Apoptygma Berzerk ‎– Exit Popularity Contest



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August 21, 2019
referencing Exit Popularity Contest, CD, Album, TE725-2

Back in 2016 I put 5 albums on my #1 spot of the year but looking back this is the only one that should have been there. This album is mindblowing for a fan of early electro records by Jarre, Tangerine Dream and even some of Kraftwerk. It's all in here and it is brilliant.
Quite a huge step away from what people expect from Apop but honestly, what can you expect when you look back on the discography of Apop? They had so many sounds over the years and this one may be one of the best.


January 21, 2018
referencing Exit Popularity Contest, 2xLP, Album, GRE013LP

It's difficult to rate this album. The reason is simple: Fans of Apoptygma Berzerk will be surprised by what they get. It's totaly different to the kind of music apop used to present. It's way more than just moving forward, it's a different kind of style - from future pop to jean-michel jarre. No vocals, just 80s-style ambient electro. In my opinion, Stephan should have chosen another name for this album / project, it's definetly not Apoptygma Berzerk. Leaving this behind, you get something very special, an awesome rarity in these days. Just don't expect Apop, and you will find sounds and spheres you might like. I do.


November 30, 2016
referencing Exit Popularity Contest, 2xLP, Album, GRE013LP

Absolutely stellar release and with a ton of production value behind it. You can tell Stephan is putting a lot of effort into making the release not just sound retro but also authentically so by using a lot of oldschool analogue hardware and paying proper homage to his roots. It's sort of a "back to the basics" kind of record with no vocals and more experimentation than earlier releases and might be considered more of a sideproject but it is an amazing one at that.
The mastering is absolutely flawless on the vinyl and the music breathes and lives in a way that you'd have to go back to those late 70's records to get an equal feeling with. With how much analogue instrumentation lays behind this production, it's awesome to hear the sounds have been treated with so much respect and reverence.
Highly recommended!


October 7, 2016
referencing Exit Popularity Contest, CD, Album, GRE013
Exit Popularity Contest
The title says it all. This album is a statement, saying that Stephan is done with the "pop star" phase of his career. And in a way, that's probably the best thing about this album, which itself is a compilation of 3 previous released EP's that were exclusively released on vinyl in limited editions.
If you expect anything like previous iterations from Groth, you'll probably be majorly disappointed. There are no vocals, no hooks, in fact I would say there are no "hits" on this album at all. But that's not the Groth that's playing here. The Groth playing here is unrestrained, free from the classic songwriting formulas, playing with nothing but riffs and themes that feel solid and extremely catchy, but never do you feel like you are listening to a classic Apop record. Where in older albums stuff like this may have been explored to a lesser degree, here his sonic experimentation and knack for oldschool synthesizers reaches its full potential and it's absolutely amazing to listen to.
If you are reminded of classic champions like Kraftwerk, Jarre, Vangelis, Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and Neu! you won't be mistaken, the album contains numerous intentional references to these timeless pillars of electronic music.
And that's how the music ends up feeling, timeless. While it's all made with intentionally old analogue synthesizers and has that late 70's sound to it, there is an unmistakeable timeless feel to the music. It sounds out of time, a pure product of Groth's mind and part of his sonic universe.
This might not be the most accessible Apop album, and I doubt it's going to sell the most copies.
But there is a saying I like. A great artist never gives people what they want, he gives them what they need.
In a world where digital downloads have become the norm, and music has become consumed like fast food, Groth is here to remind us that music is not just entertainment or something you put on your iPod to listen to while you work or party, it can be art, it can be something more meaningful and even music that has not a single lyric can touch you in ways you never expected. And a record can be more than just a medium for music, it itself can be a rare piece of art that, you have to take care of, you have to be careful with, and you have to give proper love and attention because it can't just be put on your iPod for quick consumption, you have to give it time.
Though that being said, having the songs on CD is a great way to experience these amazing tracks without a record player. I highly recommend picking it up if you're a fan of late 70's electronic music and krautrock.
Exit Popularity Contest might be a bit of a time machine album, taking us back to "better times" in music, but it also is the kind of album we desperately need these days, so it feels very much like a reaction to the current state of things. And there is a lot of soul and passion here and a definitive "mission" behind the music that I've never felt before with Apop.