Moderat Moderat

[BPitch Control; 2009]

Styles: ambient glitch
Others: Modeselektor, Apparat

The opening notes of Moderat warble energetically at the brink of overmodulation, as if from the cassette tape accompaniment to a high school film projection. The humming of “A New Error” is the perfect time-lapse soundtrack for splitting cells or reacting chemicals, its vintage stock lent from the relative antiquity of its recording process that included tube technology and a restored EMI console. To the end of the reel Moderat, the portmonteau handle of Modeselektor and Apparat, shift through many half-lives with surprising properties, emitting clouds of dreamy synths or sporadically decaying into grime.

Initially, the experiment pretends to proceed on a linear course with the fluidity of a DJ set. It pans across clever transitions that mask otherwise volatile movement, but there are at times caustic moments when the unexpected happens. Take “Slow Match” and “Sick With It,” sudden disintegrations of dub and grime. Paul St. Hilaire’s contribution on “Slow Match” reverberates into an alluring wobble — but it just seems a little goofy for a Moderat record to name-check Rastafari. Meanwhile, Berliner Delle contributes the vocals on the latter guest spot. He aims for a catchy show-stealing hook, but his delivery, especially on the verses, flies too far over the top.

Fortunately, “Sick With It” kicks the album towards a strong, much more understated finish. “Porc #1” & “#2” weave grainy synth lines through powerfully simple drum and vocal loops fit for The Field. They morph seamlessly into dolcent electric piano lines perfect for a tech-house bender, even if Moderat resist straight 4/4. “No. 22” is deceptively hard with industrial attitude, and “Out of Sight” is a fitting close, Apparat’s smooth vocals hidden in noise and twisted over a grunting bass.

An effective collaboration tempers the rougher edges around both artists and allows them to combine their own artistic strengths synthetically. Such is the case here, where Moderat both strike a balance and incorporate elements heretofore unexplored by the trio. There is the sense Ring, Bronsert & Szary really pushed and pulled each other for the better on this record, and meanwhile trusted each other enough to branch out in other directions. So don’t mind it if those new elements sublime on contact with the standard — just inhale the fumes.

1. A New Error
2. Rusty Nails
3. Seamonkey
4. Slow Match feat. Paul St. Hilaire
5. 3 Minutes Of
6. Nasty Silence
7. Sick With It feat. Dellé
8. Porc # 1
9. Porc # 2
10. No. 22
11. Out Of Sight

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