Frequency Curtain was formed in 2001 by John Grzinich, Rick Reed and Josh Ronsen, fusing Reed's ancient sine wave generators and short-wave radios with Grznich and Ronsen's modern Macintosh laptops. All three contributed video materials which became a staple for all future performances. The trio debuted at the Intersect 4 festival in Austin, Texas and the rehearsal recordings were released on Elevator Bath records, then based in Dallas. After Grzinich left for Europe, Reed and Ronsen continued as a duo, performing in Dallas, Houston and Austin. Vanessa Arn filled in for Reed at 2 shows.
“The building blocks the members of Frequency Curtain play with are few and simple: shortwave radio, analog sine waves (tone generators), and digital sine waves and sound processing (on laptop computers). The music of Rick Reed, John Grzinich, and Josh Ronsen never sounds simple: cold and alien, yes, but also varied and richly textured. The lack of notes, recognizable instruments, or rhythm will make many a listener turn away, but the frequency destruction/reconstruction these three accomplish holds enough power to reward attentive listening. Even though the musicians experiment with different approaches, the whole thing has a homogenous feel, mostly thanks to the constant presence of radio static looped into a drone. The sine waves move around, heavily processed in both basic analog (pitch-voltage and such) and digital ways -- and never presented in their headache-inducing raw state. The music is surprisingly gentle and, played back at low volume, takes the form of a soft electrical drone. At higher volume it becomes an immersing clash of frequencies, like being trapped between broadcast towers with a metal plate in your head.” ~ François Couture, All Music Guide
  • “Frequency Curtain” CD (Elevator Bath). Download the track Snake Eyes Lament
  • “Untitled” on Intersect 4 CD (Pale-Disc): “Here they use both analogue and digital sine wave generators, creating an intense, droning piece of sine tones and textures, that quickly evolves into static, feedback, droning noise. An intoxicating and captivating kaleidoscope of sound.” —Richard di Santo,
  • “Listless Mountain” on Grain CD (DotDotDot).
  • “Axi-ohm” on Austinnitus Audio Series. Reed-Ronsen duo performing in Houston, available as free download.
  • “Excerpt from Ceremony Hall” on Escardrone compilation project
  • “Two Days in May” CD (TIBProd Italy). also available on streaming and download services.
“So, what kind of sound does Frequency Curtain offer to you, the discerning music listener? True to their name, they gargle up four long tracks of gritty electronic drones in which the vintage technology of sine wave generators and short wave radios are seamlessly layered with the infinitely itchy aural pixels of modern laptop computers. Painful, high-pitched tones and all kinds of brittle skittles meld with deep synth-like clouds and packs of percolating barbs, forming the perfect menacing backdrop for an all-night slumber party in a pitch black utility closet. And the black, abstract cover and psychedelic disc art–both of which are quite lovely and minimal–match the music perfectly. I highly recommended this CD for any and all drone fans who like it rough.”
Arcane Candy
John Grzinich now works in Estonia at MoKS and releases records under the name jgrzinich. He leads workshops and records interesting environments.
Rick Reed has been performing under his own name as well as Ghost Time, Voltage Spooks, Knobjobs and providing music for the films of Ken Jacobs. He also paints and makes video works.
Josh Ronsen performs with brekekekexkoaxkoax, LSJ and Leaf Chimes. He also publishes Monk Mink Pink Punk.
Live recordings and digital videos are available for release. Contact Josh Ronsen.