MODERAT: Moderat (BPitch Control)


Posted on Apr 24th 2009 12:34 am

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Moderat: Moderat

BPitch Control 2009
11 Tracks. 48mins07secs

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When two acts join forces on a common project, they have the option of doing so under a new name, risking in the process to go unnoticed, or merge their individual noms-de-scene in the way Berlin-based duo Modeselektor, Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary, and electronic wizard Sascha ‘Apparat’ Ring have done. The trio’s first collaboration goes back to 2002 with the Auf Kosten Der Gesundheit EP, released on Ellen Allien’s BPitch Control, but, due to other commitments, this never materialised into anything more until a chance encounter last year in a swimming pool in Berlin brought them back together and rekindled the collaboration

Recorded in Berlin’s famous Hansa Studios, using the venue’s vintage equipment, the album combines Modeselektor’s elegant and playful electronica and Apparat’s sleek textural moody pop to create a rather suave and warm hybrid where evocative instrumentals and angular vocal pieces coexists in perfect harmony. Right from the opening sequence of the gentle, yet powerful, A New Error, with its swirling melody and syncopated beat, the trio set the tone, but it is really with Rusty Nail, with Ring on lead vocals, that this album takes off properly. Set in constantly ebbing and flowing sumptuous analogue electronic sound waves, Ring’s deliciously smooth voice is occasionally drowned in the rush of energy but manages to maintain focus and direction throughout. Later, on closing piece Out Of Sight, his vocal performance contributes to the overall dreamy nature of the piece and appears almost at one with the backdrop.

Elsewhere, the vocal duties are left to Paul St. Hilaire (Slow Match) and Eased (Sick With It), the former’s performance, culled from old recordings made by Bronsert and Szary with St. Hilaire, bringing some dub flavours to Moderat’s haunting minimal dubstep-infused construction, while the latter drifts between ragga-sprinkled urban textures in the verse and a much more anthemic tone in the chorus, while, in the background, the trio devise a surprisingly simple and straightforward soundtrack.

It is however with their instrumental compositions that Moderat’s span is at its widest. From the thumping and sharp Seamonkey or No. 22 to the rather dark 3 Minutes Of or the New Wave angle of Porc#1 and, even more so, Porc#2, which involve guitars and live drums, there is plenty to explore. While the latter two tracks can occasionally seem a tad out of place, especially when Porc#2 gains momentum, Seamonkey or the seismic Nasty Silence show rather impressive dynamic and drive, while 3 Minutes Of offers a much more introvert side of the trio by turning the dreamy soundscapes heard elsewhere on the album into haunting and ominous segments.

With this debut album, Gernot Bronsert, Sebastian Szary and Sascha Ring have created a very convincing and beguiling record which sits somewhere between their respective sound, yet manages to have an identity all of its own.


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