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Monday, June 04, 2007

Apparat - Walls

Apparat, aka Berlin's Sascha Ring, has had one hell of a year. His collaboration with Ellen Allien, the critically acclaimed album Orchesta of Bubbles, forged electrifying new connections between techno, electro and pop music. They developed the material into an electrifying live show that wowed clubs and festival audiences the world over. Apparat kept honing his solo show at the same time, delivering a powerful electro / techno laptop attack that would leave crowds twitching in its wake. And somewhere, in between all those activities, he managed to record Walls, his first solo studio album since 2003's Duplex. Despite its title, Walls isn't about dividing lines. Instead, it describes a circle that pulls many elements together into a protected, enclosed space where they jostle and roam free: strings and mallet instruments; rock guitar and gravelly sawtooth synths; stuttering digital percussion and muscular studio drumming. "This record isn't really a focused and conceptual production," says Apparat. "It's more of a 'last-two-years of Apparat compilation.' That's why there's so much different stuff on it, a lot of different influences. What can I do - when I worked with Ellen we had a certain amount of time and a plan of what we wanted to do. When I made Walls I was just collecting some of the best ideas out of a folder with around 70 unfinished tracks, and finished them." In fact, all of Walls could be, perhaps should be, considered pop - but call it pop by any other means. Apparat has melded his genius as a sound designer with his growing songwriting talents to craft 14 songs brimming with ideas, energy, texture, light, color. They are hummable, embraceable, swimmable, possibly edible. They feel as ephemeral as clouds and as solid as the ground you're standing on - a fitting contradiction for a record that draws equally from software and acoustic instrumentation. Maybe Walls takes its title in reference to Phil Spector's famous "wall of sound," because listening to the record it's easy to imagine a massive sonic surface that first looms before you and then lets you pass through, pliant and porous. in Shitkatalpult


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