Moderat

Thirteen years after Gernot Bronsert, Sebastian Szary and Sascha Ring ground out the not-so cryptically titled ‘At The Cost of Health’, it’s a testament to either stubbornness or patience that Moderat made it to album number three.

In many respects, that first arduous attempt set the oscillating tone for everything that followed. With Gernot and Sebastian seemingly a button away from dropping Modeselektor-sized bass bombs, and Sascha a split-second from untethering himself and floating to the clouds, there’s a constant sense of give and take; each element restraining itself to create a special kind of alchemy.

They found it on ‘II’, underpinned by dark, dub-savvy beats and Ring’s wandering, celestial vocals, and here Moderat’s yin/yang dynamic finds an equally elegant balance. Ring’s vocals aren’t as prevalent as they were on the likes of ‘Gita’ but on opener ‘Eating Hooks’ and the downbeat drift of ‘The Fool’, there’s still plenty to showcase the trio’s slow-burning craft.

In the same way that ‘Bad Kingdom’ emerged as ‘II’s understated anthem, this time ‘Reminder’ is the perfect manifestation of Moderat’s Cold War existence. Built on broken beats and blooming electronics, Ring’s vocals flip between warped and beseeching, but constantly head for the heavens. And set alongside the soft-focus calypso of ‘Finder’, it’s a track that also marks the album’s hazy transition into the summer euphoria of ‘Animal Trails’ and ‘Intruder’. Where the former is a street carnival mash of big dub beats and skittish freeform jazz, the former is a postcard of TV festival coverage; a BBC segment capturing the anthemic soundtrack to a setting Glastonbury sun.

An album of highlights, and no shortage of high-gloss production polish, ‘III’ isn’t Moderat’s magic number, but after strained beginnings it’s still a pretty special one.

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