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Moderat deliver one of the year's best albums
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.