Modeselektor – The Dark Side Of The Sun

September 4, 2009

Today’s MSMOTD

Modeselektor – The Dark Side Of The Sun (buy this song)

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I think you can really tell a lot about a musician’s personality through their music.  Whether they were smiling as they recorded (Aqua definitely smiles), scowling with righteous outrage (Rage Against The Machine) or perhaps afflicted with nearly overwhelming ennui (Those unfortunate saps who are employed in mixing mallcore albums).  I picture the Modeselektor guys as having an intensely devilish grin fixed on their faces from the moment they enter the studio until the minute the album is finally mastered.  They, Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary of Germany, have an incredible amount of geeky, techy fun creating this music, and it shines through in the crazy glitchy editing, balls-out beats and quirky melodies.

Modeselektor is pretty hard to pin down, genre-wise.  They’ve been called everything from glitch-hop (you take that back!!) and IDM, to “bassbin-blowing techno hop dubstep core”, whatever that means.  The name doesn’t really matter though, as you bop along to their twitchy, stuttering, intricately detailed and dancy music.  They’ve released two albums so far, “Hello Mom!” in 2005, and “Happy Birthday!” in 2007, with a collaboration with Apparat released this spring as “Moderat”.

Its often hard to find good photos of artists.  I gave up on Amorphis.  But these guys have so many, hahaha.

It's often hard to find good or interesting photos of artists. I gave up on Amorphis. But these guys have so many, hahaha.

Ok, here’s where I gush about how much I love The Dark Side Of The Sun.  Besides the very silly name (because obviously all sides of the sun, in general, emit equal levels of solar radiation), this song is silly in a number of other ways.  First of all, it’s a collaboration with the Puppetmastaz, a puppet-based german rap group who are very very silly.  Secondly, it’s silly because how is this song not a huge club hit??? This song is a brilliant and incredibly catchy mix of sexy synth beats and intricately edited vocals.  It is that glitchy vocal editing which impresses me the most actually.  Somehow, they manage to take what would otherwise be a good rap and dial it up to 11 through clever digital repetition, rhythmically strategic stutters and all sorts of sonic tricks.  It renders the lyrics largely unintelligible, but in exchange morphs the lyrics into the driving rhythmic force, intertwining and often overshadowing the bass line in a sort of twisty-turny power struggle.  The vocal editing dominates the rhythm during the verses, while the more traditional bassline takes over for the chorus.  The result is a hugely danceable monster of a tune.  If you played this in a dance club, the place would explode, though I’m not sure this has ever hit a dancefloor outside of Europe.  Here’s hoping stuff like this takes off, as one can only take so much Katy Perry and Soulja Boy before never wanting to dance again.

(Not my favourite of their songs, but I love the video!  This is Black Block from “Happy Birthday!”) (buy this song)

Let Your Love Grow (from “Happy Birthday!”) is a light, pulsing dub-reggae tune featuring vocalist Paul St. Hillaire (who’s also worked closely with Kruder & Dorfmeister).  Past the slightly silly intro, it grows into a really sweet groove that’s a nice chilled-out change from the stuttering intensity of the MSMOTD.  I love the squishy synths and the cool dub back beat.  I have no idea what on earth he’s talking about, but the sing-song reggae vocals are smooth and dreamy.  A great driving tune.

The second song below is named Kill Bill Vol. 4 for reasons unbeknownst to myself.  As with most Modeselektor songs, it’s rather odd.  The first minute of the song is just what sounds like they recorded 45 seconds of a factory worker with a serious speech impediment giving a rambling movie review.  Stick with it though, as at the 1:05 mark, the song kicks into gear with a gut-punching electro beat straight out of Mr. Oizo’s craziest wet dreams.  This one has no vocals and little in the way of Modeselektor’s signature glitchiness.  What it does have is a killer beat that will either move your feet or pound you into the ground.  Somehow, this music sounds so very very German.  Perhaps it is the perfectly rhythmic, almost robotic nature of the song, or the insistant, unrepentant, unrelenting repetition of the detuned synth melody.  Whereas the other songs I posted are fun and light in nature, this one is almost industrial in nature.  I can imagine people dancing to this in german clubs with VERY SERIOUS DANCING FACES.  No smiling allowed.  Still, I can smile while I listen to it, imagining serious german kids dancing seriously to this serious dance music.

As you can see, modeselektor shows are SERIOUS BUSINESS.  Smile during Kill Bill Vol. 4 and you get sprayed!

As you can see, Modeselektor shows are SERIOUS BUSINESS. Smile during Kill Bill Vol. 4 and you get sprayed! Notice how none of those sprayed are smiling anymore.

As with much of the music I post here, I wouldn’t even know about these guys if it weren’t for wonderful friends who constantly recommend cool music to me (Thanks Nikki!).  The rest of the songs on their two albums are all really great, and both albums are worth checking out.  Let me know what you think of these guys in the comments!

- Mons

More music from Modeselektor

Modeselektor – Let Your Love Grow (buy this song)

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Modeselektor – Kill Bill Vol. 4 (buy this song)

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Further info about today’s MSMOTD

Official Website: http://www.modeselektor.de/

Myspace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/mdslktr

Wikipedia Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modeselektor

Featured Review: The Pitchfork review of “Happy Birthday!”

Support Modeselektor (and me!) by buying “Happy Birthday!” or “Hello Mom!” from Amazon.com (you can get the physical or mp3 albums there).

6 Responses to “Modeselektor – The Dark Side Of The Sun”

  1. Although I have not yet listened to modeselektor, I am leaving a comment.

  2. While Modeselektor is indeed imbued with talent, certain Loyal Fans eagerly await the next MSMOTD!:D

  3. Yes! Unfortunately, certain MSMOTD Authors have been eyebrows-deep in school work and other annoying commitments. New MSMOTDs are in the works though! Look for one tomorrow. :D

  4. Yessss! :D

  5. The picture: Hahahahaha! I can’t believe you actually put it up there! (That artist has some mad skills, though, if I do say so myself… :D )

  6. Just did a search for this song and this post was one of the first results :) I just rediscovered this video I made like 7 years ago! http://youtu.be/cooZfE6NNr0

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