ModeratIn Dance, electronic
Intent on creating something that contrasted their own individual projects, Moderat came together for their first album in 2009, they complete the trilogy with new album III, released on 1st April, 2017 and a world tour that spring.
Moderat are Apparat (Sascha Ring) and Modeselektor (Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary). Both represent the warmer, more human side of Berlin’s electronic music scene, beyond the monotonous grooves of techno and house. Modeselektor are all about thrust and action. Having club crowds go ballistic over their deep basslines and thrashing beats, they are grandmasters of modern breakbeat music.
Apparat, meanwhile, is a rather sensitive spirit. He manages to transform shoe-gaze electronics and atmospheric textures into dreamlike pop music. The passion to move beyond already existing sounds and styles united Sascha, Gernot and Sebastian into a lasting artistic friendship and the supergroup Moderat. Merging uncompromising beats and universal pop songs Moderat are now an indispensable part of Europe’s festival scene. Releasing their third album and doing their biggest tour to date, 2016 marked a new phase in their career.
In 2009, Sascha, Gernot and Sebastian created Moderat’s unique sound. Walloping basslines and twitching beats on one side, Apparat’s delicate voice on the other: it’s precisely this harsh contrast that allows both acts to collaborate. On their second album, Moderat opened up their emotional and stylistic spectrum, throwing chopping breakbeats, disastrous bass rolls, multilayered soundscapes, subtle beats and unforgettable festival anthems into their sonic fusion reactor. The album is crowned by “Bad Kingdom”, their biggest hit so far. In 2014, they were almost continuously touring. Working on their third album in 2015, they needed to process this hustle and bustle. On “III”, Sascha, Gernot and Sebastian display a newfound maturity.
Opening with “Eating Hooks”, Modeselektor’s smart breakbeats and Apparat´s intimate voice bring the proverbial Moderat sensation to life within seconds. The energy of the grooves and basslines wrestles with the multifaceted emotions of the songs. Apparat gives us immediate insight into his soul. It’s not about destroying your demons but about turning them into friends. Having set the profound, serious, personal tone of the album, Apparat lets his imagination flow. With “Running”, he conceives the experience of a single person in a crowd of people. A crowd must always keep moving in order to stay a crowd. But it is unable to determine its direction by itself. “So I keep on running” he sings, equally driven and carried away, relishing and desperate. “Finder” is a surprisingly soft and gentle house track. But Modeselektor being Modeselektor, they are simply not able to leave a straight bassdrum groove to straightforward conformity. So they inject rhythmic hiccups, giving the groove a very special twist. Apparat too takes a turn, moving away from the seriousness of the first two songs with a pitched, playful version of his voice. In “Ghost Mother” the winking tone turns into world-wise serenity. With its mind boggling complexity the analogue stop and go groove of the song enthralls us with its beat slicing techniques. The lyrics deal with our fear of the unknown. The unexpected scares us. But if we dare to look in its eye, it usually turns out much less frightening.
After “Running”, “Reminder” is the second highlight of the album: Apparat´s voice sounds modest, flowing with an honesty and sincerity that marks him amongst the great voices. Modeselektor’s electronic effects lift this voice to another, more intense level. “Burning bridges light my way”, he sings: Instead of blaming others, we should face the mess that we’ve created. And we still have the choice to do things differently. That is why we celebrate what we burn: the flames light the way to something new, something better.
With the meditative bass drum and the elegant, warm claps of “The Fool”, Moderat take a break. The synthesizer sounds seem unreal and hyperreal at the same time, like the language of an alien life form. The song is about the fools at the royal courts of the Middle Ages: they were the only ones who could speak their minds. Thus, the decision to be the fool was the wisest decision possible. “Intruder” is the culmination of the album: all sounds merge into a sweeping wall-of-sound. Among the forceful breakbeats and the spirited soundscapes Apparat’s voice sounds like a secluded cry. With its explorative bassline and its complex sound textures, “Animal Trails” is like an echo, processing its predecessor. With “Ethereal” Moderat strike a very different tone: a unique mix of acoustic and electronic sounds move Apparat into deep tranquility. It’s about devotion, about opening up – to yourself as well as to others. This charming lullaby allows the intensity of the album to softly fade away. At the end there is no cure, but at least some kind of satisfaction.
With “III”, we experience Moderat as mature personalities. The flames flare in the fireplace. Sascha, Gernot and Sebastian sink into deep leather armchairs, the Whiskey shimmering golden in the tumblers. In the story we just listened to, they don´t skip a single chapter of their musical or personal lives.