on 16 October 2013
2013 has been a particularly exciting year for electronica; Boards of Canada reemerged after 8 years of silence, the Orb released their 'history', whilst Autechre, Jon Hopkins, Mount Kimbie, Bonobo, Dj Koze, Sasha, Drumcell & Apparat have all released some new and enjoyable stuff. Moderat's announcement that they were to release their follow up to their self-titled first album appeared the icing on the cake.
I ordered the deluxe vinyl edition straight away. The only downside is this edition doesn't come with a download version, so I've ended up purchasing it twice so I have it available on my iPod. But that's the only downside of the 12", and I wouldn't have done this if the album wasn't totally worth it.
Moderat's II is different from their first album in a couple of ways; the only primary vocal used across the album is that of Sasha RIng (Apparat), and in general the album feels more 'pop' in style. Don't let this put you off, we're not talking cliched, 'saturday night on the lash' style pop, but more refined, genuine songwriting. It blends being catchy with being a serious work of electronica perfectly, so its never cheesy and always fully absorbing.
The vocal tracks ('Bad Kingdom', 'Let the Light in', 'Gita', 'Damage Done', and on the cd/download deluxe edition, 'last time') are scattered throughout the album amongst superb instrumentals, the best of which include the dramatic 'Versions' and 'This TIme' - the tune Moderat have been opening their live performances of the album with.
I was fortunate to be at the Eastern Electrics festival at Knebworth Park where Moderat performed their album launch for 'II'. Alongside a superb DJ Set from DJ Koze, this performance was the highlight of the whole festival for me. It seemed to connect with the crowd in a way quite unlike anything else on show, so I'd recommend going to a live show if you get the chance too.
For me, only Bonobo's 'The North Borders' & Apparat's 'Kreig Und Frieden' can match Moderat's 'II' this year. Bad Kingdom, Versions & Gita are all right up there with the very best tracks of the year, and I hope 'II' becomes 'III' in the not too distant future, as the modeselektor-Apparat partnership is too good to be exhausted across just a couple of fine albums.
on 5 August 2013
This is the second collaboration between Modeselektor and Apparat, named Moderat. It's rather imaginatively called ii. Despite the lack of an exciting name, it's quite an exciting album. It feels fresh, which is not easy amongst all the other acts around just now. This second album feels like it is more Apparat than Modeselektor, which is fine by me as I'm an Apparat fan.
This album has a very gentle, almost ethereal, feel to it at times. It doesn't get up and shout at you with a million high-hat beats per second, instead it relies on deep powerful basslines to grab your attention.
'Bad Kingdom' is possibly my favourite track on the album. It has a really thumping bassline that drives the track along, and has Apparat's vocals to the fore. They sound almost haunting at times during this album. 'Bad Kingdom' really says everything that is good about this album. The basslines, the vocals, the structure, just everything feels like it has a place. It never feels cluttered or busy, always just right.
I like this album quite a lot, a lot more than I though I would. It's been a good year for electronic music, and to get noticed amongst the crowd is no mean feat. A great second album. Five stars.
on 23 August 2013
A bit more middle of the road than Moderat I but as you should expect from these three producers quality craftsmanship all the way.
There are a couple of attempts at 'pop' music that are really quite good 'Bad Kingdom' being the first and forays into building techno work outs like 'Milk' and euphoric sweetness best displayed in 'Versions' (my fav track).
Since LP I the influence of dubstep and bass music seems to have changed into a more refined almost nostalgic sound with Moderat using vocal samples underneath the beat much like John Talabot did on Fin - for better or worse - and it fair to say while there's no Seamonkey or Rusty Nails there's much here to enjoy.
on 15 January 2014
At the moment, looking into the current electronic music scene doesn't steer too much excitement if you don't know where to look and how deep you need to look. But if you're a follower, (or not), of a few big guns like Modeselektor (comprised of the duo Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) and Apparat (aka Sascha Ring), together forming the band Moderat, you would have definitely jumped off your seat with the news of the release of their second full length earlier last year (after their debut album Moderat was released to great critical acclaim back in 2009).
Moderat II easily lives up to the first albums' standards, however it is always very hard to reach the standards set by the trio's debut album, which to say the least, can be considered as the perfect debut from the guys.
The album kicks of with The Mark, an ambient, synth laden track, and is followed with the heavily contrasting, pre-album, top-charting single Bad Kingdom. This track slightly takes the album into more "pop-oriented" territory and it might put off some fans of Moderat I, but it might definitely engulf some new listeners more into the album. The deep and warm vocals from Sascha mixed with the 'Modeselektorish' beats make up a four minute track that some might want to loop forever.
Let in the Light is definitely the standout track for me. The intriguing sounds, together with pitched vocals, deep melodies and a heavy bass drum take the album into another dimension before moving on to Milk, which throbs for ten minutes, with very few but defining organic elements to reach a certain climax in the album. Damage Done is another highlight in this album, with Sascha's vocals along with a screeching sawtooth bass line, give emotional depth to the track, all in all combined in a kind of melancholic and yet truly beautiful piece of music. The final track rounds up this masterpiece perfectly and for those of you buying the limited edition version, you have a yours truly bonus track from the trio which makes you melt away.
In a nutshell, this album is definitely one to add to your collection of music and will surely stand the test of time. The quality is exceptional, both content and ecstatic wise with twelve exceptional tracks and a nice cover to wrap it all up. Having said that, I found that you need to give this album more than a couple of listens to really indulge in it's beauty, so, pour yourself a glass of wine, put on your headphones and enjoy a beautiful mind trip.
on 13 February 2014
This is, without a doubt, an incredible album and one of my favourites of the year. However, if you are considering buying this album, you have probably heard songs from it and are already aware how incredible it is, so I hardly need to write it. I am writing this review simply to comment on how beautifully designed the actual CD is; a great amount of time and thought has obviously been put into its design. Visually, it is stunning and it does feel very much like a 'deluxe' CD; the casing of the album looks more like a graphic novel than a CD.
Of course, this is all superficial beauty, but considering how expensive this album is, I wanted to express my complete delight in purchasing it. It is a phenomenal album in every respect.
on 24 August 2013
Modeselektor and Apparat's second album collaborating as Moderat is an intense and carefully manicured slice of downtempo urban-dubstep (whatever that is - but I couldn't think of any other way of describing it). It feels like a labour of love, and split between instrumental and vocal tracks delivers in spades. A towering piece of work and a great album end-to-end - no filler.
on 3 October 2013
Buy it, I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed if you like electronica and/or Apparat/Moderat's previous output.
Oh and the track "Last Time" (which is great) is not available on streaming services like Spotify.
on 3 October 2013
just buy it! another album that is constantly getting played in my house, so many of my friends have bought this after i have played it for them
on 25 November 2013
I love it.