Rope Hotel (Geist CD/LP 002 – 1998)

“… this is some of the most amazing, beautiful and deep music I’ve ever heard in my life. I can’t put into words the atmosphere and mood this album puts out. it feels like music you’d hear in a beautiful, surreal, calm dream… and then you’d wake up unable to explain it.” Christopher_Jion on discogs.com

“There´s no other way: Rope must be doing it like that – they prefer to take the risk to even get to the point where it all breaks into pieces again. Rope´s heaven could be called “acoustic instruments”, but then they don´t hesitate to send the whole into the hell of the binary bubble machine. As long as it stays complete, authentic and soulful.” (Austin Chronicle, TX, 3/98)

“Berlin is not known for its thrilling, high-quality rock, having produced loads of derivative, mediocre bands in recent years. But Rope are different: the quartet fuse jazz, folk blues, trip hop and electronics into a seamless whole, making for some of the subtlest, most engaging music anywhere. (Time Out, UK, 1/98)

“Free, so to speak.” (SPEX, Hamburg, 4/98)

“This album somehow keeps finding its way into your CD player and you`re not exactly sure how” (DE:Bug…, Berlin, 4/98)

“Electronica with a human heart.” (the WIRE, 4/98)

de:bug 07/1998 costa ****

“‘Rope Hotel’ ist, nach seiner eigenen 3 CD Kompilation, der zweite Release des neuen Alec Empires Labels ‘Geist’. Schon deswegen sollte sie so etwas wie Signal Charakter haben. Und sicherlich hat sie es. ‘Rope’ ist eine Berliner Gruppe, die so etwas wie interessantes ‘Illbient’ praktiziert. Das heißt: akustische Instrumente, dub-beeinflußte Tempos und Produktionsweise, allerlei Klangquellen gemixt, lange Ausflüge in der Improvisation… Sehr gut gemacht und auch sehr europäisch, wenn man an Kreidler oder Air denkt. Diese ist eine dieser CD’s die man immer wieder in dem CD Player findet, ohne ganz genau zu wissen wie sie dort hingelangt ist. Man hört sie und man kann ohne große Anstrengungen seine etwas intellektuelle Mellowness genießen. Später wird es komplizierter… Ja, es hat Tiefe… Ob Geist eine Alternative zu Mille Plateaux bildet oder seine eigene Wege begeht, bleibt noch eine offene Frage. Vielleicht wird die angekündigte CD von Like A Tim wird es klären.

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It’s no fun to compute (Geist CD/LP 007 – 1999UK/2000US)

Antron S. Meister on freq.org.co.uk

“Another one of the seeming legion of classically-trained musicians who got fed up and went off in search of the joys of electronic noise and fragmented soundscapes, Rope’s Berlin-based originator Jayrope has assembled a selection of live studio recordings made with his core collaborators over a year or so, and thoroughly dismantled them until they almost groan with the strain. It’s No Fun To Compute opens with a burst of cut ups where vocal lines, percussion, electronics, samples and who knows what are skipped around with over a pulsing bass tone, and continues from there on in to bounce tracks off each other and through a varispeed bundle of effects; then it really starts to get peculiar…

Rattly percussion and some kind of Funk sensibility make for a stop-start album with an organic feel, song structures struggling among the frantic loops and slips of tape rewinds; it’s sometimes Jazz maybe, but not as usually expected, somewhat in the way that Laika play the Blues – sideways, technologically, awakwardly, but taken to the nth degree of wobblyness. Or Funk with hiccups, hyperspeed Lo-Fi Techno style. What this is all attempting to describe is the miamsic feeling the music evokes, as a regurgitated riff becomes washed out into a thudding beat which evolves into swarming flanger trails. An album of head-messing reliance on the reverb unit and mixed as if to try every combination of slider and punch-out on the desk, It’s No Fun… (or INF2C as Rope shorten the title) sometimes slaps the face of Electronica quite rudely before going off into its own peculiar sung tangents. These include the affecting query “If we stood by the river/…Would you push me in” on “If”, which resembles the sinister Pop Throbbing Gristle explored on Twenty Jazz Funk Greats, or the weird burbling tale “Dog In Southern New Mexico” where Jayrope’s wandering spoken vocals about seeing horses die in the sun and sand complement a shifting rhythm section and some dissonant percussion. Very odd.

There is some humour and melody among the single-minded eccentricity; “You’re Soooo Lame” mixes up a synthesized vocal with an ultra-minimal thud-beat until it keels over into a miniature curve of effects, and “Machine AC” is nearly acoustic, apart from some treated vocals, in a vaguely Country kind of way, harmonica and all. The frenetic start contrasts with more spasmodically mellow pieces like “Rope Theme” or “Desert Dream” which lead the record gradually towards a twitchy, downbeat conclusion of spluttering electronic noises and birdsong. Rope seem to have taken every kind of motif they find attractive, and bashed them around into whatever works, and largely it comes off well. Unsettling at times, It’s No Fun To Compute almost embodies entropic dissolution as it crashes from the energy of the first half into a slow decay at the end. And whatever else, its demand for attention is refreshing, and one which is difficult to ignore.”

de:bug 09/2000 thaddi **

“Ehrlich gesagt langweilt mich die neue Rope CD zu Tode. Was schade ist, denn gegen das erste Album ‘Rope Hotel’ war überhaupt nichts einzuwenden im Gegenteil. Aber jetzt hat Rope offenbar auch einen tollen grossen Rechner oder einen dieser neuen HighSpeed Sampler, zieht Klamotten aus und taucht in den TimeStretch Algorhythmus, tankt kurz an der DSP-Tankstelle wieder auf und verliert sich in total sinnlosen Soundcollagen, die sich mit wirklich schlechten Songs abwechseln. Nein, wirklich kein Fun to compute, so gar nicht. Vielleicht wollte er das nur mal rausbrüllen und die nächste Plate wird wieder gut. Täte mich freuen. Solange will ich auf jeden Fall niemanden ‘Talking About Bandwith’ zur Akustikgitarre singen hören.”

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Live

ROPE IN HONGKONG, 11/2000, FESTIVAL OF VISION

“Folk music, for those in the know, can be psychedelic. Realistically, the only people who know this are the one who showed up to see Rope perform at Tamar for Festival of Vision. Those in attendance experienced an ambient evening of eclectic music. More organic, than it was folksy, Rope’s performance was the embodiment of live improvisation, with guitars and drums and synths adapting to each other and to the crowd.

Formed five years ago as an acoustic folk band, the group has evolved to encompass a variety of rhythms for a unique sound that defies classification. “We don’t want Rope to be considered electronica or pop music or whatever,’ says Jayrope. “We hate mainstream music, but what i personally hate is the academic approach to electronic music, because that just bored people to death. i mean if you have learn a static theory before you can enjoy the music, then maybe even you won’t enjoy it but you’ll understand it. Music acts upon the heart
making music is a very instinctive thing.”

The group reflects these views in their latest release “It’s no fun to compute”. The album was released on Berlin-based Geist Records, a label that has a strict policy against promoting its artists. With it’s name loosely translating to ‘ghost’ or ‘spirit’, Geist firmly believes, that if you want to know, you must seek out on your own. As a result, Rope’s fame hasn’t spread far beyond the confines of Berlin.

With performances as electrifying as their Hong Kong stint however, Rope’s name should soon begin to travel. During concerts, Jayrope handles most of the eletrical gadgetry, while partner Nico handles the drums. “The goal is to change the music, adapt it to the location and the athmosphere that we play in,” says Jayrope. Nico agrees, adding that the spirit of Rope is much like the idea behind Club Art: to be free in one’s expression and to facilitate communication with the audience.

Rope was thrilled to have the opportunity to perform at the recent Berlin fest in Hong Kong, which gave locals a peep into German culture. Jayrope and Nico – who himself is Italian – stressed however that their music is not strictly German. Said Nico of the event, “there is some political money makers behind it, and they can’t go directly to the people, they don’t have the channels. They’re doing this now because they now understand this undergound movement is very important. But this is just a start.” Jayrope agrees, “we are not waiting for a culture to be represented but looking for good things to happen now.”

Absolute magazine/HK/issued 01/2001

ROPE AT SXSW, 03/1998

At first glance, Rope appeared to be your standard modern rock’n‘roll combo with drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards. But as they opened their set Friday night at midnight at Tropical Isle on 6th Street, Rope revealed themselves to be a band steeped in the electronic music that put their native homeland of Germany on the musical map with bands like Kraftwerk and Einsteinzer Neubatten.

For a band that relies so heavily on the idioms of experimental music – such as the incorporation of a drum machine and a real drummer, along with a sampler, keyboard synthesizer, and voice manipulation – Rope is a remarkably tight act that eschews the notion that there are any heroes that carry the band.

With commanding, almost robotic vocals from lead singer Yanick, who also plays the keyboards, samplers, drum machines, and other things that go ‘bing!,’ Rope has a moody, almost hypnotic sound maybe it’s the kind of thing you’d hear in a heroin trance when there’s nothing left to do but drool.
(gregory j. pleshaw)

¿ reviews ~

  • 17.07.17