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Catalog No: FLX1
Artist: Frank Genius
Title: Planet Genius
Label: Flux Records
Length: 51:04
Composed: 1991
Release Date: 6/6/1994
Edition Size: 1000
File Under:




Tracklisting: year opus
[01] San Francisco Dadua 1991 167 3:45
[02] San Francisco Bliss in Circles 1991 158 8:04
[03] San Francisco Flow 1991 174 4:45
[04] San Francisco Tribe 251 1991 154 9:10
[05] San Francisco Never Going Home 1991 169 4:29
[06] San Francisco Amen King Creole 1991 155 8:19
[07] San Francisco Secret of 6 Dimensions 1991 153 5:00
[08] San Francisco Arabia Avalon 1991 162 7:32




Reviews:

DJTRAXX 
 

"Flux Volume One"-- Planet Genius (Flux Records)

This CD is well worth the search. You HAVE to check out the cuts for their true artistic value. Open your mind to sounds that evoke pictures of landscapes. For you housers, Flow has a nice Todd Terry-like percussion track but Avalon has a much more ethereal feel.

The CD really breaks through the many barriers electronic dance music is restricted by.
 
John C Avery II DJTRAXX

OPTION 
 
As much art object as recording, the CD's lettering is hidden in swirling patterns, at first invisible. It lies on a mirrored surface within a clear case, with an elegant insert card hand printed on a 19th century press; the accompanying booklet of notes and artwork is similarly printed. It's a lovely unique package, produced in a limited, numbered edition like fine art multiples.

Unfortunately the music is less interesting than the package. In ambient style (as in techno, not Brian Eno), it was generated by a computer program, and sounds like it. It's done nicely enough for what it is, but not strong enough to hold your attention by itself.
 
M. Sullivan OPTION

CTI  USA
 
From the desk of
Cosey Fanni Tutti
Halloweeeeen nite

Dear Frank,

Sorry I have taken so long to thank you for the beautiful CD FLUX volume one. We were both mesmerised by the CD and case, it is beautiful, and the booklet complete's the concept. Many thanks for thinking of us, we get many tapes and CD's sent but seldom are they of the calibre of "Flux'. We are happy to have contributed in some way to your 'vision'.

Your activities read like the diverse flitting from one creative outlet to another. A practice I utterly embrace, feeding the needs of expression and never bowing to artistic tunnel vision. I feel it is so important to accumulate experience and knowledge to enable ourselves to move forward.

I have enclosed our latest CD in the library of Sound series, I hope you enjoy it. Please keep in touch and let us know what you get up to.

All the breast,
 
Cosey Fanni-Tutti CTI

LAST SIGH 
 
"While dreaming, Genius is visited by 3 Muses who reveal Dadua as the Ultimate Planet. Guided by Juno, he is in Bliss on a long journey through time and space. After arriving on the Planet, the Muses open up the dimension of Flow, where the spirit of the future is revealed. Genuis is sent to Tribe 25l to be initiated for a future body. After this transformation, he is Never Going Home. Eternal Love appears, but Genius loses perception. Enraged, he turns to the center of King Creole and collapes. Genuis awakens in the presence of Tribe 25l & is told the Secret of the 6 Dimensions. Reaching Avalon, Eternal Love finally reappears."

          Frank Rothkamm has brought you a progressive original creation of aural art with Planet Genius, as can be heard in the rolling and perpetual multiple synth-tek beats and intermittent operatic female background vocals as on the opening track, Dadua.  Bliss in Circles approaches a sound of travel through the continuous marimba-like curves, yet more operatic vocals and gentle trible feel, ensuring safe passage to the dimensions of Flow, an interstingly mysterious track with a near jazzy feel to it yet electronically created to smooth and blend its way with a high energy, percussion oriented, shifting techno-edge sculpture.
          Genius then streams off into the Tribe 25l, a well rounded track with yet even more upbeat synthphonic movements, layered on a technoish edge of a mean tribal influenced sub-harmonic percussion and vocals of primal human indiginous structures. Never Going Home is a rather happy track -- flutes, tribal like beat and percussion, fast tempo, softly consoling in nature, "Look at me now"....(slo-mo-deeply spoken).
          King Creole is an excellent dance tune -- to coin the phrase "Intelligent Dance Music", Mr. Rothkamm has the technique down on this track for clinking and tinklings swirling in a deep bassy layer, culturally effective vocals chanting along the way, accentuated 4/4 beat on the first. I actually have to get up and dance to this one at home... :)  Swirling keyboard loops start Secret of 6 Dimensions with a voices stating; " You mean marijauna?" "Yeah", that smooth over into a fast paced flowing upbeat composition. Completing the sound voyage by reaching Avalon, Genius find Eternal Love to reappear in the this sensuous track as sung by Deborah Borchers, who portrays a lovely romantic aura with her angelic voice and the accompaniment of light, soft keyboard-synth arrangements in keeping with the theme of Planet Genius and the associated story involved. An interesting short sonic saga. Well worth having.
 
Kim Alexander LAST SIGH

ALTERNATIVE PRESS 
 
ambient into trance

PLANET GENIUS's Flux Volume I features many traditional techno attributes, but with dramatically different timbres and intriguing arrangements that elevate it far above your average fare. King Creole mixes mainstream tribalism with Art of Noise brass flourish, creating a splendid morass of swirling rhythms. Tribe 251 is a riotous celebration, while Bliss in Circles opts for the strange - Residential rhythms, a gentle pulsing and a distant female opera singer that all makes you feel like you're in a slow spiral.
 
M. Mahan ALTERNATIVE PRESS

UK-DANCE, IDM 
 
== BACKGROUND - Planet Genius is in fact the work of the New York-based German, Frank Genius (anyone?), and is the first CD in a four-part series. Apparently he's released previous material under numerous aliases including Hardkiss, Speed Genius and Fran Genius, and was responsible, as Suite Zero, for a 6-month Levi's ad campaign in the US. The CD's shortly to be released in the States, but as far as I can gather, there are no immediate plans for the UK and Europe.

== PACKAGING - It's quite a striking affair and they've certainly gone to a lot of trouble. All bright and dazzley on the front, all dark and dingy on the back - said to represent the two sides of a planet, those being "synthetic and organic, day and night, bright and dark." There's no inlay card, instead the CD, itself adorned with a nice swirley green, blue and silver design, sits in full view atop a panelled mirror interior. The back is apparently hand-printed using a 19th century press!

== MUSIC - The sample "daaadua - dua - dua," sung in a strangely 50's way, provides the only advance warning before we are hurled headlong, surprised and disorientated, into the boiling melee of sounds that is Planet Genius and the opening track "Dadua" gets underway. My initial impression was "this is weird, REALLY weird" and I must say, having listened to the record a few more times since, I was about right. Words that immediately spring to mind are "dramatic," "surprising," "novel," "disjointed," "experimental" and, well, yes, "WEIRD!" The music here is all these things in fact, but it never crosses the line beyond which lies the unlistenable. To describe in words what this record sounds like is difficult for me because I have no reference points in my record collection and it sounds like nothing I've ever heard before. All that I can say is that this is electronic music and as such probably falls into the pigeonhjole we call IDM. But Planet Genius owes as much to jazz as to dance music and perhaps signifies the birth of a new genre of music - Techno-Jazz.

Track 2, "Bliss in Circles," relies less heavily on dramatics and more on repetition and a rumbling, bumbling bassline. A recurrant female, operatic vocal sample combines with the bass and spooky chord changes to produce a sinister, nightmarish feel which persists until the closing moments when a reverberating piano sequence, perhaps signifying the break of dawn, finally relieves us from our torment.

Next is "Flow" which starts` with bongos, then a bass drum and high hat, then a falling whistle, Miss Ermhelmehey, and BOOM, a groovey, groovey bassline ruptures out of the mix. This is funky stuff which makes me wonder whether I shouldn't have said Techno-Funk. Miss Ermhelmehey ("The Man with Two Brains" - excuse me if I spelt it wrong) spends the large part of this song in the oven.

"Tribe 251" sports a similarly naughty bassline, almost jumping out of the speakers at you at the start, interspersed with bits which sound like they've dropped right out of a tacky 70's action movie soundtrack. Back to dramatics with "Never Going Home" as Pet Shop Boys-style keyboard stabs and a croud shouting "one-two-three" get things underway here, and crop up repeatedly throughout the course of the song (song?).

A jangley riff runs through "King Creole" from start to finish and this track seems to go nowhere fast.

Things get back on form though with the "Secret of 6 Dimensions." First there's a xylophone loop, a "marijuana" sample, the bass and then suddenly we're off as the beat cuts in without warning. The track builds, incorporating tribal chants, to a truly hypnotic crescendo before going through a quieter rest phase involving violins and things. Violins out the way, we're off again only this time to even greater heights - this is trancey stuff.

"Avalon" draws things to a close with what is perhaps the most orthodox cut, and a far cry from the other numbers here. In fact, it sounds for all the world like something off Orbital's "Snivilisation." The soft tones of vocalist Deborah Borchers gentley break the silence and are soon joined by a bouncey bassline and shimmering keyboard effects. The vocals continue throughout, with the later addition of an electric oboe (?), making this the only SONG on, and a fitting close to, Planet Genius.

To sum up, I have to say that this quite an experience. As I've already said, the music is surprising and it's by no means an easy ride. If you like the security of knowing where your music is going next, this isn't for you. If, on the other hand, you fancy an adventure, take the plunge - you won't be disappointed.


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// //// /////                          jarvisr (AT) bbsrc.ac.uk
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///// /////     John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park,
//////////              Colney, Norwich NR4 7UH, England, United Kingdom.
 
Paul Jarvis UK-DANCE, IDM

INDEPENDENT MUSIC REVIEW 
 
Having worked on the first Hardkiss 12" and then on a track for the _Deathrave 2000_ compilation, Frank Genius set out on his own and is currently working on a four volume series of techno music.

Depending on how you like your techno _Planet Genius_ could be either a dissapointment or the work of true mastermind. If you are in search of steady beats that will match up well on the dancefloor you're probably better off with the latest 12" from Submerge. On the other hand, if you don't mind a little experimentation and artistry thrown into your dance mix, _Planet Genius_ just may be your cup of tea.

Ambient, rave, and techno elements all come together for music that has a significant amount of thought and composition. With a story behind the sequence of these tracks, I'll be curious to see where Genius' next adventure takes him. (FLUX)
 
Elliott Smith INDEPENDENT MUSIC REVIEW

KPFK LOS ANGELES 
 
To whom it may concern:

I have just received your CD in the mail. Thank you very much. I'm now listening to the second track. It's a good thing that you have created this music. You have breathed life into an otherwise moribund genre. Dance, Rave, Techno and House are such limited, pseudo-elitist dead ends. No sense of humor, just smug arrogance. And along came you, upending their apple cart of conformity. Ha Ha Ha. Good for you.

Malcolm Mc Laren should give this a listen, if he's modest enough. You've elevated the collective unconscious a notch or two with this release. Keep up the good work.
 
Bruce Hollihan KPFK LOS ANGELES

FEEDBACK MONITOR 
 
While dreaming, Genius is visited by 3 Muses who reveal Dadua as the Ultimate Planet. So begins the little story on the back cover of this CD, and so begins your journey to Planet Genius. And a pleasant journey it is, filled with spiralling samples and mutant beats 'n' bleeps. Apparently the first in a series of four releases, Planet Genius is a solid effort that would fit nicely into the collection of thoose who appreciate the sort of off-kilter electro-weirdnesss that works equally well under both home listening and dancefloor conditions.

(Fans of the mighty UK label Warp Records should especially take note.)


 
Greg Clow FEEDBACK MONITOR

HYPERREAL 
 
fLUX: Planet Genius

Planet Genius is the work of one Frank (Rothkamm) Genius, and is reportedly chapter 1 in a four volume anthology. Frank (dadua@aol.com), periodic perpetrator of the IDM and 313 X-Files, has various historical and sundry connections to random elements of "the scene", and what he has done with Planet Genius is to weave many of these elements into a somewhat cohesive tapestry of his perceptions. Best, although still very inadequately, described as ambient ethno-trance, this is cool, immediately listenable stuff: creatively surprising without being scary, making good use of African polyrhythms and a variety of neat samples. A good backdrop for the dancefloor, chill room or barcalounger, which traverses a fair amount of ground in 8 tracks. An added bonus is the nifty jewel case, which looks like it was cast from a remnant of Morris? holographic Dreamcoat: it?s a rather optical illusory affair that appears to be about 2 inches thick when you look at it from the right angle.


Dadua opens with a flapper era sample that reinforces the fact that "dadua" is pronounced "da-doo-wop", immediately followed by a refrigerated beat and aggressive horn and sax section build. The counter melody is quirky, and builds and folds over upon itself, forever keeping the track off balance. The track is essentially "dueling build-ups", be it horns, trance pulsing, or processed "dadua" samples. Dadua never gets "there", but the foreplay's a good bit of fun.


The sounds of Bliss In Circles bear little resemblance to it's title; this is a very eerie and schizophrenic number, driven by an incessant plink-plonk beat and a ghost-like falsetto opera sample. Gradual tinkering with the dissonant innards provides the aural diary of a broken machine in the hands of maniacal Genius, all for your listening enjoyment. Interestingly annoying, but doesn't really go very far in the eight minutes it occupies.


Flow is a cool tribal thumper, with interleaved sounds and rhythms multiplexed dense enough to tax your personal bandwidth. A funky snake charmer with attitude, a recurring siren-style rewind (that will have you checkin? the rear view if you listen in your car), and a bubbly trancey build trade off against the campfire-lit drum circle throughout this piece until the ceremony ends abruptly.


Tribe 251 is , as the name suggests, another cybertribe anthem, the rallying cry of Hermetic Lodge 251. Punchy bass and some back of the neck drum trilling lay the foundation for a dense collage of tribal chanting and train station clangoring, and a simplistic squirty refrain breaks up the mixture. I like this one because it's self-propelled, with a funky feeling of positivity, and you have to listen closely to sort out all the different layers in the mix.


Never Going Home opens with a cheesed out Technotronic housey intro that turned me off cold (for all of about 16 seconds.) Then the fun begins as the playful interchange between instruments handmade from gourds, acid sweeps, house diva samples, frenetic bongoconga circles, and that lovable faux acid house intro backdrop make this one a dancefloor mover. A "Look At Me Now" sample is used as an intermission break, but then gets hopelessly thumbdragged as the track winds down.


King Creole sounds as if the African flavored rhythm stepper could have been lifted from a "Bush Of Ghosts / Fear Of Music" Eno / Byrne collaboration, but something tells me Mssr. Genius did it all by his lonesome. Nice steel drums and vibes provides the wankel rotary engine powertrain, punctuated by a staccato cornet blast sample on the down of each measure and the continual looping of the stuttering speaker to speaker santeria ritual namesake. Although not progressing tremendously throughout, it holds your ears to the stacks and your jumping feet within the dance circle for the duration.


30 seconds into the next number, and you learn the real "Secret Of 6 Dimensions". Alfred Hitchcock thriller style vibes and marimbas tip toe you through the jungle, beneath full moon skies, toward the scene of the investigation. It's another of those tribal hoe downs, and the natives are restless tonight. Lord knows how they convinced those 2 guys with tenor saxes and that concerto violinist to show. Evil spirits being driven out tonight, mon, so watch your back.


The closer, Avalon, is a cool dance floor bumper with syrupy sweet vocals from Deborah Borchers draped over the do-the-happy-shuffle rhythm section like a lace tarpaulin blowin' in a rhythmic wind. The soulful vocalist duets with an synth oboe pad and the result is quite satisfactory. I love the sound of machines when they smile; this one is a big time grinner and has enough tuggin' diva pull to be cross-overable, while not compromising its creative integrity.


Planet Genius played well from the first rotation, and it continues to hang pretty tough after about 10 compete listens. My only real criticism is that I could do with more variety and progression both within tracks and between tracks. At no point are you bored, but the recipe is usually so thick, that during some extended segments you may find yourself asking a la Phil Glass: "is there a progression here that I'm missing?" Neverless, Frank does well at mixing a variety of elements into a unique and engaging gumbo. Buy it if you can find it.
 
Jeff Davis HYPERREAL