To Rococo Rot – Instrument

Several years ago I bought a double CD of Electronic music, I can’t remember what it was called, it’s in a drawer somewhere at home, but it was a sort of origins compilation and on it was a track named ‘Cars’ by To Rococo Rot that I really liked, but I never explored any further. When I saw their last album (2014) in the record store for £8.00 it seemed to me that I had little choice but to buy it, so I did and I don’t regret it at all. Although I’ve only listened to the vinyl copy once, I have been listening to the album via Apple Music, probably 7 or 8 times by now. Carrying my turntable, amp and speakers around was difficult enough, then I had to find somewhere to plug it in, so my phone has to suffice when I’m out and about. 

I’ve no idea why it was so cheap but, while it is quite different to ‘Cars’, which was around in 1999, it’s still very much the sort of thing that I like.

WIKI: To Rococo Rot is a Berlin-based trio who combine electronic and acoustic elements to create instrumental post-rock and electronic music. The group is composed of bass guitarist Stefan Schneider (ex-member of Düsseldorf-based group, Kreidler) and brothers Robert (guitar, electronics) and Ronald Lippok (drums, effects). Ronald Lippok has also gained praise for his work in Tarwater. The band’s name is a palindrome, as it can be spelled the same both forwards and backwards.

The group’s first album, To Rococo Rot, was released in 1996 in the form of an untitled picture disc. It was subsequently reissued on CD by Kitty Yo. The more widely distributed Veiculo, released by the UK independent label City Slang, appeared the following year. In 1997, the group recorded an to-rococo-rot-many-descriptions-instrumentalbum’s worth of material with the producer David Moufang. Following a move to Mute Records, the band released The Amateur View in 1999 and Music Is a Hungry Ghost in 2001, followed by the critically acclaimed Hotel Morgen in 2004. Speculation was released in March 2010, and their latest full-length album, Instrument, was released in July 2014.

I’d had ‘Cars’ on a few playlists so had heard it often but it’s been quite a while and ‘Instrument’has a much more polished feel about it, but is still quite experimental, at times seemingly created by randomly generating notes, although I am making this comparison based on one song vs an entire album.

It does have a feel of what Kosmische Musik (Krautrock) might have developed into, or perhaps just elements of that music and that is a positive as I’m rather fond of Kosmische Musik. It reminds me a little of ‘Fujiya & Miyagi’ at times, but a little more downtempo, less in your face. There are certainly passages where I can hear strong links to Can, which is also no bad thing. I will probably have to do a little more back catalogue investigating as I liked this album a lot.

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