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Walls

Apparat

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Album Review

Having made a considerable splash with the Ellen Allien collaboration Orchestra of Bubbles, Apparat returned to his own path with Walls, a remarkable album that ranks as his best yet. Beginning with the gentle string and vibes beats of "Not a Number" — which in its own melancholy way, combined with the title, suddenly sounds like one of the most humanistic songs yet recorded, passionate in its elegant sorrow — Walls takes a simultaneously familiar and unsettled path. While the continuing impact of disparate strands of music — the fallout of My Bloody Valentine and its many imitators, the electronic obsessions of Warp, the stadium-ready melancholy of early Radiohead and its own horde of followers — has resulted in a 21st century computer music of crushed sorrow; on Walls, Apparat transcends the downbeat limitations of the incipient form with astonishing grace. Hearing how what could be a standard filter-house volume build in "Limelight" becomes a fierce trap for a voice barely understandable, or how the post-Jeff Buckley/Thom Yorke woundedly sweet vocal on "Arcadia" actually means something working alongside the busily frenetic beats make the listener regard familiar approaches in a sudden new light. Meantime, "You Don't Know Me," which appears towards the album's conclusion, might actually be the best song on it. While there are a lot of songs that could be described as soundtracking a nonexistent film, this actually feels like it, strings and a handclap beat creating a pitch-perfect atmosphere to the end of a romantic movie. Raz Ohara's various vocal appearances throughout are nice additions but the highlight is "Hold On," where his perfectly in-the-moment R&B style contrasts the squelching bass and nervous but righteous groove to a T.

Biography

Born: Germany

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Apparat (aka Sascha Ring) co-founded the German imprint Shitkatapult with Marco Haas (aka T. Raumschmiere) in early 1999. However, it wasn't until two years later that he would release his full-length debut, Multifunktionsebene, which quickly caught the attention of IDM fans worldwide. Known for his prolific output, he quickly followed this up with Tttrial and Eror no less than six months later and another full-length, Duplex, followed shortly after that. A slew of remixes and collaborations would...
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Walls, Apparat
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