Taken from Moderat's recent II album, "Bad Kingdom" gets turned inside out by Marcel Dettmann and Rene Pawlowitz. It's no surprise that the Berghain resident's version is the most frenetic and abrasive; over a high-tempo groove, Dettmann delivers screeching riffs, jarring percussion and high-pitched vocal yelps. Just when the listener couldn't imagine it getting more intense, he drops the madness volume down with a sensuous woodwind break down. By contrast, Pawlowitz's version as Head High is far less viceral. Based on a dubby house groove, it leads into tranced out chords and a soulful vocal - but it isn't a completely smooth ride, and a humming bass ensures this version also has dance floor clout.
Given the hype that surrounded the release of the first Moderat set back in 2009, we can surely expect more of the same for this second outing from Apparat and Modeselektor. Those familiar with the first album's woozy blend of IDM, Thom Yorke indebted vocal dreaminess, porchlight techno and post-dubstep rhythms will immediately feel right at home. Online reviews have focused largely on II's atmospheric warmth, and the way in which the Berlin-based trio seems to have refined their sound. Both are valid critiques; certainly, there's a maturity and musical complexity to the album that betters much of their previous works. It's not much of a dancefloor set, but that's entirely the point; this is locked-in headphone listening for the wide-eyed generation.