To Rococo Rot – Instrument

Album Review by Gary Kaill | 09 Jul 2014
Album title: Instrument
Artist: To Rococo Rot
Label: City Slang
Release date: 21 Jul

The latest from these Berlin experimentalists belies its uncompromising title; for the first time in an eight album career, they’ve chosen to embellish their expansive electronica with live vocals. The trio of brothers Robert and Ronald Lippok, and Stefan Schneider, invited No Wave pioneer Arto Lindsay to sing on three tracks, a development down to happenstance (Lindsay is a friend and a fan) as much as design.

It’s a little wrong-footing at first – the likes of Classify and Many Descriptions seem initially too welcoming, a distinct remove from the band’s previously trenchant designs. Lindsay’s soft vocals feel at odds with the Instrument(als); an intrusion, almost. Because, for all of that commendable experimentation, the highlights here are those tracks (the nervy warp of Pro Model, the listless melancholy of Gitter) that reference earlier recordings, and demonstrate the trio’s ability to deftly create and manipulate space within their work.