But they know how to finesse electronic timbres and human melodies, neither over-intellectualizing nor over-sentimentalizing their songs. What makes Speculation so welcome is that it represents a tweak to their established M. Recording sessions for Speculation , some of which were held in the rural studio of Krautrock legends Faust, succeeded in capturing a more live sound and looser atmosphere. Previous tracks have always been well composed. New ones like "Working Against Time" add bright cosmic rhythms and a sense of immediacy to the mix, as if you can feel the air move in the room between the synths and guitars.
Not that this is a full about-face into acoustic music: indeed, the record opens with a stiff, machine-calibrated pulse, though its dull precision merely forms a baseline anchor against which "Away"'s instrumental elements -- a plodding bass vamp, restrained hi-hat drumming, spindly guitar -- begin to slowly, steadily stretch away.
For the most part, electronics serve primarily to add textural nuance to the live instrumentation that gives these cuts their musical meat; there are sometimes percussive or simple melodic loops present, but it's not usually clear nor particularly pertinent whether they were played or programmed.
Especially on the album's first half, there's a newfound emphasis on groove, with the group settling into and briefly exploring one relaxed, supple vibe after another -- the rippling, circular "Horses" and the buoyant, marimba-led "Forwardness" are particular standouts -- sometimes calling to mind the soft-edged indie-funk of Fujiya and Miyagi thanks largely to Stefan Schneider's nimble, economical bass playing , with a generous, organic give-and-take rendering the frequent comparisons to their alphabetical peers Tortoise more apt than ever.
After a short, disruptive burst of squelching and the sparser, more rigid paranoid disco of "Working Against Time," Speculation winds down with a handful of less direct, more abstract pieces more comparable to TRR's earlier work "Place It" in particular wouldn't have sounded out of place on The Amateur View , though here, too, there's a free-floating looseness, verging on clutter at times, that marks a clear break from their formerly pristine sonic and structural precision.
The aforementioned "Fridays," a ten-minute scuttle-and-drone fest, marks arguably the album's greatest departure, even though it may not lead anywhere in particular. As always with these guys, the journey is the destination and the process is the experience; as studied or sophisticated as the ideas behind some of these sounds might be, it's an utterly simple pleasure that they've continued to find new moods and modes to experience along with us.
To Rococo Rot formed in and were active until , releasing eight major albums and numerous collaborations, remixes, singles and EPs. They were known for their minimalist, musically engaging live show, and gave their final performance on December 17, via a live-streamed Boiler Room "In Stereo" session. While involved in the Cabaret Voltaire -inspired experimental outfit Ornament and Verbrechen, the Lippok brothers connected with then- Kreidler bassist Stefan Schneider to make a one-off record project intended to accompany a gallery exhibition.
Robert Lippok has described To Rococo Rot's approach as "a very simple way of organizing music" that focuses on just a few musical elements at a time.out of 5 stars To Rococo Rot - Speculation Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 March If the words "German electronica" conjure images of austere-looking men standing motionless behind synths in mono-coloured suits, or the "nihilist" baddies in The Big Lebowski, To Rococo Rot might help you abandon the stereotype.4/5(2).