MODESELEKTOR BIO (05.05.2014)
By Shilo Urban
Wildly diverse, infused with exuberance and inspired by a slap of the absurd, Modeselektor's inarguable grooves seem to emanate from every conceivable musical genre, creating a controlled chaos whose sonic expression elevates the eyebrows of critics and the heartbeats of dance floors around the world.
‘Boundary breaking' is a phrase that today almost every artist wants to claim; however Modeselektor's description as such does not come as an afterthought or marketing ploy. The idea of breaking boundaries permeates their music because this dissolution of cultural borders is ingrained in their very identities.
The electronic production team of Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary came of age in Berlin shortly after the fall of the infamous Wall in 1989. It was a place and time where breaking down boundaries was not a convenient meme, but rather a literal description of what was going on outside their front doors. Germany was a stew of mixed emotions, high hopes and insecurity, all existing at the same time as the reunited populace attempted to right itself anew.
Thrust upon the unique cultural landscape of the newly liberated city, the two former East Berliners found themselves in the ultimate urban jungle, deep in the realm of the absurd. In this liminal state of upheaval and change, anything was possible. As cops and parents preoccupied themselves with other concerns, the youth took advantage of the obtuse authorities to throw wild underground acid house parties. And this is where Modeselektor met: in the midst of the chaos, swimming in the heady sense of freedom that only those once oppressed can truly understand. It was 1995.
Modeselektor emerged out of the tangle of post-wall Berlin, monkey men with beats clenched between their teeth and ideas that would soon force music journalists to make up new words: bastard dancehall, euro crunk, acid rap, big bass techno, labstyle, happy metal, psychedelic electro. Like a jungle, their
music is dense, textured and rich with sounds never experienced before, drawn from a production ethos of "create, distort, recycle." Modeselektor's appreciation for the absurd engenders an attitude of levity towards their music, refreshing in a world where "serious techno" has become a funny cliché.
After trying out the name Fundamental Knowledge, the duo soon found a moniker with a better fit: Modeselektor, taken from a function on the Roland RE-201 space echo analog delay effects unit. They progressed from DJ sets to a live act and began playing small open airs in Berlin with Pfadfinderei, a local design collective whose avant-garde visual contributions aptly reflect the translation of their name: pathfinders. In 2001 Modeselektor met Ellen Allien who quickly signed the promising minds to BPitch Control, one of the most highly respected techno labels in the world. The catapult was loaded.
A series of singles, EPs and remixes ensued, along with exciting collaboration with Parisian rap group TTC as well as Berlin wunderkind Apparat under the name Moderat. Modeselektor began to draw international attention and soon snagged the ears of one Thom Yorke, who declared his love for their music on television. Now immersed in the European artistic community, the producers presented sound installations at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and lectured at the Merz Academie in Stuttgart.
After years of intense touring all over Europe, in 2005 Modeselektor released their first full-length album Hello Mom! (BPitch Control). Cue the world tour and rave reviews for a release that soared beyond the normal strata of electronic output with its potent celebration of sonic diversity, equally as enjoyable for the headphone listener and the sweaty clubber at 3AM.
As if there was any question about this duo's aptitude, in 2007 the album Happy Birthday! (BPitch Control) dropped and subsequently detonated with supreme force. Minds frothed and limbs flailed as the next era of grime-techno-dubstep-acid-hip hop-electro-IDM was inaugurated, influencing producers and DJs around the world to employ Modeselektor's samples and methods to bring a boundary-less musical experience to their listeners as
well. Happy birthday indeed.
No longer teenage rabble-rousers but young fathers, Modeselektor was named "Best Dubstep and Grime Artist" in the 2008 Beatport Awards, and hit the road with Radiohead and then Ellen Allien. Obviously the two play well with others; their list of collaborators and guest vocalists had grown into a "Who's Who" list of the continental underground: Paul St. Hilaire, Team Shadetek, Sasha Perera, Puppetmastaz, Maxïmo Park, Otto von Schirach and Siriusmo.
Reigniting their production work with fellow Berliner and Renaissance man Apparat, Moderat released a self-titled, all analog album in 2009 to massive critical acclaim. The creative synergy of Modeselektor's robust, bass-slapping sound and Apparat's dark and dreamy intricacies highlights the best elements of each style, resulting in a dynamic musical experience that is expressed well by Moderat's engaging and inspiring live performance.
Accompanied by Pfadfinderei, the dream team toured the world, playing the largest festivals in existence and garnering multiple awards for both the album and their innovative live presentation, including Resident Advisor's award for Best Live Act of the year in 2009.
Appropriately, Modeselektor had always described themselves as more of a live act, not studio musicians - the opposite opinion from most producers who prefer the hermit role. Their love for the live music experience is perhaps a relic of growing up in a bounded environment; coming from a society that was restrained for so long, they now relish the communion that performance provides.
Dedicated to sharing their success and spreading the sounds that inspire, Modeselektor launched Monkeytown Records in 2009 as a platform for befriended artists. The label and its 50WEAPONS imprint have become synonymous with groundbreaking bass music over the last five years, each presenting a cherry-picked selection of choice beats and breakthrough artists.
Modeselektor's third full-length album Monkeytown (Monkeytown Records) landed in late 2011 to major acclaim. With massive energy, a panoply of guest artists and divergent sounds from across the sonic spectrum, Monkeytown journeyed even deeper into Modeselektor's world, where the dance floor is heaving, the music is magnanimous and the boundaries were broken a long time ago.
In 2013, fans received an inside glimpse of the subversive duo's secrets with We Are Modeselektor by Romi Angel and Holger Wick, a documentary that searches for the origins of the Modeselektor phenomenon with behind-the-scenes tour footage and captivating insights.
Soon after came the highly anticipated second full-length release by Moderat, aptly titled II. A compelling ride through the creamy top layer of dance beats and pure pop, the album swerves under the swagger of unexpected beats and intelligent design.
Modeselektor continues to be an instrumental player in their home city's cultural agenda, curating the lineup for the sea lake stage at MELT! Festival in Berlin for the past four years. Busy building the Monkeytown empire with showcase events and successful Modeselektion parties all over the world, Modeselektor is an evolving icon of the post-everything era.
The pent-up energy generated through years of cultural suppression and a divided heart-city has been captured in Modeselektor's sound and delivered to listeners around the world, to dancers who join them on the precipice of the absurd- a place where boundary-breaking is no longer a metaphor. Like many today, Modeselektor's music is often sample-based, but like very few today, they create almost all of their own samples, Jim Jones notwithstanding.
Though their sound is without a doubt inspired by the artistic rebirth of Berlin, it was never confined to the limitations of the city's hype bubble that by its very nature rises and then falls. Modeselektor's music does not belong to any one time or place; it is universal. Just as the Berlin Wall was broken down in the dawn of Modeselektor's coming of age, so too were any musical
boundaries in their minds, and their multi-mood productions emulate the deeply textured landscape of the human psyche that such a revolutionary era put upon display.
MDSLKTR SEILSCHEIBENPFEILER VOL.O" 12" (SSF 000)
MDSLKTR ATTENTIVE SITUATION -- „GO EAST" (MAD BENTON 001)
MDSLKTR FUNDAMENTAL KNOWLEDGE - „JAVA" 12" (MAD BENTON 005)
MDSLKTR BOLSCHEWISTISCHE KURKAPELLE SCHWARZ ROT „KASSAKA RMX" (PLATTENMEISTER)
MDSLKTR EYE ON / MDSLKTR „1492" (INSEKT ANGELIKA 001)
MDSLKTR SHAHFAUSTAN MIXTAPE (NO LABEL)
MDSLKTR STARTAPE (NO LABEL)
MDSLKTR EHZ 01 COMP 12" (EHZ001)
MDSLKTR EHZ 02 COMP 12" (EHZ002)
MDSLKTR BERLIN 2001 COMP „WLWH" (BPITCHCONTROL 031CD)
TESA 6X33.333 RPM (TESA 001)
TESA TESA (TESA 002)
MDSLKTR „IN LOVING MEMORY" 12" (BPITCHCONTROL 043)
MDSLKTR KOLLEKTIV„ WIR SCHLEIFEN GLEISE LEISE" (BPITCHCONTROL048)
MDSLKTR THE DEATH MEDLEY" 12" (BPITCHCONTROL 054)
MDSLKTR MOVING MUSIC DVD „IN LOVING MEMORY" (FORM and FUNCTION)
MDSLKTR GEMEINSAM COMP - „POLYTOXICOMAN" (BPITCHCONTROL 055)
MDSLKTR MIA „MACHTSPIELE RMX" (SONY/EPIC)
MDSLKTR HIVE COMP „WEH WORDS" (CBB7MANCHESTER)
MDSLKTR SMASH TV „NOBODY RMX" (BPITCHCONTROL 044)
MODERAT „AUF KOSTEN DER GESUNDHEIT" 12" (BPITCHCONTROL 057)
MDSLKTR „GANES DE FRAU VOL.01" 12" (BPITCHCONTROL 069)
MDSLKTR VISUAL NICHES 02 DVD „IN LOVING MEMORY VIDEO" (EMOTION)
MDSLKTR MAß. 1 „ACRYLAMIT/EMULGATOR" (MAß.1 007)
MDSLKTR TIM TIM „ATWATER CA. RMX" (BPITCHCONTROL 076)
MDSLKTR NO MOVEMENT „NO MOVEMENT RMX" (LUX NIGRA )
MDSLKTR MAß. 1 „LICHT IM NOTFALLKOFFER" (MAß.1 008)
MDSLKTR DETUNED COMP. „EMULGATOR" (DETUNED 001)
MODERAT DIN.AV COMP „6 MINUTEN TERRINE" & PFADFINDEREI (SCAPE)
MDSLKTR LOSOFONO „2 O CLOCK RMX" (LOSOFONO)
MDSLKTR BOOMKAT SELECTED MIXTAPE VOL.4 (BOOMCAT)
MDSLKTR MISS KITTIN PROFESSIONAL DISTORSION „BIG MUFF RMX" (MUTE)
MDSLKTR TRANSMEDIALE COMP „HEAVY MORTEL" (TRANSMEDIALE)
MDSLKTR MODESELEKTOR/PFADFINDEREI „PFADSELEKTOR DVD"
MDSLKTR JAHCOOZI „BLACK BARBIE RMX" (SHADETEK 006)
MDSLKTR KNIFEHANDSHOP „TECHNO GAIDEN RMX" (TIGERBEAT 6)
MDSLKTR SHIKATAPULT 50 COMP „HASIR LIVE @ REXCLUB PARIS" (SHITKATAPULT 050)
MDSLKTR „TURN DEAF" 12" (BPITCHCONTROL 099)
MDSLKTR „LABLAND-DVD" TOGETHER WITH PFADFINDEREI IN DOLBI 5.1 (DALBIN 001)
MDSLKTR CAMPING COMP „DONT PANIC" (BPITCHCONTROL 101)
MDSLKTR REMIX FOR ELLEN ALLIEN „MAGMA" (BPITCHCONTROL 105)
MDSLKTR AUDIOTOUR BERLIN „ 4 CANS COFFE" (AUDIOTOUR/MEGAEINS)
MDSLKTR HELLO MOM! - DEBUT-ALBUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (BPITCHCONTROL 115)
MDSLKTR HELLO MOM REMIXES (BPITCHCONTROL 121)
MDSLKTR REMIX FOR PAUL KALKBRENNER "GIA 2000" (BPITCHCONTROL137)
MDSLKTR REMIX FOR THOM YORKE „SKIP DIVIDED (XL RECORDING)
MDSLKTR REMIX FOR NINJAMAN „WEED WID DA MACKA" (SHOUCK 15)
MDSLTKR TRACK FOR "CAMPING VOL.3" (BPITCH CONTROL 148)
MDSLKTR "BOOGY BYTES VOL.3 - MIXED BY MODESELEKTOR" (BPITCH CONTROL 151)
MDSLKTR "THE DARK SIDE OF THE SUN / FEAT. PUPPETMASTAZ (BPITCH CONTROL 157)
MDSLKTR REMIX FOR APPARAT „HOLD ON" (SHITKATAPULT, STRIKE 83)
MDSLKTR REMIX FOR GHISLAIN POIRIER „BLAZIN" (NINJA TUNE ZENCD 138)
MDSLKTR "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" - SECOND ALBUM (BPITCH CONTROL 159)
MDSLKTR "GODSPEED / THE WHITE FLASH ft. THOM YORKE" (BPITCH CONTROL 174)
MDSLKTR FETTES BROT FEAT. MODESELEKTOR „BETTINA ZIEH DIR BITTE
ETWAS AN (FETTES BROT SCHALLPLATTEN
MDSLKTR EDIT/REMIX FOR SIRIUSMO „WOW" (EXPLOITED)
MDSLKTR PUPPETCASHFLOW REMIX FOR PUPPETMASTAZ
MDSLKTR REMIX FOR BOYS / REMXI FOR GIRLS FOR BJÖRK „DULL FLAME OF
DESIRE" (ONE LITTLE INDIAN RECORDS)
MDSLKTR „HAPPY BIRTHDAY REMIXED #1" (BPITCH CONTROL 174)
MDSLKTR „ HAPPY BIRTHDAY REMIXED#2" (BPITCH CONTROL 184)
MDSLKTR „ HAPPY BIRTHDAY REMIXED #3" (BPITCH CONTROL 191)
MODERAT „RUSTY NAILS" (BPITCH CONTROL 194)
MODERAT „MODERAT" (BPITCH CONTROL 200)
MODERAT „THE UNOFFICIAL REMIXES" (50Weapons)
MDSLKTR „BODY LANGUAGE VOL. 8" (GET PHYSICAL)
MDSLKTR „ART&CASH" / 12" (GET PHYSICAL) + DVD (MONKEYTOWN RECORDS)
MDSLKTR REMIX FOR BOYSNOIZE „JEFFER" (BOYSNOIZE RECORDS)
MDSLKTR "ART & CASH (SBTRKT REMIX)" / 12" (50WEAPONS)
BONAPARTE "COMPUTER IN LOVE (MODESELEKTOR REMIX)" (STAATSAKT)
ROOTS MANUVA "WITNESS (MODESELEKTOR‘S TROUBLEMAKER REMIX)" (NINJA TUNE)
TRENTEMOLLER „TIDE" (MODESELEKTOR‘S LAST EVER REMIX) (POKER FLAT)
FIRST MODESELEKTOR RELEASES ON THEIR OWN LABEL MONKEYTOWN RECORDS:
MDSLKTR MODESELEKTOR PROUDLY PRESENTS „MODESELEKTION VOL.01 #1" (12")
MDSLKTR MODESELEKTOR PROUDLY PRESENTS „MODESELEKTION VOL.01 #2" (12")
MDSLKTR MODESELEKTOR PROUDLY PRESENTS „MODESELEKTION VOL.01 (double LP + CD)
MDSLKTR MODESELEKTOR PROUDLY PRESENTS „MODESELEKTION VOL.01 #3" (12")
MDSLKTR FEAT. NAZIZI & ABBAS „MONKEY FLIP" (12")
MDSLKTR „MONKEYTOWN" (CD / 2xLP)
MDSLKTR WITH THOM YORKE „SHIPWRECK" (12")
MDSLKTR „EVIL TWIN / GERMAN CLAP"
MDSLKTR „MONKEYTOWN DELUXE EDITION" (2xCD & 1x DVD)
MDSLKTR „WE ARE MODESELEKTOR" (DVD & BLURAY)
MDSLKTR & SOUND PELLEGRINO THERMAL TEAM „NEGATIVITY"
MODERAT „II" (CD / LP)
MODERAT „GITA" (10'' LP)
MODERAT „BAD KINGDOM" (10'' LP)
MODERAT „II" TOUR EDITION (2 x CD / 2 x LP)
MDSLKTR „I'M NOT INTO TWERK, I'M INTO KRAFTWERK" BLEEP:10 COMPILATION (2 x LP)