Apparat’s Sascha Ring has had a number of phases in his development as a producer. In the mid 2000s, he was part of a wave of glitchy techno producers working (& playing) out of Berlin. He forged collaborations and released a number of heady dance music albums with Ellen Allien and Modeselektor (under the name Moderat.) While working on his new material, he traveled the world as a DJ, mixing dubstep with elements of more pastoral, psychedelic electronic music from artists like Four Tet and Telefon Tel Aviv. Last year he released a great DJ-Kicks compilation which is a fantastic primer and indicator of the direction he was going in for his brand new album, “The Devil’s Walk.”

In the process of recording between DJ events, he developed a tone that sounds like a warm, organic escape from the dark, night-time thump of clublife.  The atmospherics on that DJ-Kicks’ ”Sayulitawould materialize into the gauzy, cinematic essence of his fantastic new album, “The Devil’s Walk.” The album has a wide-eyed, awe-inspired quality that’s reminiscent of artists like Sigur Ros or Bjork, but, what truly sets Ring apart is his uncanny ability to weave together layers of textured sound. From start to finish, the album throbs, twitches, and breathes with echoed tape sounds and static layered over sounds of falling rain and wind layered over vulnerable vocals that make it feel like a living thing. Although Ring has stated the album is inspired by Shelley’s poem, “The Devil’s Walk,” the songs ”Song of Los,” “Black Water,” or “Candil de la Calle,” have a sublime longing that are the musical equivalent of  Wordsworth’s “Daffodils.”

Apparat has created the kind of album that stops you in your tracks and makes you look to the skies and take it all in. An album that is one of this year’s best releases, a lovely work that although different from the driving techno of his previous work is just as intricately crafted, and intensely heartfelt.

Apparat – Black Water by Mute UK

Additionally, you can listen to the album in it’s entirety thanks to NPR’s “First Listen.”  

-Mario Cotto 

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