Album: Amerika
Author: Adam Pearson
Publication: KZSU
Date: 1/3/2011

Intellectual piano experimental. KZSU experimental favorite Frank Rothkamm is back with more disjointed, academic piano wanderings. Mr. Rothkamm is the brilliant man who brought us Zookeeper mainstays such as Opus Spongebobicum and Just 3 Organs. Rothkamm plays five one-shot takes on a 1954 Wurlitzer piano he found in a thrift shop. This is the fourth release in his Tetralogy, and the focus is on a reconstruction (deconstruction?) of American tunes that dominated Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s. Lots of dissonance and brittle, pensive attacks. Throw it on in the middle of a pop set for full effect.

1. The only original composition and a bit more melodic and approachable than some of the other ones on here. (14:26)
2. The spiritual “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” is given the full treatment – melody is completely picked apart. The ending few minutes are a bit eerie. (15:09)
3. Opening introduces the refrain he seeks to reinterpret (1895’s “The Band Played On” by John Palmer and Charles Ward); settles onto some depressing chords a few minutes in, continues into a sparse, bleak, tense area; lots of breathing space in the second half and rhythmic piano (17:34)
4. Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” is transformed from a galloping march into a lurching, drawn-out, snail’s dirge with some melodic chords 7 minutes in. (11:35)
5. “You’re in the Army Now” was a lighthearted, triumphant, marching band tune in the 1941 movie of the same title – Rothkamm merely hints at its hook and rhythmically serves more twisted, bobby, off-kilter pianoscapes. (14:14)

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