soon Orchestra � and as usual on this CD, Rothkamm takes this tradition and furthers it, develops it into something even much better that the music from the analogies I provide. Go!


Track 9. Reality OR Room in Hollywood [3:19]


                                          Here I feel like I�m in some kind of vehicle, perhaps a train or a subway car. Some kind of wheezing and humming machinery is heard, and I more feel than hear the reflections of human voices, unintelligible conversations which can�t be made out � and also some kind of distributed audio that could pass for music; music through the wall, muffled, disoriented, disorienting� and then I hear for sure that people are speaking. I could be hiding behind a cheese counter at a super-market, ducking down, hearing the consumers chatting in the aisles outside in the store.

                                          And then at the end I hear a film projector, and old kind.

Reality OR Room in Hollywood is some kind of civilization debris, a taste of something incomprehensible, yet quite cozy.


Track 10. Bellsine OR Ascent out of LAX [4:00]


                                          This concluding piece introduces a gradual swelling, which soon takes on a luminous, up-spiraling motion of bells swaggering this way and that, heard through some kind of fluid, albeit not water, but a kind of fluid that has properties unknown to us; a fluid which isn�t �wet�, but which otherwise retains all the qualities of water. Through this strange fluid I feel my anatomy traveling, on these Salvador Dali bells, contracting and expanding, wobbling like great soap bubbles on the wind. Alien beauty.


                                          Summing it up, Frank Rothkamm has delivered a CD where all the tracks are unlike each other, where each piece has its very own sound world, its very own characteristics, and where all the compositions reveals a high-end, top-of-the line intricacy and fabulous beauty. Rothkamm has gone through a rapid and almost overwhelming development, now residing with the masters of the trade.


                                          His music is strange and beautiful. Frank Rothkamm is a poet dressed in a technician's overall.


Ingvar Loco Nordin SONOLOCO

This is a brilliant conceptual posthumous soundtrack, inspired by the Millenium fear, trying to sonify this atmosphere during the two years before 2000 in Los Angeles.

Fear, city on the edge of chaos, media upcoming hysteria, noise are described with an emotional tour of frequencies, recorded with "vintage" equipment (Atari, old Macintoshes, custom programmed). The stage is Los Angeles and its suggestive airport (LAX), with granular synthesis and glissando becomes the symbol of a science fiction crush on reality. The scaring suspense of a digital-induced catastrophe pervades every sound, inducing different dilated states of mind.

The cd label report a Windows error, formalizing the kind of abstract fear that was around that days, but it's only the surface of an aural injection, monopolizing the nerves and the imaginary of everyone was adult on the eve of 2000. Isn't that what a good soundtrack is supposed to do?
Aurelio Cianciotta NEURAL

[01] o Cyrill Schläpfer: Die Waldstätte (Lake Luzern) [Truetone /] The secret audio lives of steamships and paddle steamers. Gargantuan project reminds me of the audio equivalent of Herzog's Fitzcarraldo film [4 CDs / 3 DVDs].
[02] o Lena featuring Black Sifichi: The Uncertain Trail [Sounds Around /] Psycho-active and psycho-geographical electro-dub journeys to the end of this flat earth.
[03] o Erika Stucky: Suicidal Yodels [Traumton /] Yodeling meets the next generation of creative, inventive pop. [see my website for more on her].
[04] o Up Bustle & Out: Istanbul's Secrets [Collision /] Musicological collisions in a trippy setting.
[05] o Daniel Steven Crafts: Soap Opera Suite / Snake Oil Symphony [Lutra, 1982] This long lost resource is an inspired LP of artistic sampling as well as one of the essential sampling resource discs for DJs. Great to have it back. Thanks Tony.
[06] o Olivia Louvel: Lulu in Suspension [Optical Sound /] Little Annie Anxiety fronting Portishead?
[07] o Mauy Thai: Ritualistic Kick Boxing Music [SP Bangkok] Before a Thai kick-boxing fight, the boxers perform a ritualistic form of prayer. Thanks Nina.
[08] o International Observer: Heard [Dubmission /] Roots Dub jump-started for a spectacular voltage boost.
[09] o Lump: Dub [Future]. Thanx Kirk. Future MRI MIA style dub.
[10] o If, Bwana & Al Margolis: An Innocent, Abroad [Pogus /]. The enchanting Lorelei go on tour to cause midtown traffic crisis.
[11] o Jozef van Wissem: Stations of the Cross [ncunabulum /] Plunging into the ancient to emerge in a post-modern antiseptic controlled-environment airport soundscape. Time travel without all the hassle of packing your bags.
[12] o Liquid Stranger: The Invisible Conquest [Interchill Records] Chillout dub at its best. Thanx Kirk.
[13] o Antoine Berthiaume & MaryClare Brzytwa: Bebe Donkey [Ambiences Magnetiques /] amazingly cool without for a moment acting it or probably having the right haircut.
[14] o Goldfrapp: Felt Mountain [Mute /] From 2000, Tremendously atmospheric record.
[15] o Mikhail Horowitz & Gilles Malkine: Poor, On Tour & Over 54 [No Help Here /] Intellectual punnery and downright bold funnery.
[16] o Frank Rothkamm: LAX [Flux Records [] Sounding like it was the long lost soundtrack to Brazil the movie and as if it has been produced in a dusty particle accelerator filled with Gummi Bears.
[17] o Aisha Kandisha's Jarring Effects: El Buya [Barbarity/RecRec] Yes, this is from the mid-1990s but I just found it again after playing it to death on my WFMU show back then. Moroccan industrial dub.
[18] o Various Artists: Superbad: The Very Best of Blaxploitation [Warner /] pseudo-hip post-Tarantino youth like to embrace this but despite that, there's a lot of great stuff on this.
[19] o OMFO: We Are the Shepherds [Essay /] Wacked hipness with faulty vodka.
[20] o Coachmen vs Septimania: The Coahmen on Holiday in Septimania [Commodify This /] Basement Tapes mangled in a leaky dungeon with the so-called brothers of the Shaggs.
bart plantenga WRECK THIS MESS

Airports can be considered a perfect microcosmic representation of the greater world – a nexus of seething boiling humanity on their way to or from somewhere. It can also be classified as a nexus of technology, from the scanners that allow passengers to check in or check out and tracks their luggage, right up to the airplanes themselves; and right at the very centre of that technological convergence are the computers that enable humans to juggle the enormous metal sky behemoths without letting them hit each other or crash out of the blue. Judging from the sleeve liner notes, the issue of technology and civilisation's dependency on electronic brains seems to be the crux of the matter here, specifically that time when, 10 years ago, everyone seems to have been in a complete panic over the relation between the digits 00 and the ability (or otherwise) of computer programs to distinguish between 1900 and 2000. It was felt that a complete societal seismic shift was in the offing and that disaster would naturally follow in its footsteps; the stock-market would crash, national economies would collapse, financial institutions would fold, traffic would stop and planes would literally fall out of the sky, in other words the whole of society would be thrown back to a Stone Age existence overnight. Of course with the benefit of hindsight we can laugh at the folly of being taken in by the hollow threats of the Millennium Bug but at the time people and governments alike were caught in a wave of infectious panic.

In this there is a strange convergence of people and technology in the macrocosm that is reflected in miniature in the microcosm of the airport - the realm of the axon and neuron interacting with the universe of the binary. The doubts and fears embodied in the threat of the Millennium Bug concatenate exponentially in an airport, especially in the utter dependence on the two way electronic communication between ground and plane, getting the one safely on the other without mishap. Rothkamm, through the medium of sound, encourages us to understand how a simple concept, that due to a possible programming omission an entire civilisation can come crashing down; more importantly he wants us to understand the cataclysmic shift in perception from self-assurance and self-confidence to self-doubt that this concept engendered just prior to the end of the last century. Los Angeles and LAX airport encapsulates that mental seismic shift perfectly, the one an ultimate symbol of a self-assured and successful city and the other, the ultimate symbol of that very self-assurance and success. It is then not a great leap of logic to suggest the uncertainty created by the Bug found its focus on LAX.

Paralleling the human/computer paradigm Rothkamm uses an analogue/digital paradigm to create the music on this album with a Hewlett-Packard first-generation model sine-wave oscillator in conjunction with classic custom-programmed Atari and Macintosh home computers. Rothkamm's music extends beyond mundane genre classifications and becomes post-just-about-everything, and is informed with his trademark fierce intelligence leavened with humour. This is beyond the bleepy computer music early digital pioneers created (although that is very much a part of its lineage), instead there's a very human element laced around the 0s and 1s here that very much places it into a 21st century context. As academic as Rothkamm appears it's not a totally dry academicism and there is a knowing playfulness apparent throughout.

Okay, so it's easy from the stance afforded us with the distance of a decade since those heady times to laugh at how people took the threat seriously, especially at those few frightened souls who were utterly convinced that the much prophesied end was indeed nigh and stockpiled supplies and repaired to some isolated outpost in the full expectation of complete anarchy breaking loose. Rothkamm reminds us that however we view the issue now the situation was very different then; rank uncertainty was a crucial factor in colouring our reaction to it. Ponder that while chuckling at human gullibility and the frailty of society.

I recently got this piece of news: right after the completion of LAX, the Californian warehouse where Frank Rothkamm kept all his vintage machinery - including the instruments that shape the body of this very disc, comprising custom-programmed Atari and Macintosh computers - was destroyed by fire, except for a Hewlett-Packard sine wave generator that luckily was placed elsewhere (and is also featured here).

Instantly, a symbolic "idiocy vs intelligence" alignment came to mind, reason unknown. By taking an advance peep at what Rothkamm writes in the liners, we find ourselves in front of a serious doubt: is he kidding bitterly, or life is indeed just a peculiar connection of stupid jokes that become destructive concepts in the hands of the masses? The only answer I can come up with at the moment is inviting the interested ones to give a(nother?) read to Elias Canetti's "Crowds and Power" and think again before declaring themselves happy to be a part of a social congregation whatsoever.

One of the author's definitions of "LAX" indicates its ten tracks as "scenes that map the gradual collective re-wiring of reality to that of high-parallelism during the 2 years before the year 00 in the megacity of Los Angeles" (where the composer lives). Admit it: you've been among the ones who were terrorized by the Y2K propaganda. Well, this record could help in recollecting those oh-so-scary moments by forcing to ponder on the fact that the worse has yet to come, be it from an earthquake or courtesy of your office colleagues' serpentine attitude.

The complexities arising from Rothkamm's sonic inventions are typically prosperous in terms of frequency shifts, granular noise and, in this case, concrete sourcing from the media ("Los Angeles OR LA TV" is self-explanatory in that sense).

Questions are necessarily more frequent than answers, and it looks like the best way to approximate something vaguely similar to a solution is by trusting malconformations of analog sounds and computerized detritus which Frank somehow manages to render tasty as juicy fruits.

The conclusive "Bellsine OR Ascent out of LAX" is comparable to a requiem for the progressive-minded human, as I picture an enormous commonplace-stuffed mouth gulping the remnants of healthy individualism and spitting them all over the place, scattered around parties, groups and collectives which live according to rules that try to rule out those who just want to live.

LAX stands for Los Angeles Airport. When you check in your luggage it gets a sticker 'LAX' for that airport, or 'JFK' for New York. I read Rothkamm's liner notes, which seem to be dealing with conspiracy, millennium bug and all that. Rothkamm is a man of concepts, and a man to change his music. The three previous releases 'FB01' and 'FB02 - Astronaut Of Inner Space' and 'FB 03 (E Pluribus Unum)' dealt with electronic music in the best 'Forbidden Planet' style, which succeeded best on the second release. Here on this CD release he goes out to using computers, from Mac to Atari and from Music V to Csound - to mention two types of hard- and software used. It's funny to see the similarities with the two previous releases, as it seems almost that Frank Rothkamm wanted to translate his science fiction music from analogue to digital, with glissandi played on various types of software an such like. However it moves away from the poppy like character of the second release, and is more in serious avant-garde area. At times it sounded like Arcane Device, with feedback like tones, and such like. A bit more noisy than the previous releases also, but it never ventures into the world of 'real' noise. It is fine release since it breaks, if only technically, with the past and hopefully a road to be explored more in the future, maybe to find another masterpiece like 'FB02' on it's way.
Frans de Waard VITAL WEEKLY

FRANK ROTHKAMM LAX (Flux Records, FLX7): Rothkamm, one of the
smartest makers of INDM, Intelligent Not Dance Music, staged
here again the more or less staged Millennium hysteria,
the double-zero apocalyptic T-1000-Power excessive. When the
clocks turn from 99 to 00, indeed, the world would morph
backwards into the year 1900, computer brains melt,
planes rain from the sky.

"It" didn't think about it.

All Just Duck Soup.

Rothkam takes, like the Terminator trilogy, LA, the city of
angles and City of Quartz, as paradigmatic for post-futuristic,
stress side effects maximum flight speed. That is,
would be space and time panic and the replacement of the structure by the
Dream Factory, the simultaneity of advertising,
TV Channel parallel words, televised time and now
slow-motion repetitions, etc. This is the paradox that
God Mammon worship together and yet to the finish to Jobs,
parking and restaurant tables are competing needs that in the
best of all possible worlds but only as a movement of Brown'scher
Random Walks to genötigte windowless monad a zero-sum game

Rothkamm sets this outdated equipment such as a
Hewlett-Packard sine wave generator and home computers from Atari and
Macintosh, this cut-ups of LATV, beehive and earthquake metaphors,
of anachronistic to slow, mostly "knurschig wummernden" or bright
"sirrenden" Lo-Fi traces of the shooting reality shreds
to contradict.

Instead of building monuments to the negative balance sheets of the 20th century,
he bets on the synaesthetic and synergistic effects of sound + text, presumption of senselessness and sophistication.

(translated from the original German)

FRANK ROTHKAMM LAX (Flux Records, FLX7): Rothkamm, einer der
pfiffigsten Macher von INDM, Intelligenter NichtTanzMusik, inszeniert
hier noch einmal die mehr oder weniger inszenierte Millenniumshysterie,
die der Doppel-Null apokalyptische T-1000-Power zuschrieb. Wenn die
Uhren um 0:00 von 99 auf 00 umschalten würden, könnte, ja würde die
Welt ins Jahr 1900 zurückmorphen, Computerhirne durchschmoren, es
Flugzeuge vom Himmel regnen.

"Es" dachte nicht daran.

Alles nur Duck Soup.

Rothkamm nimmt, wie die Terminator-Trilogie, L. A., die Stadt der
Engel und City of Quartz, als paradigmatisch für postfuturistische,
stressbedingte Nebenwirkungen maximaler Fluchtgeschwindigkeit. Als da
wären Raum- und Zeitpanik und die Ersetzung des Unterbaus durch die
Traumfabrik, die Gleichzeitigkeit von Werbung,
TV-Channelparallelitäten, televisionierter Jetztzeit und
Zeitlupenwiederholungen etc. Dazu kommt die Paradoxie, dass man
gemeinsam Gott Mammon anbetet und dennoch bis aufs Messer um Jobs,
Parkplätze und Restauranttische rivalisieren muss, dass man in der
besten aller möglichen Welten dennoch nur als von Brown'scher Bewegung
zu Random Walks genötigte fensterlose Monade ein Nullsummenspiel

Rothkamm setzt diesmal veraltete Gerätschaften ein wie einen
Hewlett-Packard-Sinuswellengenarator und Heimcomputer von Atari und
Macintosh, dazu Cut-ups von LATV, Bienenstock- und Erdbebenmetaphern,
um von anachronistisch langsamen, meist knurschig wummernden oder hell
sirrenden Lo-Fi-Spuren aus die umeinander schießenden Realitätsfetzen

zu konterkarieren.

Statt den Verlustbilanzen des 20. Jhdts. Monumente
zu errichten, setzt er auf die synästhetischen und synergetischen
Effekte von Klang + Text, Sinnlosigkeitsvermutung + Sophistication.

[BA 57 rbd]
Rigobert Dittmann BAD ALCHEMY

I ended up playing a lot more of Frank Rothkamm's "LAX" disc than I thought I would have - this is a real infectious release, and I'll definitely have more of it for you next week. Don't be surprised if some Rothkamm makes its way into my "It's Too Damn Startling!" contribution to tonight's broadcast of WRVU-FM's "~Ore Theatre Intangible"

"Hey! You got Rothkamm in my podcast!" Sorry, I had to do it.

Frank Rothkamm describes his LAX as "a cinema vérité of contrasting soundtracks: 10 scenes map the gradual collective re-wiring of reality to that of high-parallelism during the 2 years before the year 00 in the megacity of Los Angeles".

It reminds me of some of the great musique concrete pieces of the 1960s and 70s, and that's a very good thing. I really like the sounds Rothkamm builds using material "recorded in its entirety in Los Angeles with vintage equipment - including, but not limited to, a Hewlett-Packard first-generation model sine wave oscillator, and classic Atari and Macintosh home computers, both of which were custom programmed".

Here we have filter sweeps, amplitude modulations, bell-tones built from sine waves, the whole analog trip. I really don't know what else to say besides this: If you dig Hymnen, you'll dig LAX.
Steve Hicken SEQUENZA21

Run through a battery of modules, software, numerous processors and their respective interfaces, Frank Rothkamm seeks to make explicit in his sonic mock-ups of LAX the metaphors he postulates on the booklet’s hypertext liners. It’s a shaky construct to begin with, aurally and narratively—Rothkamm’s notes beggar tenuous suppositions between the “parallel” realities of Los Angeles’s stressed-out transportation system while simultaneously attempting to erect their doppelgangers in sound. A dubious undertaking, LAX ironically smacks of its own Hollywoodian “high concept”, especially since Rothkamm’s analogic is questionable, the text often reading like spurious silicon-age jabberwocky. Of prominent concern is the music itself, which fares marginally better. Rothkamm’s previous recordings suggested there was a unique new experimentalist in town, but the lackluster ideas scattered within LAX are much too inert to warrant concentrated listening. Stripped of context, a good chunk of the ten shortish pieces here recall the primetime of 50s fantastic cinema and 60s electronic academia—“Still Random Or Burial of Music” could have been an outtake from the Barron’s Forbidden Planet soundtrack, replete with the paroxysms of id monsters stomping across barren alien planetscapes. Rothkamm’s skill is undeniable, but little here is truly memorable; sketchy and indistinct, the various sawtooth waveforms, radar pings, coarse frequency pulsations, and gnarled machine ambience are innocuous at best, pedestrian at worst. Certainly far less inspired recordings are clogging the body electronic, yet Rothkamm’s laudable mimesis is unable to provide the thrust needed for lift-off.
darren bergstein E|I

Frank Rothkamm describes LAX as a "cinema vérité," contrasting the soundtracks of films: they are 10 tracks from this collective gradual re-spinning of reality with high parallelism during the 2 years prior to the year 00 in the metropolis of Los Angeles. In recalls and also in the fact that he's using vintage equipment, including a Hewlett-Packard of the first generation apart from resorting to the classic Atari video-game and Macintosh computers for home. Finally, the tracks try to innovate and do something different, but still sounds strange and odd.

(translated from the Portuguese)

Another turn in the long time history of Frank Rothkamm's work. Some time ago, I released the compilation of archive recordings "Moers Works" which is considered as one of the best experiments with the home-made/household machinery.

As the opposite, "LAX" was just recorded in 2007, but showing again the great potential of the vintage gear, for example the sinewave generator (the first one ever manufactured) or the old-fashioned personal computers Atari and Apple Machintosh. These last ones, as you know, were popular in the 80s, but now they got the new attention by the people who are falling into nostalgia with all these old computer games and 8-bit music arrangements.

Rothkamm is going another way. His approach is far away from retro-aesthetics, his music sounds pretty much different, he uses these facilities with different purpose. Seems that he want to increase the distance from the past, regardless of what you can keep in memory or what you can't even be aware of. Rothkamm says that his aim is to figure out the existence of another, parallel reality - and there is no doubting, he succeeds.

This album creates quite unsettled atmosphere, the musical language seems to be absolutely alienated, but the intensity of its constructions is exceptionally high. I still wonder if it's possible to label it as "extreme", because in fact it's not so atonal or noisy as many other provocational recordings from the underground. Maybe the point is rooted in subliminal xenophobia, induced by these somehow inhuman soundstreams. There is also a strange story behind this album, Rothkamm says that almost all hardware was destroyed by fire right after the album was completed. But well, after all - "LAX" is the nice surprise for all of you hunters of unusual sounds.