A fascinating but occasionally frustrating experience.
Chris Power 2010
German producer, DJ and co-founder of the Shitkatapult record label, Apparat (real name Sascha Ring) has claimed that his style is "to not really have a style". This quality is partly what makes his discography such a varied one: from the Silizium EP’s blend of grainy electronica and live chamber orchestra instrumentation to the widescreen circuit board-pop of Walls and his collaborations with Ellen Allien (Orchestra of Bubbles) and Modeselektor (last year’s Moderat). It’s also what makes his contribution to the enduring DJ-Kicks mix series a fascinating but occasionally frustrating experience.
Ring calls this mix "a résumé for [the] club chapter in my life", suggesting that he’s hanging up the headphones. The set certainly suggests that his most interesting moves lie, if not away from the dancefloor, then on its more eclectic fringes. The best programming occurs in spells that skirt an adrenalized sort of melancholy: in the mix’s best sequence the compact breakbeat of Autechre’s FR 13 mix of Scorn’s Falling gives way to the glimmering bleeps and cut-up vocals of Four Tet’s remix of Born Ruffians’ I Need a Life. These in turn recede into the stately choral drift of Pantha du Prince’s Welt am Draht, which bleeds slowly away before Burial + Four Tet’s autumnal Moth wells up from the stripped down dub techno of Phon.o’s Intervall.
Straight after Moth, however, comes the electro house of Vincent Markowski’s The Madness of Moths, sounding every but as unremarkable now as it did in 2006. It’s the only really poor record here, but it’s a mood-souring misstep. The mix’s other flaws lie not with track selection, which is mostly impeccable, but with the sometimes awkward ebb and flow between the upfront techno of tracks like 69’s Rushed and Patrice Bäumel’s tech-house earworm Sub, and more reflective work along the lines of Luke Abbott’s ambient techno, Thom Yorke’s plaintive Harrowdown Hill, and the euphoric glitch of Oval (whose Legendary and TV Power both feature).
As DJ-Kicks tradition dictates, Ring contributes an exclusive track of his own. Sayulita, as with his older track Circles, which begins the mix, is structured around trance chord patterns, but here they come wrapped in swathes of Cocteau Twins-like guitar before the track shifts gears into a funk break. Like the mix of which it’s a part, it’s an odd, interesting collision of styles that works, more or less.