Berlin experimentalists To Rococo Rot have just recently issued their eighth studio LP, ‘Instrument’, through City Slang. A study of delicate minimalism, buzzing electronics and driving rhythms, it’s a record that long-term fans will likely have seen coming, but that doesn’t make it any the less engrossing for newcomers to the band. (Here is our review.)

To mark the album’s release, we asked brothers Ronald and Robert Lippok and bandmate Stefan Schneider to put together a more interesting-than-usual Playlist feature, focusing on the key musicians to have defined German music since reunification in 1990. And, they did. So, enjoy, right after To Rococo Rot’s own video for ‘Classify’, taken from ‘Instrument’.

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Bleibeil  

Let’s get sentimental. Berlin was so nice and grey in 1990. Shoot it with Supercolor film, and that wouldn’t have made much difference. The only thing I like about the GDR was the look. Somehow it was unreal, but at the same time you got always reminded of the Second World war, with bullet holes everywhere, and that Berlin was the epicenter and the source of it all.

Bleibeil was formed out of members of our older band Ornament und Verbrechen, an East German experimental underground combo. Later, Bo Kondren founded Calyx Mastering and Bernd Jestram worked as Tarwater with my brother Ronald. I don’t know how, but somehow Bo got the money to buy an Emax Sampler, which was incredibly expensive, esspecially for a bunch of East Germans. 

In 1988 we started a series of acid house concerts, building the live set out of the 2MB RAM that the Emax had. Ah, it was fun. 

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Kreidler – ‘Glashütte Gerresheim’ / ‘Flames’

In 1995, the Düsseldorf-based band Kreidler was invited to play at Mutzek, a former butcher’s shop turned into some sort of strange saloon. Later, this place became the famous Panasonic.

I was the DJ at that night. It was fascinating to see how Kreidler merged electronic, bass and live drumming. Stefan was playing the bass and after the show we started talking. I invited him to Berlin for an undefined project, which later became To Rococo Rot. I still like the sound of Kreidler, and just bought they recorded at Rough Trade, London after we played there. 

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Rhythm & Sound w/ Tikiman – ‘Never Tell You’

In 1996 I was sitting in a taxi, just passing Alexanderplatz, when I heard this track for the first time. I wanted the music and the taxi ride to last forever. 

I started to explore the music of Moritz von Oswald and the Hard Wax shop, and I’ve still got many of their records. And, of course, I will never sell my Rhythm & Sound 10”s. 

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Peaches – ‘F*ck The Pain Away’

Starting a revolution with one of the worst musical instruments ever built? I’m talking about Roland’s late-1990s attempt to get into the techno market, the MC-303. 

And Peaches had only this machine! This mix of punk and rough electric sounds was unique at that time, in 2000. While clubs like Berlin Tokyo were entering the scene, artists like Peaches and Jeans Team became famous. I had the strong feeling that a new decade was just starting to begin.

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errorsmith – ‘in a sweat’ (live version)

The first track I heard by errorsmith was a remix for the German band Surrugat, in 1995. I love everything errorsmith does. Even when it’s killing me while listing. Sometimes it’s getting very radical, and when he plays live you think you are jumping into an eternal looping, electronic hell. 

There is a lot humour in this, and also in (the man behind errorsmith) Erik Wiegand’s other project, MMM, even though you might not hear this in the first second. Besides making great music, Erik is friend of the Hard Wax gang and worked for Native Instruments. He developed a software synthesizer called Razor and it’s one of the few virtual instruments I really, really like, and that I use (in nearly every track).

– – –

Ester Brinkmann – ‘Maschine’

Maybe my favourite project from everything in the Cologne techno scene, based around Kompakt. In the early- to mid-1990s, some club nights tried to play just one beat. How long can you enjoy a night out with just one drum sequence running? Quite a long time in those days. 

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Vert – ‘Drawers Of Water’

Once there was a big music fair called Popkomm in Cologne. We went every year, performing or just hanging out with friends at Hallmackenreuther, the place to be.

Close by was one of Germany’s best record stores, a-Musik. It was also the home base for many projects, like Pluramon, and Mouse On Mars. Vert is the alias of Adam Butler, and is a good example of the sound world of a-Musik at that time. Glitchy, brittle, beautiful.

– – –

Arovane – ‘Theme’

This is the best release on the Manchester- and Berlin-based label, CCO (City Centre Offices). The whole album, ‘Tides’, is great. Around 2000, many electronic projects worked on epic melodies. It was the time of Isan and Boards Of Canada, for example. CCO was one of the leading labels for that kind of music, releasing ground-breaking records by Dub Tractor, Ulrich Schnauss and I’m Not A Gun.

– – –

Schloss Mirabell – ‘Little Cygnet’

Schloss Mirabell is a good example of a new breed of improvised music in Berlin. She combines acoustic, in her case cello, and electronic elements with no fear of jumping over the genre borders.

The scene is growing and there are many new venues and cafe playing this stuff. Mirabell’s music is hard to catch – sometimes beat driven, sometimes completely abstract with no conventional way of developing. I’m always happy when there is a new track popping up on SoundCloud. She’s always surprising. 

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Deichkind – ‘Remmidemmi’, live at Melt 2006

And now, something completely different. Deichkind started as a German hip-hop band. German hip-hop, I know… It’s a contradiction. But this band is from Hamburg, and the people there know how to party in a very profound way, and they are making the best, most funny and silly rhymes. The music is very simple and rough. 

Deichkind became some sort of hybrid techno monster. I was at a wedding party two years ago and everybody from the 80-year-old grandma to three-year-old kids were dancing to this tune. So nice. 

– – –

Words: Robert Lippok
Colour photo: Jens Oellermann

To Rococo Rot’s ‘Instrument’ is out now and streaming in full here. Find the band online here

Related: more Playlist features

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The four eyed amongst us know the pains associated with selecting a new pair of glasses, heck, even those whose only claim to face furniture is an annual two week date with a pair of sunnies knows. Easier said than done (at best), the process can be lengthy and once you’ve found the pair that were made for you, often expensive.

Which is where Ace & Tate comes in. Founded a year ago in Amsterdam, the label designs quality frames at a fair price, forgoing several middlemen in the process.

The ‘Ace & Tate Way’, according to their website, employs a designer and a manufacturer you see, while traditionally brands add to this list a license holder and a retailer, which is where all those extra 0’s come in.

On top of this, for every pair they sell the Dutch group donates a second pair to the vision charity, Sightsavers; a pretty great thing for all involved we’re sure you’ll agree.

For their latest offering, the Graduates Collection, A&T present a selection of transparent and opaque lenses (for them summer wearers), while frames – each made of cellulose acetate – come in shades of tortoiseshell, black and apricot, going by names such as Ellis, Avery and Monty.

www.aceandtate.com

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The drummer in Radiohead, Philip Selway's soft, patient, unassuming manner makes him an unlikely solo star.

Yet debut album 'Familial' was a delight. Sparking a handful of warm, inviting live shows, Selway proved that sometimes the slow, patient route is the most effective.

Returning to the studio, the songwriter began sketching out a follow up last year. Due to be released via Bella Union, new album 'Weatherhouse' is the result.

Out in October, new cut 'Coming Up For Air' has arrived online. There's a slight claustrophobia in the sound, a lingering intensity which is matched to Selway's urgent, pained vocal.

Shot by Spanish collective NYSU it matches classic 60s style shots to dream sequences to craft something David Lynch would be proud of.

"Good videos can make you rethink the song that you've written" explains Philip Selway. "They also shine a light on what makes the track tick. NYSU have made a visually rich and intriguing piece for 'Coming Up For Air' which stands up in its own right, yet feels in tune with the track."

Check it out now.

'Weatherhouse' is due to be released on October 6th.

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Gradually evolving from what was essentially Fin Greenall’s solo project into a fully fledged band, the past two years have witnessed a sea change in Fink’s fortunes.

2011 track ‘Warm Shadow’ was featured on AMC’s television adaptation of The Walking Dead, sparking a stateside frenzy which culminated with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon paying the group the ultimate homage by recording his own version.

Released following an amicable departure from previous label Ninja Tune, ‘Hard Believer’ finds Fink in their healthiest – and most independent – position yet. The title track opens the selection, a soothing delta blues stomp that finds Greenall meditating on a work song.

‘Green And The Blue’ has a pastoral edge, while ‘Pilgrim’ and ‘Two Days Later’ gracefully up the tempo alongside introducing flecks of the electronica that peppered Greenall’s youth.

A former DJ, each album from Fink is built more around retaining a mood than definitive, finely tuned material. As such, many songs on ‘Hard Believer’ stretch out beyond the five-minute mark – although lengthier moments such as ‘Pilgrim’ and ‘Shakespeare’ could arguably do with a trim.

Ultimately, ‘Hard Believer’ is a warm, inviting record. While at times lacking in lyrical insight, Fink’s ability to maintain an atmosphere, to build up gentle, soothing bubbles of sound, is largely unmatched.

6/10

Words: Robin Murray

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– – –

‘Hard Believer’ was previously awarded 3/10 in Clash magazine issue 96. The in-house editorial team felt, though, that this review was misrepresentative of the album, hence this new assessment.

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Listen to ‘Hard Believer’ in full via Deezer, below…

Pop music is all about repetition.

From the glories of the 12 bar blues to Detroit techno, pop is essentially about taking one idea and making it work in about a thousand different ways.

Based in Berlin, experimental three piece Camera have a defiantly minimalist approach to making music. Short musical phrases extended out towards eternity, the band match tight percussive discipline towards elements borrowed from angular post-punk, free jazz and more.

New album 'Remember I Was Carbon Dioxide' is set to arrive shortly, with Camera debuting fresh material on Clash. 'Roehre' opens with tribal percussion, before giving way to a throbbing, fizzing bass line.

The steady pulse remains throughout, before Camera introduce screeching, screaming, ground-breaking sounds.

Check it out now.

Camera release 'Remember I Was Carbon Dioxide' on September 29th via Bureau B.

From The Outside (4:40)
Parhelion (7:03)
Synhcron (4:24)
Roehre (4:09)
4PM (1:42)
Haeata (5:08)
Ozymandias (6:12)
To The Inside (4:41)
2AM (1:40)
Trophaee (5:59)
Vortices (5:57)
Hallraum (3:47)

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New Jersey's Real Estate have always been a good times band.

Sure, their songwriting – fey, multi-faceted, imaginative – has hidden depths, but their gorgeous harmonies, their melting guitar lines are almost uniquely uplifting.

New album 'Atlas' emerged earlier this year, with Clash reviewer Benji Taylor arguing that the tracks comprise "gorgeously dreamy arrangements, laden with nostalgia and longing. While the production is crisper than on previous albums, the ambience is still one of wistful contemplation."

Just right for summer then. Album highlight 'Had To Hear' will be released as a standalone single on August 25th. Pressed on special limited-edition orange-colored vinyl, the single comes equipped with a newly recorded cover of The Nerves' 'Paper Dolls'.

Watch the Super-8 inspired video for 'Had To Hear' below.

Real Estate are set to pair up with Alvvays this Autumn for a pretty darn special UK tour:

October
20 Cambridge Junction 2
21 Liverpool Kazimier
22 Dublin O2 Academy
24 Birmingham The Institute
25 Leeds Brudenell Social Club
26 Newcastle Riverside
28 Brighton Komedia
29 London Shepherds Bush Empire

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Names and faces are not – and Clash would suggest, should never – be the basis on which to form a label, however if you get a few influential ones sampling your garms, well that ain’t no bad thing.

With ladies like Susie Bubble, Foxes and Sharmadean Reid for fans then, Diana Auria’s label is a unique thing on multiple levels: ethical fashion that people genuinely gloat about. Edun aside – which co-incidentally has yet to clog up our Insta feeds – we can’t think of all that many others.

Aware of the stigma attached to, essentially, not wanting to disrupt the planet, Diana tells Clash, “With Auria, we want to prove that you can make something ethical whilst being innovative and fashion forward (and without using the words 'hemp’ or 'organic'). I want women to buy my swimwear because they like how it looks, feels, fits,” she says, offering that, “Being sustainable is an added extra bonus.”

However it’s not an issue she takes lightly, stating: “Ethical practices should be important to every member of the fashion industry. We all have a responsibility to control how much and know what we consume. The more transparency brands can offer in their sourcing, manufacturing, and design processes, the better.”

Launched in 2013 following four years on the Contour BA course at the London College of Fashion (a degree she reckons most people ‘don’t even know about’), and a project with Speedo involving inflatable cups, Auria today is the work of Diana and her business partner, the artist Margot Bowman.

One time roomies, Bowman proved the ‘perfect person’ to realise Auria’s vision, and hence the two have collaborated ever since. The most recent of which sees them interpret holidays, as the designer lets on: “The concept of our SS14 collection stemmed from airmail envelopes and old school postcards. It is called  'Wish You Were Here’, and the idea was that you could be on holiday and be the airmail letter or postcard, quite literally!”

Confessing her favourite stroke to be doggy paddle and ultimate pool the Marina Bay Sands Infinity pool in Singapore – “It is located 57 stories above ground and you feel like you are going to fall off the edge of the building!” – closer to home Auria last week launched a pop-up shop alongside nostalgia inspiring label, Tara Starlet.

Introduced by a mutual friend, Tara (real name Scott) and Diana, realised they both made their clothes in England (Auria’s from discarded fishing nets), and they both wanted to do a summer shop, and hey presto, the latter happened.

Housed at 36 Marshall Street (around the corner from Liberty, parallel to Carnaby Street), the temporary space’s moral high ground is further raised by its association with Integrate Bristol. “They are a great charity that works towards equality and integration,” we’re told, “they are doing a national campaign at the moment to end female genital mutilation and promote gender equality.”

On a somewhat lighter note, the store realises a dream for Diana, as she lets on, “I love meeting the customers and getting all the feedback. Also, because I have a swimwear brand it is really good for people to be able to come in and try things on. With the whole internet shopping culture it is hard to buy swimwear as you have to know how it fits your body.”

When she’s not doing her best Thelma Speirs impression (see here), Diana is currently prepping the label’s SS15 campaign, ready to present in the Esthetica showrooms at London Fashion Week. “We also have a really exciting collaboration that will be out soon!” she continues, unfortunately resisting any further spills.

Finishing up with a clarification of the Auria girl (read: a real girl who doesn’t take herself too seriously; “for future babes who know their worth”), we conclude that the aforementioned fan base fit the bill and beyond.

Until 17th August.

Words: Zoe Whitfield

auria-london.com

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The concept of live electronic music has always been a troubling beast.

After all, given the essentially structured, studio-based nature of the medium how is it possible to flex, to evolve for different audiences on a nightly basis?

Well, The Acid seem to manage it. A trio – Adam Freeland, Ry X and Steve Nalepa – the three piece released their debut album 'Liminal' earlier this year.

With warm reviews still coming in, the three piece have stuck together a full UK tour for September. Expect free-flowing electronics, with Ry X promising total freedom: "It’s like painting before you know what you are painting. You’re stuck in the process before you’ve got an idea of what you’re making. The beauty of that is complete freedom."

Opening with a set at Wales' Festival No. 6, the trio then hit Manchester for a show at the Deaf Institute. The Acid will then perform at London's Oval Space venue, before hitting Brighton on September 11th for a show at the Haunt.

Tickets are on sale now.

The Acid have confirmed the following shows:

September
6 Portmeirion Festival No.6
8 Manchester Deaf Institute
10 London Oval Space
11 Brighton The Haunt

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Famed for its fish, fog and cable cars, San Francisco is also home to Charles McCloud Duff AKA Matrixxman, our guest vinyl selector for this edition of Electric Selection. The deejay and producer, who in the past has tussled with muscular Chicago basslines and futuristic tech, is gearing up to release an EP that he’s described as “a Jungian-like approach expounding upon and unifying seemingly disparate archetypes of deep house and techno”.

We decided to put the Bay Area wordsmith’s pen to the test by giving some love to six of his top recent slabs of wax.

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HUERCO S
‘AVERDIGRIS READER’
(PROIBITO)

“Where do I even start? The textures and emotions conveyed on this 12” are off the chain. ‘Emotional austere bangers’ would be my preferred category for this record. My personal favourite is ‘Track 3’ which starts off with a slightly menacing yet soothing sustained singular note, modulating in and out of tune. Then those chords come in. Jesus. This is that real futuristic dark-ass deepness right here. Keep doing what you are doing homie, because this is some cold shit you are making.”

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DEETROIT
‘CONSPIRACY EP’
(UNKNOWN DEETROIT) 

“Stripped back, raw, minimal yet soulful house with perfect amount of grit. Joints like ‘U Feel It’ demonstrate an impeccable ability to blend multiple Roland drum machines seamlessly. Just when you think it can’t get any better the vocals slide in and it’s pure house perfection. Whoever the hell this is, they’re totally killing it. Do yourself a favour and pick up anything you see with ‘Deetroit’ on it next time you are in a record store.”

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FRED P/KAI ALCE
‘FINALE SESSIONS SELECT VOL 1’
(FINALE SESSIONS SELECT)

“Fred P is just so nasty. I f*cks with this dude, hard body. The title joint ‘Ram’ is a subtle number exercising precision and restraint. The driving chords pan gently to and fro, providing an enchanting yet transcendental ambiance for the hypnotic steady groove. Obscured and looming in the distance, ethereal vocals slowly zoom in and out of focus. This shit is beautiful. If you played this to people on psychedelics it might engender a mass catharsis on the dancefloor.”

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VIN SOL
‘WESTERN WAYS EP’
(SOO WAVEY)

“Much to the chagrin of your readers, I find myself here plugging a record that I am affiliated with – albeit with just a feature on one track. Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel proud to have this coming out on our label. Vin Sol takes you on a journey here that really encapsulates our ethos at Soo Wavey. While ‘Cookies’ offers more straight forward and up front club vibes, the real gem to me here is ‘Pyramids’ as it sounds like some long lost Larry Heard track from the 1980s. Wow.”

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GENE HUNT
‘LIVING IN A ROOM EP’
(HARDMOON)

“For all of you alt-bro violators that don't know yet, Gene Hunt was around since back in the Music Box days doing the damn thing as a prodigy of Ron Hardy. You can’t front on the truth. Listen to those whistles while he beats up the box on GH-326. Fierce as hell jacking vibes that would potentially scare your neighbour’s kids. I’m loving it.” 

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DJ SLUGO
‘LIVIN’ IN THE GHETTO’
(GHETTO HOUSE CLASSICS)
(Reissue of the 1995 Dance Mania original, ‘Livin’ That Ghetto Life’)

“Minimal utilitarian hood club workouts. Tracks like ‘Work It’ prove that you really can't go wrong with just a proper TR-808 beat and a catchy vocal sample. As a producer who tries to abstain from overproducing tracks, I naturally have a penchant for those whose works employ a Zen-like restraint in their arrangements. Upon giving this 12” another listen, I am fairly certain Slugo did not use even one single synth on this vinyl. Just drums and samples. Genius!”

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Matrixxman online.

Related: more Electric Selection 12” round-ups

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When Swans tour this year, the titanic American collective will be joined by New York noise artist Pharmakon – yet it could all have been tragically different.

Releasing her debut album, Margaret Chardiet arranged her first European tour. Instead, the composer was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery which resulted in losing an organ.

Bedridden for three weeks, the traumatic experience feeds into new album 'Bestial Burden'. An uncompromising return, the material is harrowing, deeply personal but ultimately cathartic and oddly uplifting.

Here's an introductory quote:

"After seeing internal photographs taken during the surgery, I became hyperaware of the complex network of systems just beneath the skin, any of which were liable to fail or falter at any time. It all happened so fast and unexpectedly that my mind took a while to catch up to the reality of my recovery. I felt a widening divide between my physical and mental self. It was as though my body had betrayed me, acting as a separate entity from my consciousness. I thought of my corporeal body anthropomorphically, with a will or intent of its own, outside of my will's control, and seeking to sabotage. I began to explore the idea of the conscious mind as a stranger inside an autonomous vessel, and the tension that exists between these two versions of the self."

Check out a teaser below.

'Bestial Burden' will be released on October 13th.

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