Carrie & Lowell
Not a lot has changed in 18 years of To Rococo Rot records, and that's just fine.
The Berlin trio's eighth album follows four years after the excellent Speculation and slots nicely into the old pattern – light-touch electronica with the odd nod to classical and jazz, but rarely too tasteful. It's another record that feels cerebral but is never less than accessible.
Part of that's down to a legendary guest. On three tracks, Stefan Schneider and Robert and Ronald Lippok are joined by the soft, captivating tones of Arto Lindsay from 1970s New York no-wave trailblazers DNA. It's not the kind of collaboration that's going to make the 10 O'Clock News, but in these circles it's a perfect match-up. Lindsay brings humanity to the generally instrumental To Rococo Rot sound, smoothing the glitchy, jagged edges of Longest Escalator In The World and warming up the avant-garde folktronica of opener Many Descriptions. It's a similar alchemy to the one Neneh Cherry found with RocketNumberNine on this year's Blank Project.
Elsewhere, To Rococo Rot sneak into Radiohead territory with the mysterious sparse guitar and piano of Classify, and even go a little bit house on Baritone. Throughout, Instrument has an imperturbable calm about it, a sense of space that makes it a pleasure to experience, however outré the sound experiments get. That's what all those years bring.