To Rococo Rot & I-Sound – ‘Music Is A Hungry Ghost ‘
(City Slang)
Released 30th April

The fourth album from German electronica trio, ‘To Rococo Rot’, sees New York’s musician and DJ ‘I-Sound’ join their production ensemble.  To those unfamiliar to ‘Rococo’, their music is art-form  rather than entertainment, and although electronically based, is more likely to be found in the haze of dimly lit, incense fuelled bedrooms or avant-garde loft parties than any form of night-club.  Often minimal, driven by the low hypnotic bass of Stefan Schneider, ‘...Hungry Ghost’ is progression that is only enhanced by I-Sound’s often more abrasive influence.  His own brooding juxtaposition of grey hip-hop with the moodily perverse creates an album that is at worst curious.  On the one hand it is ostensibly melancholic and subtly claustrophobic, yet also creates, through its attention to detail, a calming and knowing presence, looped upon the slightest of sounds, eschewing the necessity for pop-style memorability.  Which, lets face it, is just plastic conservatism these days anyway.

It seems this is also applicable to the inclusion of vocals.  Instead of relying upon the constraints of human articulation, ‘...Hungry Ghost’ may well be the delicate dialect of your iMac when nobody is around to hear its electric lament – a modern day abduction of the philosophical tree falling in the forest, unheeded by human ears.  Twinned with I-Sound’s minimalist turntablism are fellow collaborator Alexander Balanescu’s violins on the beautific ‘From Dream To Daylight’ and the cut-and-paste rhythms of ‘Along The Route’, creating a convergence of genres that should ensure this record a welcome by ‘Wall Of Sound’ or ‘Rephlex Records’ connoisseurs.  The arrangements are neither overpowering ambient drivel nor are they unshapely electronic masturbation, purely because they fall into the welcome trap of sounding both intelligent and expressive.  Neither ugly nor unwelcome, these are admirably pretentious offerings, which is almost expected, being as they are a product of this German art collective.  The gallery-exhibited Lippok brother artists were motivated to form Rococo over six years ago as an extension of their aesthetic representations.  It seems that you simply are not allowed to create pop-music if you never had any desire to be a pop-star.  Such a welcome change.

This is an album whose relevance is subtle, yet persuasive.  If art is conveyance of emotion, then this equates as an FX and groove motivated vernacular for the Technological Age’s comedown and its quiet devolution into Zion.  This record may not be essential, or even comprehensible, yet it is as thought provoking as it is distasteful of ‘lesser’ music.  White light always fades to black.  And when black fades, what else is there left, but the time-lapse image of a hungry ghost waiting to feed upon the unguarded soul?  For ‘Rococo’, music is nothing else.

Collen Chandler