Moderat - III - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Moderat - III

by Rob Taylor Rating:8 Release Date:2016-04-01

At the introduction to ‘Eating Hooks’ from Moderat’s III, we hear sounds we associate with crumbling urban neighbourhoods, conjuring visions of ghostly shadows moving across an artificially lit scene, photogenic vapours rising from overheated subterrania.  It’s the kind of music we usually associate with experimental dubstep, producers such as Shackleton or Burial. 

These anti-utopian sounds are immediately contradicted by the interjection of a soulful voice, a mainstream voice dropped on the canvas like a splash of primary colour.  

‘Eating Hooks’ is the opening track on Moderat’s new album III. It has a hook that immediately embeds itself in your self-conscious, a strong melody supported by a beautifully choreographed electronic framework. A build which is not euro-cliché. There's no unsubtle drop of a hammering club beat, just a dollop of muted bass rumble to make clear this is music primarily for headphones. 

Further into III, to dispel any thoughts that the album’s minimalist opening was an aberration, ‘Finder’ is replete with unearthly sampled voices resonating across a tightly woven beat structure, one that lifts the music into the sort of territory celebrated by the morning-after rave crowd.  ‘Ghostmother’ by contrast, is regulation trip-hop, like Massive Attack, but with more soul poured into the mixture. 

‘Reminder’ is the centrepiece, a track weighted more towards the Modeselektor edge of the partnership, although the occasional slowing of the tempo shows Sascha Ring’s (Apparat’s) class in devising abstruse hooks that ensnare the listener. ‘Reminder’ has the big chorus, one which stays with you, and has your fingers hovering over the repeat button. There's an inherent versatility to 'Reminder', malleable enough to withstand the inevitable (and already existing) club remixes, but still suited to sole listening. Three minutes in, your typical (though extremely fun) pregnant pause brings fast acceleration back to the ecstatic chorus, for one last glorious pass. 

From there on in, ‘Intruder’ is the pick, commencing as it does with a semblance of tribal beat, and a barely audible blanket of synth that fades in and out to accentuate the vocal line. The ambient streak is interrupted by some stabbing bass and a big vocal chorus, sustained melodic lines anchored by the tireless beat machinery. 

There’s a unifying vision on III, a real synergy existing between Gernot Bronsert, Sebastian Szary and Sascha Ring. It shows that over a decade of perseverance has paid off for this electronic supergroup.

 

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