|Frank Rothkamm is a composer and artist who was born on July 2, 1965 in Gütersloh, West Germany.
To date, Frank has composed 997 tracks ranging from the microscopic 4 second "ID 7" (opus 13) to the 7 hour and 27 minute macroscape of "Midtown" (opus 596) and has released 170 solo albums (of which 26 are solo piano) and appeared on 29 others. His 18 Compact Disc releases, of which 16 were issued by his own Flux Records imprint between 1995 and 2015, were the subject of 241 reviews and articles.
Originally interested in drawing in his pre-teen years, as a teenager Frank produced a graphical notation system for music, studied piano 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 release 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 release, 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 depression 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 tracks 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 release 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, synthesizers, pianos 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.
In 2015 he wrote a music streaming app and started to issue his complete tracks on digital albums which commenced with "Stockhausen Star Formula" (2013) on July 2nd, 2015 and ended over 20 months later on March 3rd, 2017 with "The Last Post" (2016).
Frank markedly stepped up production in 2015, 2016 and 2017 with the realization of over 200 tracks and the release - via Google Play, YouTube, Bandcamp and Rothkamm - of 23 albums in 2015, 36 in 2016 and 62 in 2017.
In 2017, after a year of misdiagnosis, Frank was admitted to UCLA’s Santa Monica hospital because of acute renal failure and diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer. Frank then sold all his possessions, donated his archive to UCSB (The Frank Rothkamm Collection), his CD releases to SONM (Murcia, Spain) and moved to Germany where he underwent chemo and radiation therapy at Cologne’s University Clinic.
In 2018 he was left with severe physical and mental health problems from the treatment and returned, after 1 year abroad, back to Los Angeles where he underwent more chemo and in 2019 a stem cell transplant.