Album: Moers Works
Author: Massimo Ricci
Publication: TOUCHING EXTREMES
There are self-proclaimed “artists” whose music sounds like adolescent bedroom experiments, and there are instead experiments that, born in similar circumstances, already possess the seriousness and the sonic poise of important compositional efforts.
Frank Rothkamm’s “Moers Works” belong to the second cathegory, of course; not that I had any doubt, in consideration of Mr. Rothkamm's illustrious past and his penchant for inventing new instruments and tunings that make the Western systems look ridiculous at best.
When Frank was a bright young kid, he assembled a basic setup to record his ideas: turntable, shortwave radio, phaser, equalizer, cassette and reel-to-reel tape recorders. By overdubbing masses of monophonic sounds and getting a pseudo stereophony through tape delay, he generated the twelve tracks that we have the good luck of hearing now (two of them also feature a Korg MS-20 synth).
What we receive is an objective vision of hundreds of stacked, layered and fragmented formations that collect residual noise, hiss, malfunctioning and distortion to exploit their inherent force; but that alone wouldn’t be enough, hadn’t been Rothkamm's vision so clear even at that tender age. As a matter of fact, his timbral insight appears so acute that it just looks like he was already able to penetrate the essence of the elaboration itself, processing and counterprocessing even the tiniest details of an apparently shapeless matter to highlight its most functional characteristics. Therefore, a synthesized sequence, a looped segment of muzak, a shortwave interference and the cheapest musique concrete experiment weight just the same, as they’re all components of a continuous flight of fantasy alimented by the composer’s will to determine a structure behind the "flash idea", all the while establishing a kind of transcendental organicity which makes this music sound - for lack of a better adjective - natural, driven by a necessity of communication that goes well beyond the pure experiment. And, lo-fi or not, it's just great to these ears.
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