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KUMD Album Reviews: Moderat II

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Following other recent electronic releases such as Boards of Canada's Tomorrow's Harvest and Baths' Obsidian, it cannot be denied that this year's vision of the electronic music genre leans towards a deeper, darker side. Deep bass dominates alongside complex, almost minimalist rhythms, and Moderat's recent release Moderat II, is no exception. By Basement Reviewer: Rebeccah Roberts

The group, Moderat is not one man, but three. It's an electronic music collaboration from Berlin, Germany - an almost-super-group composed of Sascha Ring (Apparat), Gernot Bronsert, and Sebastian Szary (the duo that makes up Modeselektor). From the start, the collective clearly wants their listeners to be aware of the collaborative nature of their musical efforts. While the name "Moderat" does dominate their social media and websites, the subheading that follows is always "Modeselektor + Apparat = Moderat". The trio stresses that their artistic interests brought them together, but also pulls them apart, most apparent in the fact that their first EPs came out in 2002, but it was not until their 2009 album release, simply titled, Moderat, that we heard from them again. It is true that the two styles of the members could not be more opposite. Modeselektor fuses deep bass tastes with electronica from the 1990's Berlin club scene; Apparat has a specific taste in electronic pop, complex beats, and hip-hop. In Moderat II, the result of these differing tastes leads to a stylishly executed second full album with more than a hint of drama. Rather than the feeling of too many hands on the turntable and too many competing elements at once, the group presents a refined, tasteful view of electronica. Modeselektor's influence can be heard in the deep bass that permeates the entire album, especially in tracks such as "Bad Kingdom", "Therapy", and "Damage Done". Many tracks are also surprisingly danceable, thanks the duo's taste for dance beats. Floating r&b vocals trademark Apparat's influence, as well as complex rhythm sets, in tracks like "Milk", "Gita", and "This Time". However, it's hard to separate the two styles because each element appears intertwined amongst every track. The 10-minute long "Milk" seems at first to be a simple riff on a rhythmic beat, but deep listening reveals the high level of taste and maturity that each member of the collective has achieved - Apparat's complex rhythm, Modeselektor's dance elements, Apparat's melodic stylings, Modeselektor's penchant for heavy bass. In every track, the three come together on agreement and the result is delightful. It's a beautifully orchestrated treat for the listening ear.

Recommended tracks: "Bad Kingdom" "Therapy" "Gita" "This Time"

Similar artists: Mount Kimbie, Nosaj Thing, Gold Panda, Burial, Bonobo, (and, of course, Apparat and Modeselektor)