Moderat II

The album art that adorns Moderat's II features a Daniel Clowes-esque illustration of a conservatively dressed man in the midst of pulling off, or putting on, a wild-haired mask. Either way, this scenario works as a fitting metaphor for the microhouse super-group's sophomore release. Once again pairing Germany's Apparat with countrymen duo Modeselektor, II sheds Moderat's shaggy, loose grooves while adding freer, more impulsive melodies to their brand of glitchy IDM. Pulling from R&B's gutturally smooth delivery and ambient house's shadowy sunbursts, much of II plays off the ebb and flow created by layered beats and superimposed rhythms. Anchored by the sublimely gooey "Bad Kingdom," featuring yacht rock vocals and airy synth lines, II never approaches the mountainous beats found within their earlier material, as tracks like "Milk" and "Damage Done" instead find themselves sonically involved in mood and texture. On II, Moderat have created an evolving piece of art that manages to both reference and reinvent their respective musical blueprints. (Mute)