Sometimes I press play on this new-fangled electronic music and all I hear is elevator music. Moderat have certainly created something akin to an elevator with their new album II, however here the elevator is the vehicle that encapsulates you and takes you on a totally immersive experience for 53 minutes. With a pair of headphones on, listening to this album is inescapable. The album works incredibly well as a complete sonic journey but it also functions expertly as far as each individual track is concerned. The already released single Bad Kingdom is the gloomy anthem Portishead would be proud of, while Let the Light In is perhaps the most emotional ballad heard in ages.
The impressive sounds of this album are not exactly surprising given Moderat’s super-group status. For the uninformed, Moderat is made up of three musicians: Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary of popular Berlin electronic duo Modeselektor and fellow German musician Sascha Ring a.k.a. Apparat. While Modeselektor are known for their heavy, thumping beats, Apparat is regarded for his striking ambient sounds. When the two are combined you have Moderat, who have, in turn, created an unequivocal fresh sound and style that is uniquely their own utilizing the best of each musician’s talent.
Ultimately, II does everything Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories tried to do with a lavish budget, yet didn’t fully accomplish. Mixing genres, creating new ones. This isn’t an EDM album; it is unconcerned with fads. This album has fully latched into modern technology and created an amalgamation of sounds that flows coherently and effortlessly through and beyond the 21st century.
Milk, the album’s longest track clocking in at over 10 minutes, never overstays its welcome. In fact, close your eyes and before you know it the entire album will have finished its rotation. Just as your mind starts to drift, the music sucks you back in. It’s a powerful album, and it can do powerful things. It glides through moods before moving through genres.
Listening to II elicits similar emotions and reactions to that of when Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange was released. The music presented on both offerings is obviously worlds apart, however Channel Orange demonstrated to the world what R n’ B should sound, and more importantly, feel like. With II, it’s as though the epitome of electronic music has been found, and it’s going to leave the world frothing at the mouth.
This offering demonstrates tremendous growth and is exponentially better than the groups first offering, the aptly titled I. Here a momentum is reached and sustained. Tampered with when desired, all to phenomenal results. It builds you up as it calms you down. II can take you to a raving party, or keep you company alone in your dimly lit bedroom. Wherever and whenever you decide to make use of this album, it is sure to take you on a journey of mind and sound unlike anything else you’ve heard before. I’ve listened to the album numerous times now and each time has held a new experience. The one thing that has remained constant is that upon each listen an exuberant smile has been wide across my face.
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