Frank Makowski (born in 1968) got into electronic
music through popular electronic music from France in the late 1970s but
really pulled the trigger for him was the developing Berlin School style
of the early 1980s. Early on he began
experimenting with tape recorders, fm receivers and an old EKO Tiger
organ (that still is part of his studio equipment). By late 1980s
he evolved his workflow by changing to digital recording equipment,
supporting computer technology and state-of-the-art synthesizers and
samplers. In the early 1990s the first official releases appeared,
followed by theater and film music projects and numerous live
Not only has Frank gained an artistic credibility in the
electronic music scene but also through his design artworks for many
albums of other colleagues. He designes the sleeves for all his solo
releases himself and also did artworks for artists like COSMIC HOFFMANN,
RAINBOW SERPENT, SCHÖNWÄLDER & KELLER and nearly all [´ramp] releases
to name some of the more prominent names. The peak of his graphics
career undoubtedly was being commissioned to do the artwork for the
reissue of EDGAR FROESE´s "Macula Transfer", followed by layout work for
the ASH RA TEMPLE / MANUEL GOETTSCHING double CD "The Best Of The
Private Tapes", both on Manikin.
"There can be no transforming of
darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion."
The pseudonym TRANQUILLITY was derived from an album of one of his
most important early musical influences, JOHANNES SCHMOELLING´s "The Zoo
of Tranquillity". Apart from working as a soloist, Frank also
collaborated early with other local EM artists, such like TIMEWAVE,
which led to his concert debut at the
first KLEM NRW Festival in 1993 (where he became sort of like a "performer
in residence" as the two subsequent festivals saw him playing as well). Also, he played
with Olaf HUERLAENDER Hellenkamp & Peter Gallin and released an album of rather harsh
and weird industrial stuff ("Mirkom"). In 1994 all these efforts led to
the release of his first solo CD "The Spectre Within" which received
positive reviews throughout. In 1996 he presented his second CD "Deus Ex
Machina" which contained music from multimedia sessions Frank had done
in collaboration with a couple of experimental movie makers.
After that, the [´ramp] project became too time-consuming
for him to work on new solo material for a while. "Core", his third solo
album, has been released in 2001 to much acclaim from more adventureous
listeners who really managed to get into Frank´s complex timbral palette.
With the release of "Core" the TRANQUILLITY chapter was closed for an
even longer period, so Frank has felt more and more comfortable with the
new musical territories he conquered with [´ramp] for the next couple of
The music released under the TRANQUILLITY moniker is more focused on melodic hooklines and driving sequences. Up tempo tracks overweight soundscapes. One might say, that it shows his more traditional and mainstream, less experimental, approach.
"The eternal silence of these infinite
spaces fills me with dread."
A collaborational project which has evolved from an early session
lineup featuring Frank Makowski, Stephen Parsick and Lambert Ringlage.
The nucleus Makowski / Parsick performed for more than a decade under that
project name, inviting numerous guest artisans such as Jens Peschke
(Kubusschnitt & Navigator), Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock or Markus Reuter (Centrozoon).
The musical journey of [´ramp] started back in 1996 when the first trio
teamed up for sessions, developing new techniques of performing
traditional Berlin School inspired Electronic Music and pushing the
boundary further into dark, ambient and experimental hunting grounds.
Releases show that span from the most powerful sequencer lines of the "Nodular"
release from 1998, to the all ambient release "Ceasing to Exist" from
2007. The years with [´ramp] show an enormous expand of Franks sonic
palette, both in artistic and technical terms. Improvisation has become
a keypoint in his work and he concentrated on different production
techniques, such as massive multitrack postproduction and experimenting
with loop devices. These forms of production then became standard for [´ramp]. Due to personal differences the collaboration was
buried during 2008. In that period the music of [´ramp] was an evolutional ride from
straight forward stepsequenced EM into the disturbing areas of Dark
Ambient and Dronescape.
THE SPEED OF DARK... and beyond
"So I will slow down, and think music." - Speed Of Dark - Elisabeth Moon
Franks present work marks a definite step further into other musical territories. The artistic concept is far more open now, than it was with [´ramp] in the end, leaving room for a growing number of main and side projects, with or without other individuals. While the first release of THE SPEED OF DARK in 2007 shows a definite soundtrack feel, it is no surprise that the last major project finished by the end of 2008 was a movie score ("Urban Scumbags vs. Countryside Zombies", a trash movie from the 90s reworked and released on DVD).
And following his raising addiction to the world of modular synthesis, he and Torsten TMA Abel formed the project SONEMARK in 2009. SONEMARK has gained some attention for their stylistic balance from traditionally coloured EM to IDM influences, due to a radio concert and appearances in the german modular synth scene. Finally they got invited to play the 10th Anniversary issue of the Summer Inspiration Festival in 2010 without a single official release. Following live activities are planned for 2011.
Beside this public appearances Frank is constantly expanding his studio work and personal style. By melting the dynamic approach of the early years with the techniques and style of drones, loop music and ambient, Franks sound has evolved to a new emotional depth. The results are haunting... and there is a lot more to come...
February 2011, Dortmund/Germany