Both Modeselektor and Apparat – the two German acts that form this collaborative project – have had long careers at the forefront of progressive electronic music. They've changed the face of techno, in fact, elevating drum programming to an intellectual level, yet still keeping things gloriously ravey. Recently, Apparat's Sascha Ring has also demonstrated his control of melody and ambience with a glorious neo-classical album, 'Krieg Und Frieden (Music For Theatres)' – one of the best albums of 2013 so far.
By all accounts the creation of this second Moderat album was an exhaustive process – which makes it extra disappointing that the finished product is so weak. There's little about 'II' which sounds new. In fact, on tracks including 'Versions', 'Let In the Light' and 'Damage Done' there's little to differentiate the work of these distinguished musicians from the bedroom jams of your common-or-garden south London producer. In other words, the gloomy garage and house influences at work here are a year or two behind the avant-garde.
Only 'Milk' shows off Moderat at their best. It's a ten-minute-long, off-kilter house tune that sounds simple, yet full of energy and optimism. But it's only one great track, and the pervasive reverb, dissonant samples and self-conscious moodiness of 'II' sours 'Milk's freshness, and 'II' as a whole. A real shame.
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