words by Daniel Anthony

III is the trilogy completing new record, from Berlin based ‘supergroup’, Moderat. Comprising of Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary of Modeselektor and Sascha Ring of Apparat, it’s a record of innovative beats and uncompromising production. Brought to us by Modeselektors own Monkeytown Records, the 10-track record is fantastic in execution while only falling just a little short of that true brilliance that Moderat are capable of.

While you can clearly hear where they have come from, particularly on tracks like ‘Finder’ and ‘Reminder’, this collection of songs sees Moderat pushing themselves into unchartered territory. Tribal, Glitch and even Trance influenced ideas can all be heard throughout III.

Opening proceedings with the solemn, ‘Eating Hooks’. The track floats along, introvertedly over a bed of intricate beats and bass wobbles, before completely opening up towards songs end. Calm and measured, without being too over the top. It’s the perfect indication of what’s to follow over the next fifty minutes.

A far more introspective, subdued and carefully crafted Moderat. If I and II was an equal fuse of the two projects producing it, III see’s Sascha well and truly in the drivers seat. The emotion and underlying melancholic nature are well and truly, vintage Apparat. ‘Ghostmother’, ‘Finder’ and ‘Intruder’ would all feel completely at home on any of Sacha’s more recent albums.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any high energy, Modeselektor-inspired moments. They’re just a little fewer and further between. The Aphex Twin-influenced breakdown of ‘Intruder’ is a true standout and a great example of just how many different stylistic paths Moderat could forge in the future.

First official single and one of the more accessible tracks on the record is the beautifully crafted, ‘Reminder’. Using a suspiciously similar sample to the one that provided the backbone to their divisive first single off of II, ‘Bad Kingdom’. Dynamically, like most Moderat tracks, it’s on point. Restrained verses give way to an almost drum n bass styled chorus as Sascha swoons, “Burning Bridges Light My Way”.

Truly organic percussion is littered throughout the record, which can be attributed to Sebastian’s penchant for processing his hours of live field recordings, into his drum sounds. Bringing each song to life. Another key element of what Moderat are all about.

Its electronic music that is full in nature but is never an aural overload. Smart, interesting arrangements harbors unpredictable production and emotionally loaded soundscapes.

With more than a few of their own recycled sounds and ideas here, it’s a record of great moments, incredibly inventive songwriting and expansive peaks and troughs. Unfortunately III contains nothing to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. They’ve set the bar incredibly high for themselves on I, I just hope that they didn’t peak too early.

Rating: ★★★☆

III is available now via Monkeytown Records.

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