The press release for this album informs us that this is “the first album that almost drove us crazy.” It also happens to be the first Modeselektor recorded and produced entirely by themselves, all within one session over the course of ten weeks. The team have always been known for their balance of club tracks and experimentation, but never has it seemed so unified and synchronized.
The leading single for this album, ‘Pretentious Friends’ (surely to be followed by Green Light Go a collaboration with PVT) takes the witty, self-effacing vocals of Busdriver and then warps and bends them into something that sounds like a magnet dragged over a cassette to create something that would sound equally arresting through headphones as it would in a dark sweaty club. This is in part due to the driving beat they employ – something that remains a constant throughout, albeit with wildly disparate time signatures. With this structure in place, the German duo are able to experiment and manipulate their vast sonic palette.
Their collaborations with Radiohead mastermind Thom Yorke provide yet more highlights of the album; the first of which ‘Shipwreck’ features soothing vocals stumble and stutter over a glitchy, rattling tom-toms and fragile synth lines. The hypnotic layered vocals are looped to tremendous effect as the listener is left almost catatonic, or at least a little dribbly. The final collaboration with Mr. Yorke, the curiously titled ‘This’, is a jittery IDM-come-Trip-Hop-come-Balaeric house number that works a lot better than it sounds.
But that’s not to say the bass-heavy Electro they’re known for has been abandoned, just look at ‘Evil Twin’ with professional weirdo Otto Von Schirach: sounding as if it would be right at home on an Ed Banger release, along with ‘Berlin’ it’s one of the more rave-friendly efforts on the album. Perhaps it’s a manifesto for their career, or maybe it’s just something cool to chant over a violently banging piece of dance music.
Title Monkeytown (Monkeytown)
Out now on Monkeytown