Apparat - The Devil’s Walk (Mute)

With the turning of the seasons, Berliner Sascha Ring – aka Apparat – brings us an album redolent of autumnal melancholy and portents of winter chill. Yet this 10-song set is as uplifting in its own way as kicking your way through a pile of technicolour leaves.

Released Oct 13th, 2011 via Mute / By Norman Miller
Apparat - The Devil’s Walk (Mute) Ring's palette relies heavily on mournful keyboard, compelling acoustic tinkles and hypnotic electronic washes of sound, often spliced together in gorgeous fragments beneath a vocal delivery that at the best moments echoes the cool croon of someone like David Sylvian. Fans of Americana might also join forces here with admirers of other purveyors of Teutonic downbeat beauty Ms John Soda and Notwist.

'Escape' sees Ring's voice sounding both frail and strong as it glides above a hesitant wash of electronica mixed with slow cello, while 'Your House Is My World' is a ravishing uke-backed croon against shards of piano. 'Goodbye' blends loping pulses and the tinkling of chimes in an electronic breeze with the throaty swoon of Anja Plaschg's guest vocal.

There's a confident mastery of contrast too on other tracks. Swooping strings interplay with Mogwai-esque hypnotic keyboard on 'The Soft Voices Die', while a slow stately vocal on 'Ash Black Veil' sits effortlessly on top of an urgent underlay of keyboard tinkles and hoedown-y fiddling.

A couple of tracks come cut from a slightly different musical cloth. 'Candil de la Calle' brings in skittering dubstep rhythms after its wheezy squeezebox intro, while the excellent 'A Bang In The Void' combines looping drone and glockenspiel percussion that could be Steve Reich.

All in all, a thrilling melange of textures and tempo to savour.