To Rococo Rot

Instrument

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As Robert and Ronald Lippok and Stefan Schneider were recording material for Instrument, the first To Rococo Rot album in four years, the musicians felt that some of it was in need of a lead voice. They sought admirer Arto Lindsay, who is present on three of these ten songs -- the group's first songs with vocals. Lindsay's appearances are neatly distributed on the first, fourth, and last (of ten) cuts. It's hard to imagine a more appropriate vocal complement to the trio's softly ebbing and flowing combinations of analog and digital sounds, as heard in the related "Many Descriptions" and "Classify," two of the album's most appealing moments. On the closing "Longest Escalator in the World," the tone is drastically different. There's a hint of creeping menace -- it's certainly one of the trio's darkest productions yet -- and Lindsay responds in kind with a dreamier contribution of projections that are alternately drawn-out and jab-like. After eight albums that synthesize post-rock, home-listening electronica, and dub, the trio otherwise aren't up for much of a shakeup in their approach. None of the remaining seven instrumentals is novel, but they're all enjoyable on some level, cunningly shaped as ever. Two of the best are "Besides" and "Baritone," distinct and deeply rhythmic highlights with instantly memorable melodic basslines.

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