To Rococo Rot - ABC123
Will Metcalfe 23/10/2007
To Rococo Rot is a palindrome; that is it is amounts to the same word both forwards and when reversed. A similar effect could be attributed to ABC123, an album which it is claimed was recorded out of a commission to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Helvetica type face. A little strange you might think.
Not surprisingly To Rococo Rot are 3 Germanic males with penchant for post-rock and things that go 'beep' in the night, this record is less post-rock and more post music. A swirling cavalcade of synths, drum machines and sounds akin to the BBC sound effects archive ABC 123 potently conjures the atmospherics used by Chris Morris to distort the perversions of his seminal series' Jam and it's predecessor Blue Jam. Clear as mud then.
I hate to sound lazy but these boys do have at least something in common with Richard D James and Tom Jenkins, but they are a little more removed from the arguably mainstream avant-garde stylings of such synthetic pioneers and to some extent lacking the depth.
Whilst Aphex Twin and Squarepusher seem to excel in 7 minute odysseys TRT tend to tease with shorter murmurs of electronic symphony. Clocking in at nineteen minutes fifty one seconds ABC123 is an easily digestible but somewhat insubstantive at the same time. Opener 'Freitag' whirls and judders into a slow building post instrumental soundscape, think a nanobot orchestra for a post nuclear Japan and you're somewhere on the
way. With the songs being so short (the longest is little more than 3 minutes) ABC123 is a refreshingly simple electronica album, however at the same time the record could safely claim the accolade (in a loose sense) of being great background music-exactly because one could argue that it is not so much music as a series of incoherent blips, beeps and buzzes.
ABC123 may not be the most revolutionary record of the year but it is also far from being the worst, like the kids at school in the middle of the class it tries hard but fails to leave a mark. You may enjoy its company initially but in the long term it will become little more than a face without a name. Nice effort then, shame about the mediocrity.