Moderat
II


3.9
excellent

Review

by Jacob Royal STAFF
November 15th, 2013 | 46 replies


Release Date: 08/02/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is not what you had in mind

In regard to Moderat’s most recent album, Sascha Ring told “there was a little bit of therapy involved” in the process. Ring, better known as Apparat, has more or less become the frontman of the electronic collaboration, and the interview shows how draining the role is for him. Sure, it must be cathartic because he has the ability to channel his emotions into his work, and directly through his voice. But he explains that when he couldn’t sing in the way he felt II demanded, he’d beat himself up for it. Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary, collectively known as Modeselektor, simply had to be patient until their partner felt capable of progressing with them on the project. “That’s probably why one of the songs was called “Therapy"," Ring mumbled a few moments later, laughing about his artistic growing pains in hindsight.

On better days, the musician had to work on his imperfections; on the worse ones he just had to accept them and move on. After all, it must’ve been difficult for him to adjust to being in a much poppier project on II. “Therapy” finds itself surprisingly accessible for the same crew that released the abnormal, yet arresting debut that was 2009's Moderat-- especially considering the song is sugar-sweet from the get-go, a far cry from the group's earlier material. The manipulated vocal samples here, smooth as silk, run on top of the emotive synth lead to head into the heart and soul of the track: high-pitched squeals, hefty percussion and that melody. It’s memorable in every sense of the word, and yet, something about it is so poignant.

Part of the reason II feels so dear to Ring is that the record focuses on him much more than its predecessor. While Moderat showcased Modeselektor’s schizophrenic soundscapes, this record almost feels like a distant relative to Apparat’s widely acclaimed Walls-- pop-savvy, glossy and yet, intensely personal. It’s music that wouldn’t be out of place in a Levi’s commercial, but it also holds a dear message to its sleeve; it appeals to both the electronic newcomer and the seasoned electro-veteran. There are the four-minute highlights: “Bad Kingdom,” with its forthright percussion and Ring’s infectious vocal melodies, insist on reeling in the listener. The track keeps Moderat fans sated in the long run, too, with choral swells that imbue more and more meaning to the track with each passing minute. And “Let In the Light” finds yet another addictive melody to mold-- Ring finds his place here, crooning in a fashion that spearheads the song’s moodiness.

II isn’t exclusively singles-- album centerpoint “Milk” argues that all by itself. The song is more than ten minutes of sanguine house music that wouldn’t be out of place on Jon Hopkins’ latest record-- not an achievement to be taken lightly. The song takes up a quarter of this record’s runtime, but it’s even more important than that for Moderat. “Milk” functions perfectly fine without vocals-- it even gets a pass for that first minute and a half of sheer stagnation, because by the time it winds up, the tune is on fire. It’s the kind of music that nobody, perhaps not even Moderat themselves, expected from this record. Sure, II was bound to be fun-- the group’s self-titled release a few years back told us that much. But this is something entirely different, from the rest of this album, even. There are cuts like “Gita” that are digestible from the get-go, and more than likely, that’s Modeselektor’s impulse for immediacy at hand. But “Milk”, man-- it’s on another level that embodies all of Moderat’s strengths into a single song. It’s prolonged because it gives Ring a chance to step away from the microphone, and towards the producer’s seat again-- where he piqued our interest in the first place. Maybe his brand of therapy doesn’t lie in pushing together the pieces of the Moderat puzzle, but in merely existing as a part of it.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2013


10383 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

"Bad Kingdom" (music video) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1gewNVv1UY
"Gita" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zGEd8VIQTs

Gita is one of my least faves but apparently Moderat really doesn't want its music to be on Youtube so

Digging: Thou - Heathen

ShitsofRain
November 15th 2013


5956 Comments


i like the elephant in bad kingdom

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2013


10383 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

Hahahaha oh my god

robin
Emeritus
November 15th 2013


4261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

not what you wanted

robin
Emeritus
November 15th 2013


4261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

they blew it aaaaaall

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2013


10383 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

talking with Robin in Uncrew while talking to him on Sputnik

#pianotuna^2

klap
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2013


10583 Comments


inb4 deviant complaining about [insert aspect of review] is unfaithful to artist's [history/sound/influence] and you should really educate yourself further

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

ShitsofRain
November 15th 2013


5956 Comments


Hahahaha oh my god


exactly

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2013


10383 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

Haha Klap, to be fair Deviant has only been helpful with my electronic reviews. He's a bit harsh on other writers, but I haven't the pleasure of enjoying that side of him quite yet

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2013


3542 Comments


ooh will probably check this, although tbh I was a bit weird for my tastes so I'm not really sure how I'll like II

Digging: Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2013


10383 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

Will, II is a fairly streamlined version of its predecessor so I'd def recommend this. Very accessible in comparison, I think you'll enjoy it a fair bit. Check out the video I posted in the first comment to see what you think

EaglesBecomeVultures
November 15th 2013


5273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol uncrew

Digging: Viet Cong - Viet Cong

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2013


3542 Comments


Actually saw the video like a month ago on P4K TV, thought the art was really cool but the concept was stupid as shit. Song was all right though.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2013


10383 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

didn't watch the whole video so i have no idea what the stupid concept is

but that song is a far more commercialized version of this album's style. the rest is more subdued, esp Milk which you def have to hear

breakingthefragile
November 15th 2013


2966 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review Jacob. I REALLY want to like this album more, so badly. I've re-listened about six times now, and there's a lot that fascinates me, but the only song I can really get into is Bad Kingdom. But hey, I've seen your rating for this progressively rise, so maybe it'll continue to grow on me in the future as well.

Digging: Molly Drake - Molly Drake

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2013


4458 Comments


Excellent work as always, Jacob. I'll check this out, I don't think I've ever heard anything by these guys.

Typhoner
November 15th 2013


900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, but I prefer the crazyness of the first album

Digging: Clarity - Infinite

ProjectFreak
November 15th 2013


1443 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this sounds fantastic. will spin

TheBarber
November 15th 2013


2188 Comments


Great artwork

Digging: Ulver - Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997

Gyromania
November 15th 2013


16089 Comments


good work on the review. this is one of 2013's best



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