Berlin, Germany has one of the biggest techno scenes in Europe, so when you basically own the German techno scene, you are a pretty big deal. That is exactly what Apparat is. He runs Shitkatapult records, one of Europe’s most prominent electronic labels. The label has released works by T. Raumschmiere, Anders Ilar, CLP, and Kero among others. Apparat is probably best known for his own work though. His mixture of intelligent dance music and glitch has lead him to be a club favorite in Europe. On his DJ-Kicks compilation, Apparat attempts to link together various dance genres like dubstep, IDM, and others.
I will give Apparat this, the man is not afraid of self-promotion. Of all the DJ-Kicks I have reviewed lately, Apparat by far uses the most of his own music. He uses three tracks including the DJ-Kicks exclusive “Sayulita”. The track features Apparat’s signature mix of dance beats and live guitar. The live guitar is a fairly minimalist noodle that reminds me somewhat of U2. The beat that accompanies it is manic but at the same time fairly smooth. The result is a pleasant track that works very well in the context of the mix.
The mix is filled with non-abrasive dance music. The artist list includes Chicago-based duo Telefon Tel Aviv, Germany’s Pantha Du Prince, Tim Hecker, Four Tet and dubstep producers like TRG, Joy Orbison, and Burial. The selection from these artists creates a tapestry that is like the easy listening of dance music.
The other interesting thing that Apparat does is mixes in remixes of non-dance music into the mix. Apparat flawlessly integrates Four Tet’s remix of Born Ruffians‘ “I Need a Life”, Autechre‘s remix of Scorn‘s “Falling”, and Thom Yorke‘s “Harrowdown Hill”. The utilization of these songs gives the compilation a more diverse track listing than most that rely on the same couple of high profile modern electronic artists.
Ultimately, Apparat has perhaps the best track listing of any of the DJ-Kicks released this year but unfortunately it is not the most exciting. The compilation is thick with lush production that allows the listener to get lost into Apparat’s definition of dance music but when it is all over, you feel like you just took an hour long nap. There is nothing overly exciting to jolt you out of the sleepy malaise Apparat puts you in.
MP3: Apparat “Sayulita”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!