Frank Rothkamm – ALT

Frank Rothkamm is a composer as well as a conceptual artists. You can tell when visiting his website, but also when reading the promo text for this new CD: “He cultivates enigmas <…>In fact, Rothkamm is a magician, a prestidigitation theoretician, and a carny all in one”.

Wow. Big Words. Want more? Read [here]!

But luckily he’s not without humour. His discography boasts 21 releases – among which Opus Spongebobicum, a set of piano variations on the first ten notes from the “Spongebob Squarepants” theme song. (Don’t know it, but I’d love to hear it!)

His latest release, ALT is released on the Baskaru label. It is a collection of ‘analog computers & algorithms’, created between 1989 and 2009.

It’s a diverse collection of sounds. Sometimes based around the beautiful old-fashioned sounds of analog synths, like the opener AAA, but also featuring string loop tracks (GUI)  and choir samples reminiscent of some tracks by Biosphere (OOO , featured below).
All tracks explore a different starting point, and the result is a varied album full of quite accessible electronic music.

On ALT I have set up iterative procedures on physical machines (as opposed to a linear process in software). Once the process is in motion, no or minimal intervention takes place. Each piece on ALT has the same premise: to create an infinity machine, a deus ex machina, to experience an infinite process in a finite amount of time.”

The last statement is especially true, since most of the 10 tracks on ALT are fairly short – the full album finishes after just 40 minutes. So to ‘experience an infinite process’ you probably will have to put it on repeat. 

Though this album conceptually is quite different to most other ‘ambient/electronic’ albums, the result will obviously please anyone interested in electronic sounds.
So, to conclude with another quote from the promo text: “ALT makes an excellent introduction to the Rothkammian mystery.”

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