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The Sydney Morning Herald


Author: Bernard Zuel
Date: 15/05/2010
Words: 325
Source: SMH
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: Spectrum
Page: 18





From Here to There



To Rococo Rot make what might be called post-rock for its apparent mathematical base, circular construction, echoes of Steve Reich and Gavin Bryars and even their palindromic name. But in the main, these Germans have done their fascinating and enjoyable thing via electronic means, mixing rhythm and repetition with digital elements. More post, less rock.

There has been a change in procedure, though. On 2004's Hotel Morgen, brothers Robert and Ronald Lippok and Stefan Schneider were enclosed, making slightly distant, though always precise, shapes. It was still engaging and sparkling but compared with the warmth of Speculation, Hotel Morgen now feels mechanistic.

On their seventh album the trio are almost loose, or at least as loose as three Berliners who don't do gags can be. Certainly the final track, the 11-minute-long Fridays, backs into creepiness and the ominous with what seems like delayed resolution until you get past 10 minutes and realise there is not to be a resolution, only atmosphere. But there are marimbas dancing across Forwardness, adding what's almost a sun-warmed steel drum tone over an attractive bassline.

Speculation is an attractive album that doesn't feel determined, like the result of man at the machine, not the other way around.

San Franciscan Ben Swire has a similar pallet of low-impact beats and warm keyboard tones though he tends towards relaxed, sometimes lightly skittish, rhythms rather than anything busy.

His moods are more autumnal: enclosed by early darkening skies and the nip of the wind on your face. In this the programmed elements are balanced by nudging basslines (in the opening track, Propel), touches of acoustic guitar (And There) and a strong sense of emotion behind the constructions. There may even be a hint of John Fahey in the melodies.

Apart from all that, though, From Here to There is a gorgeous listen.


Cluster, Sowiesoso; Aaron Martin, Almond

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