Berliner Anstam supporting Moderat kicked off proceedings with some nice dreamy ambient drum n bass, soundscapes and layers of synths meshed with steady but buzzing beats. He had a similar style to that of Tourist who closed the Body & Soul main stage at Electric Picnic last year, I have no doubt that Anstam will surface at one of the smaller electronic festivals in Ireland this year.
Fellow Berliners Moderat were given a great welcome since they last blew Irish audiences away at the Electric Picnic 2009, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife as everyone was so psyched up to see this act.
They kicked off with This Time, the final track in the new album Moderat II, a build up of cadences and backward loops that melts into a musique concrete. Moderat use a lot of industrial sounds but they are also very emotive through the seemingly cold synths, grime and dub steppish too, although completely different from the commercial dub step variety. A New Error from the first album got the pulses going with its throbbing beat and shifted straight into Milk from the new album, a techno crazed train journey with their accompanying visuals displayed on the backdrop screens, fast moving white LED lines moving symmetrically with the sounds and a backward loop ambiance that just keeps building up.
Bad Kingdom, a dub step croon of a track with Apparat giving his first vocal for the night, its another track that keeps the dance energy momentum going strong, well chosen wub wubs adding a strong bassy undercurrent to the track and Apparat’s singing is in fine fettle.
The band revisit the first album for a few numbers, the thumping Seamonkey with its beautiful resonant synthesizer notes, Versions from the new record and back to the first album for Rusty Nails. Rusty Nails is one of my favourite Moderat songs, how do you describe such a song, for me, it has elements of British indie electronic rock from the 1980s with bands like the Pet Shop Boys and New Order with Apparat’s vocal but also influenced by Kraftwerk and the IDM music of Squarepusher and Aphex Twin. The lonely melancholic synth notes that emit after Apparat’s vocal remind me of these same synth notes you hear from Aphex Twin’s first album, Selected Ambient Works 1985 – 92 and the track Schottkey 7th Path but in a much different way of course.
Moderat use a very subtle light show, a lot of the time the stage is quite dark but the lights, art, film and effects are chosen well, when the band play Gita the backdrop shows a shimmering galaxy in space, the stars in the backdrop act like miniature lasers, growing intense as the song reaches its crescendo.
The band finished with three tracks from the new album, Let in the Light and the symphonic Therapy and closing with Damage Done to an rousing audience approval. I can safely say that we might see Moderat back in the Emerald isle before the end of the year for one of the summer festivals, no doubt that Body&Soul Festival and Electric Picnic will be competing in scooping up this band on the bill.