To Rococo Rot were a mostly Berlin-based post-rock trio whose combination of electronic and acoustic elements placed them in close proximity to American groups such as Tortoise, Trans Am, and Rome, as well as European artists Circle, Stereolab, and Fridge.
Composed of bassist Stefan Schneider (also of similar-sounding Dusseldorf group Kreidler) and brothers Robert (guitar, electronics) and Ronald Lippok (drums, effects), To Rococo Rot were originally among a new breed of German electronic experimentalists working more often within the context of hauptkunst digital art and multimedia installation (prior to meeting Schneider, the Lippoks were behind a project of this sort called Ornament und Verbrechen). With TRR, however, the group described its work as an overt attempt to reconnect the art-school proclivities of musical experimentalism with the accessibility and "use-value" of pop, a goal clearly evident both in their name and their recorded output. The group's debut arrived in 1996 in the form of an untitled picture disc (subsequently reissued on CD by Kitty-Yo), with the more widely distributed Veiculo (released by U.K. indie City Slang) appearing the following year. Embraced by indie rock and electronica audiences alike, the group (like Tortoise, et al.) had already begun to play an important, transitional role in eroding some of the barriers that typically separated the two (particularly in the U.S.). Working long, hypnotic grooves augmented by bizarre, often subtly interwoven electronics and sample sequences, TRR also owed a clear debt to Krautrock groups such as Neu!, Can, and Amon Düül, among others, and in some respects reoriented the abstract deconstructions of man/machine those groups first sketched. In 1997, the group recorded an album's worth of material with producer David Moufang (Deep Space Network, Source Records). Following a move to Mute, the band released The Amateur View in 1999 and Music Is a Hungry Ghost, a collaboration with I-Sound, in 2001. Hotel Morgen (2004), and Speculation (2010), two of the group's most refined and creative releases, were issued on Domino. For their ninth album, the trio returned to City Slang. Instrument, featuring their first tracks with vocals courtesy of admirer Arto Lindsay, was released in 2014. ~ Sean Cooper, Rovi