Frank Rothkamm [ Birth of the Uncool ]

‘Birth of the Uncool’ must have a midwife. In September of 1948 Capitol Records’ employee Pete Rugolo heard a nonet at the Royal Roost, a jazz club in Manhattan. He was there perhaps because of an unusual sign at the door, which stated: ”Arrangements by Gerry Mulligan, Gil Evans, and John Lewis”. He asked Miles Davis to record some 3 minute ‘tunes’ for eventual release on 10-inch 78-rpm records. Over a period of one and a half years the nonet did three sessions and some of these ‘tunes’ got released. Capitol Records was so disappointed with the sales of the nonet recordings, that they dropped Miles Davis. It wasn’t until 1957 when they released a 33-rpm LP under the title ‘Birth of the Cool’, which contained most of the sessions. This same year Milton Babbitt’s ‘All Set for Jazz Ensemble’ was premiered by the Bill Evans Orchestra at the Brandeis University Creative Arts Festival. Columbia recorded it, but it was not released on LP until 1963 as ‘Gunther Schuller & George Russell ‎– Modern Jazz Concert’. That is cool, but the label decided on the term ‘Third Stream’ to market it. This is all history. Today in 2017 things have shifted around a bit. According to Nielsen, Classical and Jazz each account for 1.4 percent of total music sales. Supermodern Jazz is not even measurable. “Jazz is too good for America.” said Dizzy Gillespie and he sold quite a few records in his day. Under the current conditions, music makers in the US are faced with a negative value for recordings. While prices for basic human needs like shelter, food & health care are all monetized and at historic record highs, the value of music that does not conform to the mainstream market is negative. It costs the producer more than the compensation. The contemporary composer is not even allowed access to the art market since there is no art music market. The combined commercial value of all of these mid-century American master works mentioned so far is an almost unmeasurable fraction of a Jackson Pollock painting or a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Market values reflect the current dominant culture in America. If you want to live, do not make sound recordings. America currently issues a ‘Death Wish’ to its creators in sound. So, we need Charles Bronson, again. This is the ‘Birth of the Uncool’. It is not only just a sound recording, but it is also made with worthless and cumbersome technology from the 1980s - that decade when Miles Davis and Marcus Miller used drum-machines - and it is produced by algorithms alone. To call this post-human would be to call Milton Babbitt a robot. This is just uncool.

Catalog No: FLX108 (LN474)
Title: Birth of the Uncool
Sound Artist: Frank Rothkamm
Visual Artist: Holger Rothkamm
Label: Flux Records
Length: 31:32 (1892s)
Composed: 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Instruments: Atari Formula
Korg M3R
Release Date: 02/23/2017
Format: Digital
209 ALBUMs
1100 TRACKs
112 PDFs

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