4 out of 5
Produced by: Modeselektor, Apparat
Label: BPitch Control
Apparat on BPitch is the stuff of club floor dreams. The label, already erring on the hard-edged side of dancey inventiveness, gives us Moderat: A team-up between Sascha Ring’s Apparat and Modeselektor. As with Ring’s combo with other BPitcher Ellen Allien on Orchestra of Bubbles, this splices Apparat’s more abstract ethics with a focus on momentum; Orchestra went for a full range of styles with its team-up – Moderat is mostly out to make you move. Which is in no way a slight: These beats run deep, and the album is slickly sequenced to jump between variations on its vibe, going from playful to soulful to hip-hop coarseness and back. Somewhere past the midpoint we get lost in a run of somewhat similar tracks, but they all somewhat build upon one another for a strong conclusion, and then a doubly strong conclusion if you include the bonus vinyl tracks.
Still, the string of songs on the album’s first half show this team-up at its peak abilities, starting right from the top with the warm, building playfulness of A New Error, which is then juxtaposed with a clattering beat on followup Rusty Nails, which, uh, juxtaposes itself by tossing Sascha Ring’s smooth vocals on top. This type of blend reoccurs on some key tracks: Seamonkey starts off in AFX chilliness, alternatively layering with heavy beats for an oddball trance-like groove; Porc #1 echoes the buildup of the opener but does so with what sounds like live guitar and drums. A few songs here hit a similar patch of IDM grooves with a house edge, but No, 22 successfully perks our ears up once more with its nuanced BPitch club stylings, sprinkled with Apparat details.
The guest vocalists add some great highlights: Paul St. Hilaire on Slow Match gives us something like a rasta version of Sway’s track on Two Fingers, and Busdriver on bonus track BeatsWaySick is clumsy in the best of ways, scraping vulgarity and beats together to hit a head-bobbing, flowing high about a minute in.
Moderat definitely has its target set on making you move, and to that extent, some tracks on their debut don’t experiment near as much as they could. But the fair majority benefit from the talents of all those involved, delivering track after track of powerful, and/or booty-shaking mash-ups of house and IDM.