Album: By the Sea
Author: Massimo Ricci
Publication: Touching Extremes (source)
Date: 03/30/2018

Following many years of acquaintance with his output – concomitant with several private exchanges on a kaleidoscopic cycle of topics – I have come to the conclusion that Frank Rothkamm is one of the extremely rare human specimens whose words truly deserve to be considered and absorbed. Better still: he is my philosopher of choice after Frank Zappa (a common influence), in that nary a sentence appears in his writings that could be dismissed as throwaway hokum in the pitiable attempt of predisposing a weak individual’s conduct. In Rothkamm’s prescience each component implies a radical reinterpretation of indispensable laws of both animateness and afterworld – the veritable ones, not what informs the pretentious fairy tales of some decerebrated nincompoop – in relation to the shortage of values and minds of present-day mankind. Then again, where else you can find camouflaged ironic references to Tears For Fears and Dead Or Alive in a paragraph permeated with the severeness of lonesome sufferance? By The Sea consists of 76 minutes of metropolitan recordings – Steve Reich would call it “city life” – captured with a single microphone. The importance of this work lies in the exchange of roles between the text and the sounds. In fact, the best way to assimilate the crucial meaning of this reflection is reading the script while encircled – preferably via headphone – by the urban clamor. I’m sure that hyper-developed souls have already observed how the remoteness of daily traffic perceived from a higher location – say, a hill – is often incredibly similar to an oceanic wash. One wonders if Rothkamm thought about this, too, when titling the opus. Ultimately, it’s not that important, although the effect remains (and it’s rather formidable at high volume). The reviewer’s advice might appear a little biased, but instead it’s heartfelt: please, do focus. Focus on the wholeness and the detail. Point the aerials towards the undeniable crux of the biscuit (there you go, Frank). Do not run after someone’s sentences as chickens do when seeds are thrown to them. Seize the pivotal correspondences – or lack thereof, when the aforementioned imbeciles are babbling incoherently – and turn them into silence. Not the silence of who’s used to be humiliated and doesn’t have the nerve to take a stance; we mean the emotional quietness of learning beings who identify a mask of desperation in every talking head, and forgive. “The center of the world has a rotten core. A virus has taken over. What did we forget?” At least two quintessential factors, is the answer. Responsiveness and acuity. Those born with such natural gifts are going to sit mute Forever Until Sunday.

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