II picks up exactly where Moderat left off on their 2009 self-titled debut. Separately, the trio has expanded on their individual projects; Modeselektor have dug themselves deeper into the hole that is abrasive hardware-based electronic music, whereas Apparat has planted himself at the crossroad of IDM and pop. For a decade now, Gernot Bronsert, Sascha Ring, and Sebastian Szary have had a creative relationship, and as their independent projects have taken shape so has the direction of Moderat. II leans heavily on immediacy, as most pop records do. Much like its predecessor, it is rife with full-fledged songs and compositions. However, the backbone of the music is rooted in techno and an undeniable appreciation for garage.
Moderat waste no time letting the listener know sounds from their 2009 self-titled album are old news. The album’s early cuts, “Bad Kingdom” and “Let The Light In,” feature an unusually confident Ring on the mic, over an instrumental that is the electronic equivalent of stadium-sized indie rock. It’s a whirlwind of buzzing and hushed pads. The make up of “Let The Light In” makes it one of Moderat’s stronger songs; it almost sounds as though they’ve sampled chords in a ’90s house style, but the end result is a crisp stab rather than warm hum. From those songs alone, its obvious they’ve come to terms with where they’d like to take the project.
At the same time, their pasts still glare with tracks like “Milk” and “Ilona,” which toy with their ability to craft lengthy droning techno pieces and menacing beats. “Ilona” is especially memorable in the way its melodies are quietly introduced; it’s as if it is a slow-drip IV of ambience is being funneled into the track. The group has not only improved on the directness of their music, but this album flows in a more continuous stream than their previous effort. Consuming II in pieces almost feels wrong; it lends itself to being listened to in one fell swoop.