Apparat: Remixes and Parts to Be Frickeled

Huge in both scope and content, Sascha Ring's latest collection splits twenty-two tracks onto two CDs, the first showcasing mixes done for others (e.g, Swayzak's “Smile and Receive,” Lusine's “Drift,” Nitrada's “Fading Away”) and the second remixes done by others of Apparat's work. It's a veritable treasure trove of electronic music-making and if it lacks the cohesiveness of his last full-length Walls it almost makes up for it in its breadth of artistry and styles.

Of course the impact of the first half is to some degree dependent on the quality of the material Ring is working with, and, though his contributions are consistently strong from one piece to the next, some originals are more memorable than others. Regardless, the signature elements of Apparat's sound surface throughout: the kinetic attack, the Technicolor opulence of electronic (synths, beats) and acoustic (piano) design, and the epic feel borne from that maximal approach. There are predictably standouts: spearheaded by a hammering bass synth melody, Boysnoize's pulverizing “Shine Shine” becomes an exercise in sleek electro-aerodynamics. Apparat collaborator Ellen Allien joins in for a stylish makeover of Paul Kalkbrenner's “Queer Fellow” which allows a little bit of funk to seep in to its surging techno flow. A keyboard stutters throughout Nathan Fake's ecstatic “Charlies House,” Ring adds sparkle to the slinky funk of “Bass and Go” by Busdrivers Meteo/Thiel, and disc one closes with an unreleased live version of “Let Your Love Grow” by Moderat (Modeselektor and Apparat) featuring vocals by Tikiman (aka Paul St Hilaire). Despite such notable moments, the first disc's peak tellingly arrives with Apparat's own “Ibiza” remix of his “Fractales” which has lost none of its glorious luster since its first appearance. The song's charging bass line and celestial synths and strings still sound magnificent, and the piano droplets that sweeten the tune's closing moments are lovely.

A key selling point of disc two is that all of the remixes appear on CD for the first time. Telefon Tel Aviv gives Apparat and Raz Ohara's “Komponent” a dreamy overhaul that's true to the lush TTA production style, and then later shifts gears with the electro styling of an overlong “Arcadia” mix. Thomas Fehlman and Lusine, respectively, turn in a mobile dub-techno mix of “Schallstrom” and a slow-funk treatment of “Contradiction” that linger in one's memory. “Steinholz” becomes a full-fledged Monolake track once Robert Henke's done adding Monolake's signature motorik attack and machine textures to it. In the second half, there are mostly highs and a few, if not lows, then not-so-highs: one of the best moments arrives when Chris De Luca vs. Phon.O turn Apparat and Raz Ohara's “Holdon” into a sexy Prince-styled party-funk jam; by contrast, Modeselektor's otherwise fine pulsating electro-funk version of “Holdon” is marred by the silly inclusion of a gravelly vocal. The set ends with a melodramatic, Rhodes-based “A Minor” version of “Holdon” which puts Ohara's soulful vocal front and center. There's lots to recommend about Remixes and Parts to Be Frickeled, then, though it's admittedly more of an odds'n'sods collection designed to help tie Apparat listeners over until the Walls follow-up.

April 2008