Apparat: Shapemodes
Neo Ouija

When not administering Shitkapult, the label he shares with T. Raumschmiere or collaborating with Modeselektor under the Moderat moniker, Sascha Ring finds time to release music under his Apparat guise, a case in point the EP Shapemodes. Oddly, its six exercises in glitchy IDM were created in 2001 and to some degree it shows. Ring often juxtaposes nervous electronic skitter with slower beat patterns which is usually effective but can grate when taken to extremes; there's an excess of incessant clatter in “Get Out Of Your Krib” and the melancholy organ tones in the amelodic “Scissors And Saxophones” are almost drowned out by manic beat patterns. The suitably spacey “Solaris” is better, as Ring nicely pairs crackling beats with dubby keyboards that furiously pan like asteroids racing past a shuttle window. Even better are “Riding,” featuring Marit Posch's soft, breathy vocals in a style that's less cloying than Múm and less mannered than Julee Cruise, and “Radau” whose bold array of whirrs, thrums, and primal rhythms suggests a promising future direction for Apparat. And a more original direction is definitely needed, as Shapemodes sometimes comes across (on “Sinus,” for example) as Autechre-lite: insufficiently experimental and explorative, and too derivative.

October 2004