Sometimes it’s very easy to write these reviews, as I know the artists extremely well, and the words just seem to flow. Other times require a little more research. This one falls into the latter category. I know literally nothing about Apparat beyond the fact that they’re on Mute Records (good enough for starters) and I think I might have come across one of the tracks for free prior to buying the album.
Then, to my surprise, I found the album in the bargain bin of my local record store, and decided it would be rude not to, and that’s how I ended up with The Devil’s Walk in my hands.
The album opens with the pleasant almost choral and orchestral sound of Sweet Unrest, before launching into Song of Los, one of the stronger tracks on the album. With its throbbing synth bass and slightly dubby drums, it’s really rather charming, although it does seem to be approaching electronic music from slightly more of a rock angle than I’m normally accustomed to.
Black Water is wonderfully atmospheric and rippling. I’ve no idea what the singer is banging on about, but it’s a great track, which might fit beautifully somewhere in the middle of some epic rock album just as well as it does here. It ends with the steady sound of rain trickling down roofs.
Goodbye has a similarly epic quality, with a piano chord every couple of seconds, shimmering strings, and bizarre atmospherics. The vocal is a little more discernable, making this a stronger track for me. Candil de la Calle follows, an absolutely beautiful track with manic percussion and more shimmering backing. You can picture this track hiding somewhere on a film soundtrack, while something very emotional happens on screen – Apparat clearly have a talent for deep and dark atmospherics.
On closer inspection, Apparat turns out to be a he rather than a they. Sascha Ring released his debut album Multifunktionsebene in 2001, and ten years on The Devil’s Walk is, as far as I can make out, his sixth, and also his first release on Mute.
The Soft Voices Die, largely an instrumental, is curiously one of the most “pop” tracks on the album, powered by an upbeat string section. Escape is a return to the softer, more atmospheric sound of earlier tracks. With often ambiguous or indecipherable lyrics, it’s difficult to put some of this album into words, but there’s not a single unpleasant track on here.
The curiously titled Ash/Black Veil is next up, opening with a strangely powerful arpeggiated sound, and gently mixing in piano and strings. It builds gradually into an extremely strong and affecting track with a waily vocal, and is really rather beautiful. A Bang in the Void is a more repetitive, rhythmic track, bringing us gently towards the end of the album.
Finally, Your House is My World turns up to close the album in similarly atmospheric means, with its acoustic guitars, strings, and curious percussion. Rather sweetly, it ends with one of the few discernable lyrics on the whole album – “Will you house my world within yours?” All in all, even if I may have struggled to find words to express it, listening to The Devil’s Walk was a fascinating learning experience, but one which I would heartily recommend.
You can find The Devil’s Walk on iTunes and all the other usual places.