There is a common trap that artists fall into when recording full length albums, which stems from a natural desire to create hit singles and situate them within a greater piece of work. While many of their contemporaries create LPs that, as a result of this desire, feel disjointed and lacking in continuity, Moderat instead have created song structures that give III a more complete vibe.
There are less stand-out tracks on the album than most, but the result is that there is just as much, if not more satisfaction in listening to the LP as a whole as there is listening to individual tracks off it.
III is the third and possibly final chapter for a group whose first album was made up of songs written individually by band members Gernot Bronsert, Sebastian Szary and Sasha Ring. Their second album II, saw the members become closer in their collaborating, and this has culminated in their best work yet for this third record.
The LP as a whole is built around tracks that tend not to exist within conventional song structures, but rather are aural emotive descriptors of soundscapes, conveying feelings rather than specific ideas.
Vocals are generally not featured, but rather occur as simply another element of a bigger picture of emotive aural ideas. This emotional pull is paired with incredible sensory imagery built around the use of electronic instruments to achieve a diversity of sound more frequently associated with orchestral music.
The track with arguably the least convention structure is that which opens the LP, Eating Hooks. It begins with an opening minute that is deprived of all melody and rhythm, populated only by the occasional effect or sample. The remainder of the track plays off this desolate beginning, using high pitched dissonant samples to cut through any building melodies in instrumentation or vocals, almost as a reminder of the fact that the track itself, much like the band, is populating a space a space that was once just seemingly random sounds.
One of the absolute highlights is Ghostmother which features Moderat’s usual vocalist Sascha Ring more extensively than any of the other tracks, but also sees the other two band members Bronsert and Szary on backing vocals for the first time. Although the track fits in well with the general dynamic and overarching soundscape created over the duration of the record, this track creates a unique choral imagery that culminates in a climax where the band goes almost fully a capella. By virtue of running for almost six minutes, potential harmonies between vocal layers are explored extensively.
Other tracks that are created in a more typically Moderat style include Finder, which crafts an emotive journey within a soundscape that rises and falls through varying intensities of dynamics and instrumentation, with short vocal samples signifying chordal changes.
The Fool centres on an abrasive, upper registered synth. Various electronic resonances fill lower, middle and upper registers of sound, and this aural imagery makes for a very brooding and contemplative emotional sensitivity.
It is fitting then that the record concludes with the slow soundscape that is Ethereal. The title of the track is an apt description of the track, as emotive synths wash over occasional percussive elements, topped with smooth, echoic vocals. It ends what is in every sense a journey undertaken by the ears of the listener.
‘III’ is out April 1st and you can grab a copy here.