Release Date: Sep 27, 2011
Record label: Mute US
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance
When accomplished electronic music producers speak of making proper songs instead of tracks -- most ominously, there’s the one-two punch of “Dance music bores me now” and “I’m getting a band together” -- it’s usually a good time to tune out. While Sascha Ring is guilty of all three and has backed it up with The Devil’s Walk, an album completely divorced from the dancefloor and glitch/IDM, the shift has been gradual, not abrupt, and he happens to be composing some of the most evocative, finely detailed music of his decade-long career. No need to think back to the most organic song on 2007’s Walls, the sapless and malformed “Over and Over,” and prepare for more of the same; these songs, sometimes built on little more than strings, soft keyboard tones, and supple textures, are sturdy and fully developed.
Berlin's Sascha Ring, aka Apparat, has lately been captivated by "the old-school 'songs' thing", though his interpretation is informed by the electro/shoegaze he worked in before. A Bang in the Void, with its looped drones and tinkles, is pure systems music, in fact. Yet most of The Devil's Walk works melody and quietly needy vocals on to Ring's spacious electronic canvas.
Germany’s Sascha Ring (aka Apparat) is a musician whose work shows a distinct evolution in its style and purpose. 2003’s Duplex is a frenetic mix of hard sound, electronic beats, and scissoring symphonies. It’s an album centered on chaos, and it distinguished Apparat as a musician who brings true imagination and vision to his work. He isn’t just about making you want to dance; he wants you to feel, to sync with the music he so passionately and vividly creates.
What is the state of electronic music in 2011? It’s a big question. In order to answer it, you might look first to the mainstream, where synths and Auto-Tune have overrun the pop landscape (seriously, even Maroon 5 has succumbed at this point). Or you might look at the dubstep scene, which has only been around for a decade or so but already spawned a “post-” movement, led by wunderkind James Blake.
Apparat's Sascha Ring has kept busy the last few years with various mixes and side projects-- an entry into the DJ-Kicks series, his Moderat collaboration with fellow Berliners Modeselektor-- but hasn't released a proper solo album since 2007's Walls. That record, which brought together electro-shoegaze sweep with a vocal-driven pop approach, felt like a breakthrough for him. In place of the dance-floor glitch of his early-2000s work were songs with hooks, and his sense of lush atmosphere gave them a certain weight and grandiosity.
In music terms, walking with the devil is just another name for selling out. What does the devil want from you as you walk hand-in-hand, negotiating quick and safe passage to the fiery underworld? He wants you to accept that success can only be measured by the accumulation of personal fortune. He wants you to capitulate to the lure of pretty much everything beyond the parenthesis of simple artistic integrity.
Berlin producer aims to move hearts rather than fill dancefloors. Chris Power 2011 Berlin-based producer Sascha Ring, aka Apparat, positioned his DJ Kicks mix, released in 2010, as a farewell to the dancefloor-focussed section of his career. His label Shitkatapult continues to release house and techno, but with The Devil’s Walk Ring appears to have abandoned tracks that aim to move bodies in favour of songs that aim to move hearts.