Album: FB01,FB02,FB03
Author: Joker Nies
Publication: SOUND & RECORDING (source)
Date: 02/24/2008

Rothkamm's "Retro-Computed Music" leaves the boundaries of the groove and of functional harmony. The dissolvement of the 1/2 tone into 678 steps sounds less strange to the ear than, say, the 1/4 tone scale. Because of this extreme a fantastic-futuristic tuning and atmosphere is created, which develops into its very own structures and sounds from the Yamaha FB01. Veterans and lovers of FM-sounds appreciate this informally designed little black box because of its neatly arranged parameters, powerful bass and unusual sounds, which are produced via 4 operators and 8 algorithms by sine waves. Rothkamm sees these as pure synthesis elements in the tradition of Fourier. Un-corporal and accessible to the tools of the programmer and composer, sine waves generate complex sounds via additive synthesis, FM and ring modulation without filters, which is common practice in the analog world of subtractive synthesis. At the same time, Rothkamm is dedicated to the idea of an instrument which has clearly defined possibilities and idiosyncrasies, all to be researched and used.

Frank Rothkamm resists any form of populism. For him, it is all about to actually live utopia. In this case, the research into the fascinating-bizarre sound world of Frequency Modulation with the methods of its age, the machines of the 80s. For him, the FB01 is the perfect spaceship to delve into the depths of FM sound synthesis. His navigator is IFORMM - "a Turing Machine of Sci-Fi Serialism", so says Rothkamm. Since the middle of the 80s he has developed his own composition and sound tool. It has now grown to be an operating system and now resides within an Atari Emulator. IFORMM communicates via SysEx messages with the parameter pallet of the FB01. "IFORMM's software functions as a scriptable real-time generative transformer, random process generator and bitgraphics visualizer." All friends of original electronic music should take the "FB01-machine-trilogy" to heart.

Frank Holger Rothkamm is a musician, composer, programmer, and border crossing conceptual artist. He counts as his influences Immanuel Kant, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Liberace and Alan Turing. He grew up in Germany, first emigrated to Canada and then to America Alone on the musical sector he can point to an encompassing oeuvre: He worked with such different artist as the Hardkiss Bros., Peter Scherer, Elliott Sharp, Alfred 23 Harth, Wolfgang Muthspiel and DJ Spooky.

"Supermodernism" is his key word. The architect of this world view however does not mean the drive for the fastest and newest in our overpopulated electronic universe. Again, in his latest work Rothkamm generates all sounds alone with the Yamaha FB01. The album "FB03" is the final part of a trilogy, and with it Rothkamm stands in the tradition of "fantastic" electronic music - like Louis and Bebe Baron or Raymond Scott. In addition he shows as his influences the electronic serialists Wladimir Usachevsky and Franco Evangelisti.

(translated from the original German)

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