Album: Frank Genius is Star Struck
Author: Chris Downton
Publication: Cyclic Defrost
German-born and now Los Angeles-based, electronic producer Frank Rothkamm provided engineering and rhythmic synthesis to the likes of the Hardkiss Brothers and DJ Spooky as well as working on a wide range of commercial soundtracks until 2005, when he decided to concentrate completely on his own solo artist productions under both his given name and as alter ego Frank Genius. Since then, he’s released a dizzying quantity of music, with this latest effort on LA-based Flux representing his tenth artist album in total. Designed to act as a ‘digital cantata set in San Francisco in the years AD 1990-1991?, the 14 tracks collected here see Rothkamm for the most part applying a pranksterish plunderphonic pop mash-up approach to the dancefloor, with extrovert moments such as ‘La Vie’ and ‘Black In The Sky’ roughly cutting up female vocal phrases over a massed backdrop of drum samples that takes its cue equally from contemporary electro and early nineties C&C Music Factory-style hip-house.
The hypnotically rolling ‘Q’ sees Rothkamm taking things considerably deeper with a slide into jacking Chicago house and looped tribal vocal samples that calls to mind Kevin Saunderson, while the icily robotic ‘Roll X Tones’ sits somewhere closer to some meeting point between Cybotron and DMX Krew, with some additional unexpected psyche-rock vocal and guitar elements tossed in to tweak proceedings further into leftfield. It’s certainly for the most part impressive stuff that sees Rothkamm rocking the dancefloor whilst packing tongue firmly in cheek, but unfortunately some of the more abstracted segue tracks here, such as ‘Vast’s sudden crash into nightmarishly treated atonal strings and ‘Ascending Megablast’s insane drummer heavy metal mash-up section contribute to what’s occasionally a bit of a jarring listening experience.
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