To Rococo Rot - Speculation
When a band goes to record in the studio belonging to Faust, you expect something pretty left-field and exciting to be produced, and for the most part that’s what palindromic-named To Rococo Rot have done on their new album. The German trio have come on leaps and bounds since their debut over ten years ago, and this album is as good a record as there could be of how far they’ve come since then. These guys run a tight ship, with their precise yet organically flowing instrumental compositions throwing up all kinds of surprises.
Thumping, hypnotic beats provide the backbone of each track, whether it’s live or from a loop, creating that trance-inducing state that all the good Kraut-rock bands can pull off, so it’s fitting they recorded in the very place Faust laid down their music. ‘Away’ is a flurry of different percussion, all restrained while the guitar melody creeps in without you even realising. ‘Seele’ begins with dramatic piano till a reverberating bass line takes over and nestles itself in the swirling synth-work, while the mid-way interlude ‘No Way To Prepare’ bombards the ears with an AFX-like electronic attack.
Rhythm is key throughout the record, with each track building layer upon layer of different sounds to move the listener in vastly different ways. The tribal sounding ‘Working against Time’ brings things to back to something vaguely straightforward to their strange world, and the mood is taken down a notch with the somewhat boring ‘Place It’. However, some lovely kosmiche sounds are introduced on ‘Bells’ and 10-minute closer ‘Friday’, which manages to be both utterly dull in parts and strangely serene in others, despite the presence of Faust’s Jochen Irmler on organ.
Speculation is a fascinating album to listen to at times, especially on tracks where each and every singular detail seems to come together in rhythmic, electronic bliss. But it does also lose sight at times, with some pieces not really having anything of interest to grasp onto. Despite this, Speculation will do nothing to ruin To Rococo Rot’s reputation of being truly forward thinking artists.