Album review: Moderat, ‘III”

Moderat, the unlikely electronic supergroup of Modeselektor’s Gernot Bonsert and Sebastian Szary and Apparat (Sascha Ring), concludes an evolving, exploratory trilogy with its most cohesive and emotionally involving work. With each record, the German sonic auteurs have expanded their musical reach to reveal unforeseen layers and colors. Here, they even incorporate brass while finding a more refined place between their bass-heavy foundation and warmer astral-pop tendencies. It makes for an often remarkable synthesis of the visceral and ethereal. The nine streamlined, artfully structured songs are patient and less dense, frequently relying on the separation between beats for power. “Reminder” is invitingly spacious, with Ring’s vocals surfing over an intricate rhythmic undertow before majestically cresting. Moderat leans hard toward melodic accessibility on the double shifting, glitchy “Running,” sounding like a contemporary Bronski Beat on steroids. “Animal Trails” slowly builds momentum with bass squalls, staccato drum patterns, and circular, jittery effects all coalescing towards resolution. With spare, elliptical lyrics, the psychodramas “Ghosthunter” and “Intruder” are cryptic yet seductive, apropos of the album’s contrasts and tensions. KEN CAPOBIANCO

ESSENTIAL “Animal Trails”


Ken Capobianco can be reached at