Apparat
Duplex
Shitkatapult
2003
B-



the flow of information is being disturbed. This morse code is not working any longer. This transmission is being intercepted. It’s being taken and crafted. And molded. And built into something far greater and more satisfying than the simplicity we had in mind. There are more shades of meaning being dispersed, more feelings to be evoked, more, more, more. This is Apparat’s view, at least: that more is better. And I’m inclined to agree.

We begin Apparat’s second LP, Duplex with a simple morse code-esque sine wave reminiscent of Sogar. Soon enough we have a pile-on of digital debris added to this simple opening. A martial beat. Mangled and ripped strings. A melody drawn out from the original sine-wave. It’s all the same sort of information that we had at the beginning, just arranged on top of one another, constructed, molded and- more importantly- handled with care of the greatest of plastic surgeons.

Take the grandiose mass of process of the first track, “Granulated Bastard,” then, and apply it to every track? Not quite. The aptly titled “Contradiction” opens with a lilting wavering guitar and, presumably, Apparat’s (Sascha Ring) own voice, singing a sweet and affecting song. The process is still there- the drums skitter and fall of the ends of the table, but this time they fall far away from one another allowing for avenues of entry for the listener. Ring’s voice comes across clearly, unaffected by processing, as though there is nothing going on underneath or around him. It’s one of the finest tracks on the release, if for the simple fact that it exemplifies far more plainly Ring’s ability to restrain himself and concentrate on mood, rather than simply bludgeoning the listener into submission.

For the most part, the tracks alternate in this fashion- Ring tends to favor neither format over another and the release is easily stronger for it. And while there are highlights- “Schallstrom”’s asian tinge, “Wooden”’s deadening bass beat and the saxophones and clarinets of “Negro Modelo” all serve as testaments to his versatility- it would be hard to regard any of the songs on the disc lowlights. There are simply too many hidden pleasures and unheard elements that make this disc demand multiple listens.

But there is little that can be done to convince you here. It’s certain that you’ve heard the story about the artist that uses and abuses Max/MSP, but maintains a strict sense of melodic and song writing skill. Don’t believe what you’ve read. Listen for yourself.
Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2003-09-30
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