Apparat’s contribution to the !K7 DJ-Kicks series begins with one of his own: “Circles” is a brief dalliance with jangly outland bells and the very ethos of night music that charges this mix with exultance and with eeriness: the sort of mood that befits the techno of labels like Ghostly International, and one that feels quite at home in a car stereo while driving through the city at night. 69’s “Rushed” falls quickly into the space carved by “Circles” to slink amid the drums. A smashing Carl Craig techno sequence, this track from 1993’s Sound on Sound deserves to be played twice. Five minutes in and we’re in awe of Telefon Tel Aviv’s “Lengthening Shadows”. It gets better, still. Apparat again, Oval, and others dip briefly into the fray, and Pantha Du Prince masters that Ghostly sound I mentioned before.
Much of the music creeks and slithers by, underfoot or beneath your floorboards. There are reverberant moments, bright moments, brief sections of the mix that shuffle and leave you wondering of their exact points of entry and exit. For this, it could be considered a weakness, the streak of two-minute selections that litter the end of the first-quarter, odd inclusions that coalesce into one sparse section of mostly melodic percussion. Scorn’s “Falling (Ae Rmixx)” posits the old guard: Autechre rattles their bit-crushed heads across an old dub tune, ending the interruption of all the brief attenders.
Our host treats us twice to Four Tet: first in a Born Ruffians mix, but second, and most welcomingly, in “Moth”, 2009’s collaboration with dubstep mystique Burial. The feathery 4/4 haunter is still good, even when showcased by the songs that surround it. Its transition into V Markowski’s “Madness of Moths”, fittingly placed, leads us somewhere more consciously percussive, stomping club-like and gathering in the dust of Ramadanman’s bouncy “Tempest”. Still pulling from the recent past, Apparat gives us, in an awkward fade, Thom Yorke’s “Harrowdown Hill”(2006). “I’m comin’ home / I’m comin’ home,” Yorke sings. You know the lyrics. It’s a slight distraction, perhaps because much of what we’ve heard so far is nearly foreign when bookended with tech-wonders like Martyn and Patrice Baumel. But there’s soulful omen in Yorke’s familiar verse: We’re near the finish, now, jostling past climax.
Apparat’s close is perhaps as equally interesting as his start. The mix as a whole is quite strong overall, but its midsection fumbles through too much techno, much of it too brief or cantankerous to be the locus to which we want to ascend and fall deftly away from. Joy Orbison’s “Shrew Would Have Cushioned the Blow” moves us onto the end, waving its constant chordal sequence, the gasping girl, its perfect broken beat. Apparat himself comes again: “Sayulita (DJKicks)” is energetic and darkly hopeful. By the time we reach Tim Hecker, who chills and leads us out to a place elsewhere of some 5AM Ibiza sunset, there is only his academic noise, the washes of muffled feedback that drift as if after this long streak, these twenty-three tracks of rhythm and conflict and pleasingly skittish dissonance, we should pause and wait for something else: “Borderlands” tells us so, in drone. Apparat, somewhere behind his decks or his laptop, pleased, rests.