Friday, December 30, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #21: "Goodbye" -- Apparat feat. Soap & Skin

Sometimes the best records of the year are the ones that slip through the cracks of public consciousness -- just ask Germany-based electronic artist Sascha Ring. As Apparat, Ring released The Devil's Walk this year, an album that almost no one talked about. Hell, we even received the record at ACRN and put it into consideration at the music meeting, and it was turned down with little more than a 30-second listen.

And that's a shame, a real shame -- because The Devil's Walk is required listening for anyone out there that considers themselves an electronic music fan -- especially, I'd wager, if you have any sort of love for James Blake. I'm not saying they're exactly the same; I'm just saying that the kind of person who likes Blake is probably going to enjoy Apparat as well.

"Goodbye" is possibly the record's most well-known song, if there is one. It was featured in Breaking Bad's season 4 finale (Gus Fring's death), after all -- so that's something. This honor is greatly deserved, as "Goodbye" is one of those songs that simply sounds as though it should be set to a scene of a TV show or movie.

The intro to the song features strange stringed instruments before Ring's whispered vocal comes in: "Let's go into bed / And turn out the light." From there comes singular strikes of piano, and soon after, Ring's understated, hushed voice.

At the chorus, the song comes into its own. "Neither ever, nor never, goodbye," sings Ring against a rising choir of strings and backing vocals, with the sound of thunder appearing occasionally in the background.

"Goodbye" is one of Apparat's quieter songs, but also one of his most beautiful. Atmospheric and moody, it captures the drama of the occasion while refusing to resort to overblown tendencies. Such is the music of Apparat. Ring makes some of the smartest electronic music out there, and it's always a delight to take a listen -- and, subsequently, to take a journey across the vast musical plane Apparat creates.

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