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The Amateur View

It's like being prodded gently out of the dreamstate....

The Amateur View

8 / 10 It's like being prodded gently out of the dreamstate. [a]To Rococo Rot[/a] are, essentially, the great leap forward for ambient music, where the pristine textures and micro-melodies of Warp's early-'90s 'Artificial Intelligence' series are invested with a chattering, charged sentience. Clicks and glitches interlock into complex and mesmerising beat patterns, smudged orchestral samples ebb in and out of the mix, sharp bursts of white noise occasionally act as punctuation marks. Abstract electronic music gradually fades into focus.

'The Amateur View' is Berlin/D|sseldorf trio [a]To Rococo Rot[/a]'s third album proper, much lusher and more accessible than their previous, minimalist collections. In it, you can see the stronger influence of the members' other bands: the fidgety electro and momentous bass pulse of Kreidler (who Stefan Schneider has just left); and the dark, cinematic intricacy of Ronald Lippok's Tarwater. There is the odd trace, too, on 'Cars', of the proto-techno of '70s German pioneers Cluster.

But beyond the theory and reference, 'The Amateur View' stands as an incredibly warm and involving record. There's a prevailing mood of optimism underpinning these tunes, one that's somehow much more organic in feel to the 'Brave New World' retro-futurism so often associated with this kind of music. For anyone [I]still [/I]labouring under the misapprehension that electronica's all about mathematics over emotion, then, there's no better place to start seeing the real picture.

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