LP5 is the 6th studio album from German electronic artist Apparat. It is a balm for a troubled world: at once relaxing, invigorating, and simply beautiful. Fans of Apparat’s side project as part of supergroup Moderat will find things to love in Apparat’s more downtempo, more organic sound; however, similarly, Apparat fans will likely see the continued growth of the unique, talented artist that is Sascha Ring.
Things kick off with the somewhat meandering “Voi Do,” a reflective piece that seems almost a screengrab of different (aural) media. Its vocal track sits over an almost-but-not-quite haphazard mix of beats, claps, acoustic riffs, and snippets of sound that feel as though they were grabbed from the surroundings in which the track was made. The result is a song that ends leaving the listener ready to take off; a trail of musical breadcrumbs has been laid, requiring growth.
Thankfully, the second track – “Dawan” – doesn’t disappoint. It immediately draws the listener in with an urgent heartbeat of driving bass and accompanying drums that slowly crescendo into a steaming pulse. This, in turn, is overlaid with an achingly beautiful synth line, echoey xylophone-like rings, and ethereally airy vocals. Ring’s signature vocal riffs intrude gracefully into the sonic landscape, punctuation marks in the warm embrace of the instrumental tracks. As the song continues to build, a funky bassline and vocoded, Moderat-like vocals add yet more layers of warm, organic depth to the song.
“Laminar Flow,” pulls back from the energy of “Dawan,” only ramping up against with a seething, dark undercurrent late in the song – in time to roll into “Heroist,” one of the album’s standout pieces. Through a background of rhythmic shadows, eerie layers compete with Ring’s voice to take the listener down a wandering path that is one part “Stranger Things,” another part crime thriller.
“Means of Entry” and “Brandenburg” take the listener into more meditative, calm waters, drifting in atmospheric rumination hinting at things unknown. This spell is continued, if perhaps more exuberantly and with an undercurrent of hope and an air of need, by the orchestral (lite) “Caronte.” In this, violin and cello gracefully support Ring’s vocals, dancing along until augmented by grimy synth sounds and pulsating rhythm.
“EQ Break” returns again to sonic musings, to be followed by “Outlier,” a lovely pause before the refreshing energy of album closer “In Gravitas.” With almost no vocals and a heavy reliance on the drum tracks, the track left this listener with a strong desire to see this LP extended, to carry the story forward.
LP5 is a solid effort by a vital musician, worthy of multiple listens – ideally, with no distractions, and complemented by a glass of wine or tea and some low lighting.