After their 2009 self-titled debut, the minimal techno supergroup Moderat took four years off, once again splitting into Modeselektor (Gernot Bronsert, Sebastian Szary) and Apparat (Sascha Ring) for studio work. Still, worldwide tours and festival appearances built the Berlin-based collective's brand during that time, making this sophomore release highly anticipated, besides being modestly titled. Delivering the goods, the excellent II bounces between these two worlds with substance and style, as the loose dub session "Versions" suggests a hypnotic, hazy, hang session from the trio, while off-world R&B numbers like "Let in the Light" and "Therapy" come with some of that supergroup polish, mashing up the worlds of James Blake and Justin Timberlake, and dragging the results underground. So much of II sounds subterranean, as the dark "Damage Done" drips and echoes like a sewer, and then there's the shuffling house number named "Milk," which feels like ten minutes of snorkeling in rich, creamy butterfat. "Bad Kingdom" is the rare moment the album embraces sunshine with vocals that are uplifting, contrasting with dubsteppy bass drops that are beach worthy, but still, there's the ebb and flow of the song's rhythm, which is like the deep, vast ocean nearby. The album straddles genres, borrows the best bits of reggae, indie, techno, and glitch, and you'd even consider the song selection varied, yet the group's love of music that floats holds all these little bits together. II is the kind of crafted album you just don’t expect from a supergroup or side project as it matches, and maybe even tops, the work of its individual parties.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries