I mentioned a little over a year ago that I’d been enthusastically getting amongst all things Apparat. If you didn’t see that post, go check it out and get a hold of those albums – a year later they still rank high as some of my favourite albums for repeated listening.
I’d been keenly awaiting an upcoming collaboration LP between Apparat and Modeselektor, another key Berlin electronica group that you may have come across when they gathered some attention by getting Thom Yorke in on vocals for “The White Flash” from their last album Happy Birthday. Ironically, the album evaded my notice for a good couple of months after release – and here I am blogging about it even later still. However, I haven’t seen a lot of talk about the album here in Australia so I figured I’d throw my commendation for it in.
The album promoters for the Moderat project seem to have made a lot of mileage out talking about the supposed tensions that exist in the Apparat/Modeselektor working relationship. In many ways, it’s not hard to see why such a tension would exist – Modeselektor seem to enjoy a goofy, hip-hop derived, swaggering beat-heavy synthetic sound while Apparat has increasingly been moving towards an ambient yet organic approach to his music. To put it more simply: Modeselektor’s music is good for clubs, Apparat is good for headphones and living rooms.
So where’s the album land, sonically speaking? In many ways, the trademarks of both entities exist evenly across the record, though the whole ends up being a little more on the dramatic, serious side. That’s not to say it’s slow – it’s generally quite uptempo – but it’s fairly minor key and takes its identity more from texture than rhythmic propulsion. The trio seem heavily influenced by the dubstep movement – notably first single “Rusty Nails” and closer “Out of Sight” live in Burial’s shadow just a little, while bringing it under a more refined, Berlin-esque structure. Elsewhere, some excellent Berlin ambient techno gets a couple of tunes (“3 Minutes Of” and “Nasty Silence”) and even a very pop-sounding rave anthem (“Sick With It”) is amongst the lineup.
Initially I was a little disappointed by the release – it seemed to lose my interest a few tracks in and repeat itself – but over many replays I’ve gradually come to find it a solid, thoroughly enjoyable work. Much lies in the detail, waiting to be unravelled over repeat plays.
As a result, the disc is certainly no party starter in atmosphere but it’s an impeccable disc for evenings (and, in my case, coding) – a detail-rich labour of love (and possibly even frustration, judging from the cover) that may not see a followup due to Modeselektor and Apparat’s own busy careers (presently on hold while they finish touring as Moderat). Worth a listen.
Rusty Nails (video)
I apologise for the insane lack of posting (if anyone had noticed)… life has been immensely busy between moving house (I am now, terrifyingly, a resident of Ryde), multiple music projects (notably Soma Music, which has been immensely exciting and rewarding) and even Real Work. Things are settling down, so hopefully more blogging will follow – there’s a big backlog of albums that I’ve been meaning to cover.
With some sadness Aussie music bloggers bid farewell last mongth to Sean from A Reminder. He’s left for his native land of Canada and I certainly hope that his mother country realises what a boon has just arrived for their music scene as his coverage of music in Australia will be hugely missed here. Hope the move is fruitful Sean – and I’m looking forward to hearing what you unearth out of Canada’s music scene!