Those who heard the sophomore album from supergroup Moderat (Modeskeletor + Apparat) aptly titled, “II,” knew where to be on the evening of August 29th. Club Nokia welcomed Moderat and devotees for a very tasteful affair that brought live instruments in order to recreate the atmospheric album. The intimate experience was nothing short of transcendent.
6 months in the making, “II” represents a darker side to the three musical masterminds. It wasn’t easy, says the group. Having three different producer mindsets proved difficult, each with a perfectionist mindset towards what they hoped to achieve with the project. In an interview with Fact TV, the group talked about how the goal of the live show was to be three separate entities, united under the Moderat front, yet still playing the roles that have come to define them in their respective side projects.
An “LED War” as they call it, plagues the industry and strips down a live show to something that detracts from the musical environment. Aesthetics are everything, they say, and they hoped to achieve something that spoke side by side the music they were creating. With that being said, the setup they brought was minimal, yet it brought depth to the three artists on stage. An “X” of screens created four panels to project visuals on that morphed as the music progressed and represented perfectly this heavy album that had the audience entranced. The screens layered behind each other to create a 3-dimensional environment for the music to find its home in, yet you still found time to pay attention to what exactly was happening with the artists musically.
It wasn’t a show you dance to, well, I should say air slap and jump wildly to. Instead, you tried to soak in what it is exactly Moderat wanted you to see, feel, and hear. At times you closed your eyes, swayed back and forth, or just stared dumbfounded with a $20 beer in your hand as all consuming bass transported you into the world of Moderat. The show didn’t go off without a hitch, though, as technical difficulties paused the performance three quarters of the way through, and a quick stint of improvised German stand-up comedy distracted you until the group was able to jump right back into it. This was a live show, they laughed and reminded us, “Was this not what you wanted? Was this not what you had in mind?”
All consuming, luscious and haunting synths layered on top of eachother to create an electronic environment. Affected vocals from Apparat were enlivened by so much bass that even Club Nokia’s properly club-ready system had trouble keeping up at times. Modeselektor was keen to switch things up when appropriate, and took off on beat mashing, repeating, looping and effect tangents, the likes of which we’ve never heard.
A beat was triggered, ripped apart, deconstructed, fragmented into something new, with the artful twisting of just a single knob. The sparse, haunting classics, “A New Error” and “Rusty Nails,” as well as other selections from their first album lay effortlessly against the latest emotive and vocally driven textures of II. They’ve come a long way since the groundbreaking first album, but everything they’ve done on either is positively chill inducing. It’s no wonder these three are the supergroup that has and will continue to speak to the entire community of true electronic music vision and sonic connoisseurship at its finest.
In awe of greatness,
Colby Reis & Steven N. Ewald