Apparat - The Devil's Walk
Apparat mastermind Sascha Ring has made his name peddling a rather brilliant form of woozy techno and electronica, bringing him to collaborate with fellow Berlin natives Modeselektor on the impressive Moderat project. Echoes of that album, particularly the vocal-led lead track ‘Rusty Nails’, can be heard throughout The Devil’s Walk, with Apparat having crafted perhaps his most cohesive album yet.
Having formed almost a band of sorts by enlisting Telefon Tel Aviv’s Joshua Eustis, Fredo Noguerira and Patrick Christensen to contribute to both writing and production, this is an album with far more sonic and emotional depth than previous efforts. While much of The Devil’s Walk is rather downbeat and melancholy, there’s a certain glacial beauty to it with crystalline ambience and choral vocals opening the album and drifting into the throbbing synthetic landscapes and the ricocheting beats of ‘Song Of Los’.
Vocals play a far more prominent part on The Devil’s Walk in comparison to previous efforts, with the first real highlight coming on ‘Black Water’ as Sascha’s softly hushed vocals bring a delicate melodic touch to the layers of distorted fuzz and hypnotic, euphoric sounds. ‘Goodbye’ is another piece of music where the atmosphere becomes far more emotionally affecting with the addition of vocals, supplementing the sharp string sounds and steady stab of piano to creating something that sounds both heart-breaking and urgent.
Employing orchestral flourishes on ‘The Soft Voices Die’ is another seamless and enrapturing element to Apparat’s sound, layering strings over a bed of loops and slowly building percussion before revealing room for Sascha’s vocals to emerge from the dark. The haunting ‘Ash Black Veil’ sees frantic guitar melodies stacked one on top of the other while drums change direction and shoot across the speakers and icy drones weave their way through everything else.
There is not a bad song on The Devil’s Walk, a rare feat in itself, but to be able to bring it together near-perfectly in one consistently wonderful sonic journey is a whole other thing entirely.