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Modeselektion Vol. 01

[Monkeytown; 2010]

By ; December 2, 2010 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

The various artists that comprise the first in what one can presume will become a series of compilations by German electronic group Modeselektor are, in half, a welcome bunch of 2010 techno regulars. Bisected, the compilation is somewhat less interesting. Most importantly, sonically, there are a good bunch of missteps that leave this “mix,” if one might use that term, a little flat. It isn’t mixed, first. This is the initial flaw one might find forgivable, but given Apparat’s recent, stellar entry in to the DJ-Kicks series, and given the crossover artists whom were on showcase there that now appear here, well, it’s kind of a loss.This brings misgivings: the good fourteen minute midsection of the album, a block held by Cosmin TRG, Shed, and Apparat–no doubt a serious trio in this year’s techno, is a delight on paper. But upon listen, it’s too abstract. Too iTunes. There’s nary a like key or tempo between them. There’s no reason, really, to proceed.

Cosmin TRG’s “Space Station Love Affair” is a Space Dimension Controller-esque filter romp that wiggles in fits to funk but never entirely funks. Not until the trance-y end sequence wherein we hear enough momentum to to move from those last bare percussion bars and onto the more built, heavier epic piece. Which of course isn’t there. But what is, Shed’s “With Bag and Baggage,” is sufficient enough an answer. It’s good to hear Shed on a somewhat commercial mix. He’s a clever and consistent artist, a techno leader that should top some of 2010’s best-of lists. The track is a dubbed-out broken beat piece that almost echoes the energy of which Cosmin TRG spoke. Yet it’s a greater track, with more breadth and a Burial-esque snare that rings in some dim club hall. The last of this section, Apparat and his spidery dubstep entry “King of Clubs,” is a definite keeper. Here we find warmth in his crackle and, speaking of Burial, his overall attention to texture. The melodious parts of “King of Clubs” neither concisely start or end; they emerge like long wires tapped, and the whole thing sounds quite alien. The run that’s made of these selections is interesting–too varied, but good. Elsewhere, on Ikonika + Optimum’s “Hum,” for instance, Modeselektor showcase glassy synth work and pitch bent drum beats. 2562 dubs us blissfully out in “The Wind Up.” Modeselektor themselves play ad agency and supply “VW Jetta,” a bass-worthy electro-tech piece that’s raucous and out of place.

In the past, Modeselektor have been more frantic, less wiedly than this. It’s nice to hear of their access to unreleased material and the unique selections they bring. Better it would be, for the scene, for the listener, for Modeselektor, to hear more artistry in the mix. Even without any effort to beat match, tighter control of the styles present would have brought far more of an experience and less of this label sampler initiation. Thankfully Modeselektion Vol. 01 closes with something new from Rephlex student Cylob. His “Pepper Spray (Capsicum Edit)” is a close example of the danceable, digestible sound that might befit a more standard Modeselektor mix. Had it been paired here with more IDM, more spastic, acidic techno, then a distinction above curation would have been made.


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