Robert Lippok picks 10 records that have shaped, improved and formed him

Robert Lippok is a seminal figure of Berlin’s electronic music scene. He not only combined Post-Punk with Acid and House as early as 1983. First and foremost, Lippok embodies the genre’s spirit – never rigid, always searching for something new.

Retrospectives are not an end in themselves. In 2017, the Jungle World asked Robert Lippok if the underground scene of the GDR, in which he grew up, had been forgotten. Lippok replied bluntly: »I wish. I’d prefer to look towards the future more often.« Perhaps that is the only appropriate answer for someone who’s consistently seeking out novelties – someone like Lippok. 

The maestro-to-be was born in Berlin-Mitte in 1966. In 1983, he and his brother Roland founded the Band Ornament & Verbrechen, who combined Post-Punk with early Acid and House. Soon, Robert started making music with a computer. When Techno got popular in the early 1990s, the brothers were drawn to another design: Post-Rock by electronic means. Their second band, To Roccoco Rot, should inspire troves of others. Yet, Lippok didn’t stop there. 

Back to the Future

In 2001, he established his solo career by releasing the EP »Open Close Open«. Lippok drafted a dreamy mixture, full of soft clicks, warm static, and Gustav Mahler. It feels like loosing yourself on a desolate beach without knowing where the present ends and memories begin. 

Lippok spent the next decade by trudging this terrain. His first solo LP, »redsuperstructure«, was released in 2011. »I am always very self-critical on my work, and for this reason it typically takes me a huge amount of time to produce an album«, he once remarked. Nevertheless, Lippok managed to build an impressively diverse, interdisciplinary back-catalogue. To celebrate his oeuvre, Morr Music now has remastered the debut »Open Close Open«. Lippok chipped in with a new track. For retrospectives are not an end in themselves. They are an opportunity to dip into alternative futures.  

SND • 2008 • from 36.99€

Robert Lippok: I met Mark Fell and Mat Steel of SND at the end of the Nineties after a To Rococo Rot concert in Manchester. They said that our album »Veicolo« and especially the track »Micromanaged« had a huge influence on them. We stayed in touch and over the years I became a fan of their music. Their release »Atavism« is an absolute masterpiece of post-rave minimalism. On »4,5,6« their style isn't quite as well formulated - it's already permanently euphoric and fast, but also still with a more raw sound. Creaky FM sounds, hyperventilating drum computers, kick drums that overtake themselves, counter-like breaks, acid house pads and always this great desire for ecstasy and euphoria.

Mego • 2006 • from 10.99€

Robert Lippok: If I remember correctly, I bought the 7inch at A-Musik in Cologne after Rashad Becker drew my attention to it. They are cover versions or rather free interpretations of »Paint It Black« (The Rolling Stones) and »Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)« by the Beach Boys. The result is two corroded, 8-bit harmony cluster miniatures that form a link between the early and later work of Christian Fennesz.The pieces were a breaking point to something new. They float and are at the same time floor-deep.

Rhythm & Sound
Never Tell You
Burial Mix • 1996 • from 11.99€

Robert Lippok: Some people know where they were when they heard about the death of John Lennon or that of Lady Di. I remember exactly where I was when I heard »Never Tell You« by Rhythm & Sound and Tikiman for the first time. I was in a taxi just outside the Rotes Rathaus in Berlin on my way to the WMF Club. It was deep night.I had never heard such depth and density of sound before, everything around me seemed to change, even Alexanderplatz seemed somehow special for that moment. The very next day I went to Hardwax and bought the 10inch.

Pan Sonic
Blast First • 1995 • from 89.99€

Robert Lippok: When a friend played me Pan Sonic's first EP in 1994, I said that my analogue synthesizer produces sounds like that when it's left alone at home. Nevertheless, I was very impressed by the refusal to be music and the consistency with which it was done. »Vakio«, which was released a year later, set the style for an entire genre of electronic music. Techno was redeemed from having to be pure club music. I was lucky enough to see their first Berlin gig.Ilpo Väisänen and Mika Vainio were standing behind the counter of the Panasonic club run by Mo Loschelder and Daniel Pflum (legend has it that they named themselves after the Venue) with their equipment, grinding and humming loudly. On a small black and white television mounted above the bar, you could see a sine wave moving in synchronisation with the music. It wasn't much more than that and it was great.

Andrea Parker
Melodious Thunk
Mo Wax • 1996 • from 6.99€

Robert Lippok: With its precise darkness, »Melodious Thunk« by Andrea Parker was an exceptional release in the mid-1990s. The mix of bass, kick drum, percussion instruments and stationary pads is so incredibly heavy and clear. »Fallen Arches« is a masterpiece and at 2:45 it is far, far too short, it should last two hours and forty-five minutes or two days.

Oil Of Every Pearl's Un-Insides
Transgressive • 2018 • from 27.99€

Robert Lippok: Sophie was a gift to us all. The fact that she had to leave so early still makes me very, very sad.Nobody before or since has been able to combine pop and experimentation with such ease and virtuosity. When I heard her for the first time, it was all too cheesy for me and it took a while for her music to get to me. But when it did, the wave crashed over me and swept me away forever.

The Teaches Of Peaches
XL Recordings • 2000 • from 28.99€

Robert Lippok: »The Teaches of Peaches« caused a shockwave in Berlin's electronic music scene! Nothing would ever be the same again.

Live Air
Black Saint • 1980 • from 17.99€

Robert Lippok: I discovered »Live Air« by chance at a flea market.It was recorded live by a jazz trio called Air, consisting of Henry Threadgill, Steve McCall and Fred Hopkins. The first few minutes of this free improvisation are the quietest, most beautiful and tender that free jazz has ever produced.

King Night
Iamsound • 2010 • from 14.99€

Robert Lippok: Emerging from the Witch House subgenre, Salem was one of the few projects that produced more than just ketamine-drunk endless loops. Shimmering, sometimes distorted to the point of self-dissolution, beautiful anthems.And although the tracks follow a simple pattern and need nothing more than an 808 drum machine, a few old synthesisers and effects, Salem have developed a very unique sound from them.

Horacio Vaggione
Schall / Rechant
Recollection GRM • 2024 • from 23.99€

Robert Lippok: This record has just been released on Recollection GRM. Until then, the work of Argentinian composer Horacio Vaggione was unknown. In the four electro-acoustic pieces on »Schall / Rechant«, he develops a complex, highly detailed musical grammar.The music seems to constantly tear itself apart and rebuild itself. Partly composed two decades ago, the production sounds very contemporary. A real discovery.