|Frank Rothkamm (born July 2, 1965) is a composer and polymath who has divided most of his time between New York and Los Angeles.
To date Frank has released 177 albums, of which 148 are solo, and has composed 780 works ranging from the microscopic 4 second "ID 7" (opus 13) to the 7 hour and 27 minute macroscape of "Midtown" (opus 596). His 20 releases on Compact Disc, of which 18 were issued by his own Flux Records imprint between 1995 and 2015, were the subject of 237 reviews, mainly in Europe and the US.
Originally interested in drawing in his pre-teen years, as a teenager Frank produced a graphical notation system for music, studied to become a pianist at the "Musikschule" (music school), built his own electronic music studio and worked as both a composer and actor at the "Schloss Theater" (castle theatre) in Moers, Germany. After a stay as postulant at the cloister of Lilienfeld, Austria, he rose to prominence in Moers with FISCH II, a performance involving analog tape music, lights, 4 actor-instrumentalists and a fish.
Frank refused to serve in the army and worked instead at Cologne’s University Clinic for his civil service. At the same time he studied privately with Clarence Barlow, lived in the artist-run gallery Atelier Soemmering, where he produced his first body-manipulation works and performed in galleries & clubs, culminating in the release of his first solo album in 1986 via the Maria Bonk Gallery.
After studies in communication science, bionics and philosophy at the Technische Universität Berlin, where he co-founded the CAMP group, studied Csound with Horacio Vaggione and performed at the International Computer Music Conference 1988, he left Europe and moved to Canada. There Frank composed, for his first wife Emily Faryna - FISCH III 5 - his first digital sampling based album, studied privately Forth with Kenneth Newby and wrote his first commercial software - PaintMusic - for Science World of British Columbia. He concluded with coding FM synthesis for computer games (Unlimited Software), working for Rodney Graham and the last FISCH performance in Vancouver, Canada.
Moving to San Francisco in 1990, Frank appeared with his second wife Monique Marquisa de Magdalena in the February 91 issue of Playboy magazine, organized raves and performed with digital tape music, lights, 2 dancers and a drummer at clubs where he met his third wife Nina Schneider. His first appearance on 12'' vinyl record "Magick Sounds of the Underground' (Hardkiss Records) and on Compact Disc "Death Rave 2000" (21st Circuitry Records), as well as the establishment of his first production company "Suite Zero" followed after writing his first commercials for Levi's 501 (Foote, Cone & Belding) in 1992.
Relocating with Nina to New York in 1993, he composed and remixed for the Cranberries, DJ Spooky, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Elliott Sharp, Alfred Harth, Peter Scherer, Corin Curschellas and produced his first industrials for corporate clients like Sears. In 1995 the first of his 2 soundtracks for George Lucas "Star Wars 3D" trailers (New York Film & Animation) appeared. He suffered his first panic attacks, symptoms of a mental illness that would progressively and severely impact his life. In 1997 his Flux Records released DJ Glove's "Tuning", a 12'' record of a woman tuning a piano, and Frank became the last Freemason of the German-speaking Hermann Lodge to be initiated in Manhattan.
After gaining his first internet client in 1998, a pet sanctuary in upstate New York, Frank moved to Hollywood and for the next 11 years worked on web design, Coldfusion development and Server administration for numerous clients - from Vampire Cosmetics to Warner Bros. – all the while moving between Los Angeles and New York. He was bi-coastal from 2001-2004 and 2007-2009. In 2000 he became the Director of Technology for Musicblitz in Culver City and he was the Senior Systems Analyst for the New York Philharmonic from 2006-2010.
Following the licensing of the Flux Records catalog to ringtone providers, Frank had an epiphany in the summer of 2002 in Hollywood and devised a new method of composition. All works were now created on the verge of sleep through IFORMM, a intelligent synthesizer he built from 2002 to 2006 with 1980s sound modules and an Atari ST. 2007 saw the destruction of his entire archive of hardware synthesizers and master tapes in the California Witch Creek wildfire, but Frank continued with the method until 2010, when he released his first syntheastic film - "Birth of Primary Cinema from the Spirit of Sound" - made after he passed out on a flight from New York to Copenhagen.
From 2005-2010 he averaged 3 Compact Disc releases per year on Flux Records. Meanwhile, Moscow-based label Monochrome Vision discovered and released his teenage "Moers Works (1982-1984)" in 2006 and Paris-based label Baskaru issued “ALT” in 2009 - a survey of this 1989-2002 algorithmic work with analog computers. After his first album of organ music "just 3 organs" (2008) and piano music "Opus Spongebobicum" (2008) he restored a 1924 E.Gabler & Bros. grand piano and went back to practicing Czerny and Mozart.
From 2010-2015 Frank restored a 1935 Steinkamp house in View Park, California, migrated to open-source Linux software and licenses, built a collection of vintage computers, keyboards and related books; and following his diagnosis with the brain processing disorder Tinnitus, formulated psychostochastics as a research discipline and method of composition. The first public result of this was the "Wiener Process" (2010-2014), a 24 hour 24 part Csound score written in 3 computer languages, released on Baskaru as a datastream, download and a 24 Compact Disc box set.
On July 2, 2015 his Lodge For Utopian Science started to digitally issue open source and commercial editions of his complete works which commenced with "Stockhausen Star Formula" (2013) and ended over 20 months later on March 3rd, 2017 with "The Last Post" (2016).
Although always prolific and despite setbacks, Frank markedly stepped up production in 2015, 2016 and 2017 with the realization of over 200 works and the release - via Google Play, YouTube, Bandcamp and Rothkamm - of 23 albums in 2015, 36 albums in 2016 and 62 in 2017.
In 2017, after a year of misdiagnosis by Ronald Reagan Medical Center, Frank nearly died of acute renal failure during a heat wave in LA, was admitted to UCLA’s Santa Monica hospital where he was diagnosed with terminal Cancer. Frank then sold all his possessions, donated his archive to UCSB (The Frank Rothkamm Collection), his CD releases to SONM (Murcia, Spain) and returned, after 30 years abroad, to Germany where he was treated at Cologne’s University Clinic.