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.
Four years later, Apparat experimented with mellow, precise beats on Walls, venturing away from the comfort of electronica to a sound more typical of Muse. Many of the tracks revealed a more organized artist, one who was starting to understand his ambitions and how to achieve them.
Devil’s Walk, then, is a mastery of this talent; “Sweet Unrest” is a resoundingly beautiful first track. It’s a notable beginning to an album swept with melodious melancholy, ambiance, and raw emotion. From “Sweet Unrest” to the album’s last track, “Your House Is My World”, the inspiration behind Devil’s Walk feels intimate. This is not a work of naÃ¯veté. It’s through his personalized sound, through his artfully crafted lyrics, that he shares his deepest wisdom.
It’s a well varied effort; “Song of Los” and “Black Water” sound like a revival of New Wave, a mix between John Maus, Cut Copy, and The Smiths, with “The Soft Voices Die” resuming the ambient soundscape Apparat is ultimately striving for. It’s completely unlike anything Apparat has created before and is a winning account of an artist who knows his audience and understands his own creative range. He can now place himself among artists who not only experiment, but evolve, who not only instigate, but inspire. Devil’s Walk is not an attempt at a new sound. It’s an exposition of how to create a new sound and how to do it at a level that connects with the listener.
Essential Tracks: “Sweet Unrest” and “The Soft Voices Die”