Author: Massimo Ricci
Publication: Touching Extremes
Expect no less than good-natured surprises and the occasional question mark when you read the name Frank Rothkamm.
Reno is an album of flaccidly pushy electronic music composed during the 90s, entirely orchestrated on an Atari ST computer running on Cubase and connected to an array of vintage synthesizers and ancient-sounding drum machines. In essence, this is the sonic rendering of a concept – that of the “supermodern ballet” – according to which audience and performers become one thanks to the universal clock which regulates the (presumed) proportion between the rhythms of our own cosmos and the neuroses deriving from the numerous difficulties contained therein (including the impossibility of getting a work acknowledged, namely what happened to Rothkamm when he went to New York in search of record deals and/or other types of artistic glory and was instead forced to live in stressful conditions throughout the stay).
The original background for this stuff has to be found in San Francisco’s Rave movement, of which the main character was a booster both as organizer and performer in the years of reference.
The sounds get consistently thrown to our ugly mug in all their scientifically démodé appearance: mathematical programming, wishy-washy timbral stableness resulting in some mythical splashes of blubbery synthesis, and a smattering of retro jewels (“Graphic Equalizer”, “Dancefloor Killers” and “Jazz Hands”) that will make someone put on the red shoes and dance a peculiar kind of blues. And it’s also perfect, enjoyed via ear-clogging headphones, for terminating the verbal bullshit surrounding a pitiable train traveller.
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