Been three years since we last heard new music from one of our longtime favorite post-rock/armchair electronica outfits, the Berlin-Dusseldorf trio to rococo rot (palindrome). A bunch of releases into a solid catalogue, tor ococor ot (backwards that time) have run this time with that German ingenuity, stripping away their usual live rhythm section/analog synth set up, opting to compose the entire abc 1,2,3 LP on a Yamaha vss30. The album title’s telling of the revamped approach, too; bassist Stefan Schneider wanted to explore the “possibility of doing something ‘in an alphabetical sense.’ He explains:
I was curious to see how the music would come out if you do something that is not made with a musical logic. I knew that John Cage once did a piece where a chessboard was mechanically connected to four individual sound sources. The chessplayers were generating the sounds randomly by moving the figures from one field to the other. That was what I was thinking of.’
So what does that mean for you and us? A very out there, mathematically minded, glitchy effort. Obtuse with first listens, but repeats are heavily rewarded; we know jack about computers aside from how to fire up Movable Type, but a sort of hypnotic logic reveals itself through the course of abc 1,2,3, oddly musical when at first glance, maybe it shouldn’t be. Unrelated patches of sound float in and out, slowly hammering out a weird sort of sonic fabric. Very, very cool. So as not to drive you too far away on first listen, here’s the most beat-oriented track they have. But for a better feel of the LP, ignore the pulse and key in on the madness floating above it.
To Rococo Rot – “lvx 4″ (MP3)
Out in the UK now. No plans at present for a US release, but you can (and should) get it at Domino. Recommended.