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.
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 launchedMonkeytown Records in 2009 as a platform for befriended artists. The label and its 50 WEAPONS 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.