Much like the naked mole rat, the wrinkly rodent native to parts of east Africa, Berlin supergroup Moderat has spent six months underground. In their case, in the studio, honing ‘II’.
Yet despite the insistence of Modeselektor’s Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary, and Apparat’s Sascha Ring, that the trio “aged about 10 years” while making ‘II’, “not seeing any sunshine or daylight for a long time”, this set sounds fresh and soundsystem-ready. It’s no dusty old LP discovered in a Sub-Saharan burrow.
The follow-up to 2009’s eponymous full-length sees the trio bigger and badder than ever. ‘II’ emerges, blinking, as a widescreen number, flooded with new ideas and exciting twists and turns. It is a much more immediate and melodic collection, albeit one that simultaneously pays its respects to post-rock.
‘The Mark (Interlude)’ is our introduction, a wash of dark, dubby bass, while ‘Versions’ works with dark, Burial-like percussion. The gleaming standout of the whole experience, however, is ‘Let In The Light', a glorious, uplifting slice of soaring synth-work complete with a ghostly melody line that’ll infect you for a good while.
Other highlights include ‘Bad Kingdom’ – a bellowing number, set over minimalist percussion – and ‘Ilona’, a seven-headed hydra of hollowed cries and unrelenting kick drums.
So thank goodness that the trio did finally emerge from that burrow – and that they’ve proved to be immune to the curse of the “difficult second album”. ‘II’ is an absolute masterpiece of dancefloor work.
Words: Felicity Martin
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