Frank Rothkamm – Wiener Process


24xCD (box set) – Baskaru

Frank Rothkamm’s conceptual excursions are consistently surprising. Last time it was Reno that made us jump, a muzak album that certainly does not occupy first place in the German composer’s discography. Prior to that release Rothkamm had been diagnosed with noise-induced tinnitus and this stimulated the eclectic researcher into investigating possible sound treatments for “masking” or removing high frequencies. He eventually had to admit defeat in the quest to find a cure, but Rothkamm has instead developed something he calls a “psychostochastic” scientific method. This is an innovative concept of “no-time music”, which uses statistical analysis to create sound that is difficult to remember and whose perception is affected by the type of iterations that constitute the music. The project has been released on the Baskaru imprint and includes twenty-four CDs, each lasting one hour and housed in a hand-made Lucite double box. The work forms “a zone where there is no beginning nor end, no linear development but the laws of quantum mechanics”. Given that the reference points here are sound, time and uncertainty, it is unsurprising that the title alludes to Norbert Wiener, a mathematician, statistician and one of the forerunners of information theory and cybernetics. Wiener Process begins with barely audible frequencies (below 1 kHz) that expand in complexity through formal probabilistic processes, adding elements and reaching an average rate of 277 sound events per second. The exponential multiplication of the sound data forces the listener into a dramatic metamorphic space, one much broader than is usually encountered. There is no escape: this work is bright and out of control. The method of construction forces us to consider the usefulness of critical judgements and (as with all generative music) question the role of the author.


Frank Rothkamm – Wiener Process (excerpt)