The Devil's Walk Limited Edition
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Berlin-based producer Sascha Ring, aka Apparat, positioned his DJ Kicks mix, released in 2010, as a farewell to the dancefloor-focussed section of his career. His label Shitkatapult continues to release house and techno, but with The Devil's Walk Ring appears to have abandoned tracks that aim to move bodies in favour of songs that aim to move hearts.
The sonic touchstones for The Devil's Walk include Junior Boys, M83, the melancholic pop of Maximilian Hecker and, most obviously, Sigur Rós. The Icelandic band's predilection for surging anthems that quiver between celebration and sorrow looms large on Song of Los and Black Water, while The Soft Voices Die is so indebted as to be pastiche.
Elsewhere Ring tends to keep on the right side of influence, but his magpie tendencies remain apparent. The richly melodic A Bang in the Void, for example, apes Steve Reich's counterpoint works of the 1970s, as did Not a Number from his previous solo album, Walls (2007). Ring's attention to detail is typically exquisite here: the looped bowing of a cello provides a droning bassline beneath pitch-bent chimes.
Vocally The Devil's Walk finds Ring in lovelorn, po-faced mood. Song of Los, Black Water and Ash/Black Veil are essentially traditional power ballads given a tasteful electronic spritz: they're catchy, melodramatic, and pretty cheesy. Candil de la Calle pulls a lot of the same moves, but the shuddering lurch of its dubstep-influenced rhythm establishes a more interesting push and pull between vocal and melody. Ring's reliance on the power ballad form is puzzling. It's when he steps away from it, as on closing track Your House is My World, where a tremulous banjo and strings cocoon his Vincent Gallo-like vocal, that he achieves his most startling effects.
It's telling that one of the best songs here doesn't feature Ring behind the microphone. Goodbye resonates with the doom-laden delivery of Anja Plaschg, aka Soap&Skin, intoning above scrabbly clouds of acoustic guitar and piano chords that sink like a corpse in water. If only there was more drama of this sort here, and a little less schmaltz, to bolster Ring's talent as an arranger and a producer.
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Top Customer Reviews
'The Devil's Walk' is a very intelligent album. Apparat is a smart chap, and it shows. The lyrics across the album are inspired, the vocal performances (largely from Sascha himself) are deep and absorbing, and the balance between recognisable instruments and electronic exploration is finely tuned to perfection. 'Song of Los' is the highlight for me. I must admitt where I part from Wolf's excellent review; I prefer 'Walls' to this album. I feel more track-to-track variation is on show on 'Walls' (feel free to comment if you agree/disagree), and some of the tunes are just that little bit too sombre-pop in style for me.Read more ›
As others have eluded to, it has a much more organic and 'natural' sound compared to Apparat's other work, yet it somehow feels like an electronica album.
It is, at first, difficult to describe. Gentle piano meets strings and deep, electronic undertones that combine to create some deeply moving pieces of music throughout.
The production value, as you would expect from Apparat, is top notch - And it is this that forms part of why each element gels together seamlessly.
Pieces like 'Goodbye' are a fantastic example of the warm, organic beauty of the album and the track 'Candil De La Calle' almost boarders on sounding like a Telefon Tel Aviv track, yet it still manages to encompass the trademark warmth and acoustic that this album has.
In summary, this album is smart, beautiful, exquisitely produced and absolutely essential listening in my book.
Do not let this slip your ears.
'The Devil's Walk' finds him exploring new sonic territory without
compromising his electronic dance credentials. He would seem to have
taken time out to reflect on the nature of his muse and returns
with music possessed of a gentler and more soulful calibre than he
has delivered before. The ten tracks in this collection are high on
reflection and emotion. It is the finest work he has so-far produced.
If the haunting composition 'Goodbye' were the only one at our disposal
I would be satisfied. The eerie presence of Austrian singer Anja Plaschg,
aka Soap & Skin, (please, please do listen to her 2009 album 'Lovetune
For Vacuum'!) made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. The dark
arrangement moves forward at the pace of a heartbeat; Ms Plaschg's
world-weary vocal barely stirring the air around it. A desolate joy!
It's not all about shadows and scratchings in a closed tomb however.
Once 'Song Of Los' gets its skates on we are transported to a land
of light and uplifting beauty where even dance is possible. Mr Ring,
both here and elsewhere has a truly lovely voice. Sweet, sweet melancholy.
The faltering rhythm of 'Candil De La Calle' is another highlight. The
dream-like ambience is shot through with luminous synth chords and a simple
but affecting octave-spaced two-part harmony. A song to warm the blood.
'Escape', too, glimmers like a lone candle in a window guiding us safely home.
The touching melody, evocative lyrics and sublime string setting conveys
one of the loveliest inventions I have heard this year. A song to cherish!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bland and uninspired. There is not one memorable track; each track feels like it should be the last 'fade out' song at the end of the album. Read morePublished on 17 Jan. 2013 by L. keeling