Electronica Beat With a Heart

Chris PimlottA shaggy Mast rocking an audience.
Ratatat is the perfect music to blast through your iPod as you wander the streets of Moscow.

There are no words to distract you from the madness on the streets. There are strong steady, beats to match your footsteps. There are sad interludes to keep pace with your mood, which never seems to stay unwaveringly happy in this town.

The Brooklyn-based electronic duo plays Shestnadtsat Tonn, a great, small venue, on Monday night.

The only problem is they're meant to suck live. But no matter, it's rare that hipsterdom comes to Moscow.

Ratatat's self-titled debut album, released in 2004, is an instrumental affair that combines Mike Stroud's clean guitar work over synth beats provided by producer Evan Mast. Their latest album, "LP3," released last year, went beyond the hip-hop and rock influence to add layers of disco.

They've become Coachella regulars, have toured with Bjork, Daft Punk, The Faint and Mogwai and been remixed by the inimitable Animal Collective.

Ratatat is the kind of music that silences electronica detractors, proving that a keyboard and a computer can evoke the same kind of emotion as a bass and a guitar.

As for the live gigs, it's not that Ratatat has built a reputation as particularly bad performers. It's that the music doesn't lend itself best to improvisation in style and volume. What makes the music so moving is the miracle of producing such passion with the precision of perfectly matched synth, guitar and drums. That's hard, maybe impossible, to replicate live. Once that foundation is lost, the spark sort of fades away.

It's still a show to look forward to. So get thee to YouTube and take a listen to "El Pico" for a taste of the old and "Mirando" for a taste of the new. And simply rejoice in the fact that Moscow is beginning to offer more than Deep Purple reunion tours and Scorpions retrospectives.

Ratatat plays June 29 at 9 p.m. at Shestnadtsat Tonn. 6 Presenensky Val, building 1. Metro Krasnopresnenskaya. Tickets are 500 rubles.