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Rotate the Completor - Rotate the Completors: Completed Rotations of The…

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Artist: Rotate the Completor

Album: Rotate the Completors: Completed Rotations of The…

Label: Roaratorio

Review date: Sep. 3, 2010

It’s mid afternoon, and as I sit drinking an espresso and eating a delicious pastry, I realize, I’m already breaking at least two of the four rules for listening to Rotate the Completor.

1.) Listen alone
2.) Listen with headphones on.
3.) Listen only at night.
4.) Only permissible foods to be eaten when listening to ‘R.T.C.’’s: C.R of the…’ ;cruciferous vegetables, members of the allium genus.

And so begins the journey into Rotate the Completors: Completed Rotations of The…, a collection of songs by Tauranga, New Zealand, musician Rotate the Completor, each named in sequential order “01,” “02” and so on. The recordings are lo-fi, a mix of circular, chorus-effected guitar with a drumbeat like a circus carousel (up, down, up, down, up, down). The vocals crash in and out like a warbled Emo Philips singing about dogs and cantaloupe. It’s epicly damaged, the stuff of outsider music fans’ wet dreams.

Once relegated to chance encounters on the streets of New Zealand, R.T.C. came to the attention of most of the rest of the world through the efforts of Stan Ingham, a musician and resident of Tauranga. Ingram ran across R.T.C. playing on a street corner and was amazed at this one-man cacophony of weirdness. His attempts to talk to the artist were met with indifference, but undeterred he gave him his address anyway, hoping to find out more about this mysterious busker. Months later, a tape arrived at his door, with many of the songs contained on this release. Also included were the list of rules, and a small history of the “band,” in which R.T.C., already a one-man band, also “became his [own] only fan… [because] others failed to see his natural talent” and told him he sucked. It was because of this fan — himself — that R.T.C. decided not to retire from music entirely. He told himself, “dont (sic) stop. whatever you do is great. i love you. have my babies. rotate the comania forever.” R.T.C. even went so far as to create reviews of his sold-out stadium concerts for himself. Here is an artist who has created a fantasy world in which he is a superstar.

It’s a lot to grasp, and this inner/outer monologue is a large part of what makes R.T.C. an archetypal outsider artist. His music is a challenging listen; often childish, and grating, but at its core it’s also revelatory of the artistic process, the need to create whether anyone listens or not. Thanks to Ingram reaching out to fans of outsider music, a few brave folks sent away to obtain R.T.C.’s tape with varying success. Although he tried and tried, Ingram was never successful in getting another response

That is what makes the reissue of a vinyl version all the more remarkable. The Roaratorio release has been re-mastered and manages to capture all of the intrinsic magic that the cassette version offered, minus perhaps the human connection that fans got by receiving a package from R.T.C. himself.

Therein lies the crux of outsider art. Without some sort of connection to the artist or the art that he creates, all we’re actually left with is a bit of a mess — a collection of turkeys put forth as an album. But acolytes of Irwin Chusid and “incredibly strange music” should rejoice: Here is another eccentric champion in the mode of Daniel Johnston, Wesley Willis, Shooby Taylor and the Shaggs to add to their collection of oddball friends. R.T.C. will never actually play a stadium, but at least he’s no longer his only fan.

By Dustin Drase

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