“The music of ghosts is located here, in the movement from one pitch to the next, in the ambivalence of notes when one note has been left and the next one is not quite yet reached”. Frank Rothkamm – a Los Angeles resident who still remembers the nocturnal shadows of his Manhattan apartment – is a man of clear ideas, even when the images he tries to conjure up through his studio productions are not exactly explicable. There lies the fascination evoked by Ghost Of New York, first instalment of the 3-CD + DVD “Tetralogy”. If this is the inauguration, we’re in for a delightfully misplacing trip.
A limited edition of 333 copies, the duration set at 33’33” (numbers that recall the theoretically universal numerical perfection with which low-cost spiritual leaders usually lecture the aurally impeded, dressing all that wittering with recurrent grammar errors in escalating mnemonic earthquakes) the album consists of five tracks of erratically nonrepresentational music containing the most evident exemplifications of a street man’s failure to realize that Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Si is not the centre of the cosmos. Contrarily to the artist’s habit the sources are not made known to the mortal consumer, though I’m surmising that analogue synthesis and a computerized system might be held responsible for this hymn to the insufficient definition of a liquefied polymorphism.
The waves reach for our attention, constantly enticing, teasing us through intangible shapes, irreparable damages already done to that mechanism of reduction to basic constituents which the mind is prone to utilize when unable to recognize what’s happening. Complex draperies replete with bubbling fluids and swirling radiations are alternated with moments of uneasy stagnancy or dawdling levitation (I swear that this term was chosen before realizing that a track is called “Self Levitation Science”). Adjacent ephemeral circumstances fuse in a huge blotch as we drowsily connect the dots of a depressingly plumbeous day and the rerun of a vintage Azumah Nelson fight (whose picture’s colours are also extremely blurred). Does this lethargy mean we’re being hit in the head by these momentous synthetic protuberances? Have African boxers ever pondered about the inadequacy of a common illusionary stereophonic projection? Is the beginning of “The Bethroted Of Wyoming” a mutilated robotic quote of the incipit to Igor Stravinski’s Sacre Du Printemps? Why does this writer always ask questions in Rothkamm-related reviews? Unsolved mysteries, at least for now.
Although never antagonistic to the ears, this is not a choice soundtrack for dinner at home with your potential new fiancée, unless she’s a Conehead. This chef exclusively cooks food for thought (well, this is not really true – check this blog), accomplishing the goal via singular accentuations of the aspects of life (translated: “of sound”) that are vaguely readable between the lines, which – as he himself seems to admit in the inner leaflet’s observations – remains a major artistic interest. This is the only type of truth-seeker accepted in my house.