Techno supergroup Moderat went on hiatus in 2017, following three studio albums and a highly successful tour that culminated in a sold-out Berlin homecoming show, documented on their 2016 Live release. Modeselektor and Apparat remained active with their own projects, but when COVID-19 put a halt to live performances in 2020, the artists had nothing else to do but work on music. Apparat released a series of soundtrack albums, while Modeselektor produced the 27-track mixtape Extended, as well as a series of EPs and the unmixed EXTLP. The trio also worked on new Moderat material, retooling their compositional methods as they became reacquainted with collaborating together. With no touring plans for anyone in sight, the material on More D4ta (an anagram of "Moderat 4") ended up being less anthemic and festival-ready than the group's past efforts, and more expressive of fear and isolation. Apart from the sprawling "Neon Rats," sort of a progressive house cousin to II's still-stunning minimal techno epic "Milk," the majority of More D4ta's tracks are concise tunes with a paranoid edge. "Easy Prey" is one of Sascha Ring's most upfront vocal showcases on the album, and his anxious, vulnerable verses are punctuated with a dazzling, glitchy refrain. "Undo Redo" matches jittery modular synth textures with one of Ring's most David Gahan-worthy performances, and "Doom Hype" is a similarly thrilling update of Depeche Mode's gloomy electro-pop. "More Love" is steadily paced yet urgent, extensively repeating the phrase "From lost to loved and back again," and "Copy Copy" expresses the dehumanization of being cut off from the outside world, driving the point home with electronically cloaked vocals during the song's midsection. More D4ta is Moderat's most introverted album, artfully expressing the tension of lockdown and facing an uncertain future.
More D4ta Review
by Paul Simpson