Various VariousModeselektor Proudly Presents Modeselektion Vol. I
Modeselektor are the Coca-Cola of electronic music: cool, bubbly, injecting compressed air into your body, addictive. You’re always in the mood for them. Even if you have never been convinced by their particular electro, glitch view of club sound, if you were a fan of the minimalist current and the solidity of their rhythms was never one of your preferences, it’s very hard not to like Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary. They have the look of merry pranksters, like they are as mad as hatters, and whenever they get a chance, they show their particular brand of humour. Remember the immense cover of “Happy Birthday!”, which sort of gets on your nerves and sort of makes you laugh like an idiot. Nevertheless, that sick humour has never been put above the quality of the music; have fun and have some laughs, all right. But always with good music. Because “Happy Birthday!” is no joke of an album, in spite of the cover. Because its sessions are fun, but they rarely have technical problems or sound bad. Another example, this time in the discipline of festival bookers. Last summer, the festival Melt! Gave them one of the stages to set up the line-up. And the line-up came out like this: Jamie XX, Mala, Kode 9 and Martyn were Bronsert and Szary’s bets. And people thought: when are we going to have our laughs? The chosen ones were the surrealist Bonaparte, who, dressed up like the court of Versailles shrooming out of their minds raised a major ruckus onstage while Modeselektor accompanied them on the turntables. Seriousness, yes, but always with room for a bit of humour.
The latest discipline of the musical industry that they have decided to explore is that of gathering, compiling, and editing artists that they like, to suit themselves. Where is the space for thanks here? In the video of presentation of “Modeselektion Vol. I”, which is nothing other than a double CD bringing together what the Germans have been releasing in 12” format on their own label. And in the video, in that sky blue and fluorescent green track suit, the joke is over. Because the 18 songs gathered here evoke the more serious, formal aspect of Szary and Bronsert; the darker, more professional, tense side… Recognising their differences, it’s the side more similar to Moderat –I’m not referring to the sound, but rather the manners– where the influence of Sascha Ring has always lowered the level of histrionics. The question is that the pack of artists gathered here together has created a piece for the occasion. We don’t know whether Modeselektor had previously given them any premises or parameters, but the result is more serious, darker, tenser (more similar to the forms of Moderat and once again I am speaking of the forms, not the sound). Nor have they been ruled by any sort of premise when it came to choosing a roster. As they said when announcing the release of the series, they couldn’t have cared less whether the artists were from London, Berlin, or Pernambuco; as a whole they are the guard of dubstep, showing a panoramic overview of current music, what they listen to, preach, and play, whether for crowds in a club, or in the privacy of their own mp3 players. The hardcore global continuum as seen through the eyes of Modeselektor.
The result is a sort of mixture between vigorous German-style electro and the evolved dubstep from the UK. To say it another way, Germans influenced by English bass and Brits influenced by German electro (and in between, other nationalities that give impact and variety to the whole). At one end there is Siriusmo with nerve and a jazzy air, the more festive part of the compilation, which is followed by SBTRK, Housemeister and his “Kristall” (I think this is the first Housemeister’s song that doesn’t give me a fearful shiver) and the schizo electro of Cylob. At the other end is the trippy puff of smoke commanded by Marcel Dettmann, Shed (with a sweet song called “With Bag and Baggage”) and the early “The Wind Up” signed by 2562, or Digital Mystikz with a cut that could well have formed a part of “Return II Space”. In the end, the only ones who have managed to join the two frontiers that Modeselektor moves between stylistically speaking are they themselves, obviously, Ramadanman – “Pitter” has a very British groove, but the forms are damaged, freaky, and a bit mad, like everything that Bronsert and Szary put out– and Feadz, who does very well to take off his Ed Banger uniform and be himself. It’s definitely a case of each one doing his own thing, but the house still hasn’t been swept. Interesting, yes. But nothing to set off fireworks over.