Apparat and Modeselektor are two of the leading names in Berlin’s thriving commingling of left-field techno and glitch, so the arrival of the portmanteau Moderat is akin to the launch of a Coke/Pepsi hybrid. Naturally, Moderat finds its constituent parts striking a balance between their respective areas of expertise, but more importantly, Moderat’s songs occupy new ground—a territory where the spacious warmth of ambient music and the claustrophobic chill that typifies dubstep can live in harmony. The opener, “A New Error,” begins with sun-warped tones à la Boards Of Canada, is carried forth on a heavy bass-synth burble, and resolves in the kind of atmosphere usually found on Tim Hecker records. “Seamonkey” plays ominous, like a Flying Lotus track, but it’s even less hip-hop-derived than Modeselektor’s solo work, and instead gets its gravitas from analog sounds. Even the most traditionally dubstep song, “Slow Match,” is typified by its subtlest details—there’s virtually no reliance on bass drops, handclaps, or any other easy percussive crowd-pleaser. Instead, “Porc #1” is built around a nasty guitar line and clackety chopped beats, while the abutting “Porc #2” uses live bass and drums to climb to a panoramic finish. Moderat occasionally get lost in its own soup, and the two tracks where Apparat (a.k.a. Sascha Ring) sings might do better on an album of their own, but this remarkably fluid music proves the group is interested in becoming greater than the considerable sum of its parts.

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