# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

To Rococo Rot - Speculation

  by Chris O'Toole

published: 31 / 3 / 2010

To Rococo Rot - Speculation
Label: Domino Records
Format: CD


Accessible electronica on eighth album from experimental and continously evolving Dusseldorf-based trio To Rococo Rot

The term Berlin-based electronica can conjure up a host of misleading associations; tiny glitches of noise, scattered over tracks varying in length from mere moments to seemingly endless wandering days of gurgling, fizzing experimentation. But with To Rococo Rot such assumptions are misleading; with 'Speculation' offering an immediate, accessible and polite version of computerised music from Mitteleuropa. Here – on their eighth studio album - To Rococo Rot refine their basic pallet of sounds, sacrificing some of their more experimental tendencies to focus on what they do best; with the ten tracks seeing the core trio present their hypnotic, precise collage of beats, crackles and gently pulsating basslines. Closer to Tortoise or Boards of Canada than forerunners Kraftwerk, Neu! or Faust, To Rococo Rot’s sound is less aggressively electronic than these pioneers and consequently acquires more bucolic hue. It is warmer and even more alive; an organic façade grafted onto the metallic apparatus of earlier decades. Partly recorded as live at Faust’s studio in Scheer, southern Germany, opener 'Away' offers a mission statement. Stefan Schneider’s (an ex-member of Düsseldorf-based group Kreidler) bassline rumbles at the heart of the track, dextrous but not extravagant. To this brothers Robert (computer, sequencer) and Ronald Lippok (drums, claps, piano and effects) add their flourishes, fleshing out an intricate web of interlocking circles. The narratives which characterised the work of their forerunners have also been replaced, with To Rococo Rot’s cyclical tracks spiralling and growing outward over the duration. 'Seele' is a case in point, offering electronic flourishes in countless directions, but retuning time and again to a three note piano refrain. While Kraftwerk were willing to take listeners on a virtual journey with 'Autobahn', some pieces on 'Speculation' are as Palandromic as the groups’ name – effortlessly spinning ever onwards. One exception is the close to ten-minute final piece 'Friday', which features an organ cameo from Faust’s Hans Joachim Irmler. Here listeners are offered a chance to explore the environment at their leisure, rather than just taking in the glimpses offered on some of the earlier tracks. Perhaps surprisingly, 'Speculation' also thrives with additional volume. It might be tempting to place To Rococo Rot in the background – high quality wallpaper adorning a social situation – but with volume, new textures emerge, rewarding listeners for their interest. Speculation is not inconsequential filler – in the manner of say Zero 7, Lemon Jelly or Groove Armada - shimmering across the sparkling oceans before submerging beneath the waves, to be immediately forgotten. It bubbles, froths and gurgles – alive with ideas. For a group now pushing toward their second decade, this is testament indeed to their restless creativity. While the sound they initially helped to define may have mutated through IDM and latterly minimal techno, To Rococo Rot are still pushing forward, challenging preconceptions and searching for something new.

Track Listing:-
1 Away
2 Seele
3 Horses
4 Forwardness
5 No Way To Prepare
6 Working Against Time
7 Place It
8 Ship
9 Bells
10 Fridays

Label Links:-

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit

digital downloads


ABC123 (2007)
Soft-edged, but innovative new mini album from experimental German trio To Rococo Rot which takes its inspiration from the 50th anniversary of the Helvetica typing and computer font
Hotel Morgen (2004)

most viewed articles

most viewed reviews

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors