Monday, 21 May 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #185 - ModeSelektor, "Monkeytown"

This album has been knocked over in my direction as a suggestion by @TheBaffer on Twitter. I like the suggestions. Always welcome.

Straight down to growling electronic business. Busdriver skids about all over "Pretentious Friends", kinked pitches all shifted on the vocals. Not finding them easy to follow either, but they chop stuff up. "Goose liver, nigger!" He sounds good and cracked, making out that he's been at Cannes and dancing with no pants on in Holland: "My hoes they look at me/And their water break and babies pop out with one gold tooth." Nice.

They make sure that Thom Yorke feels at home for his track "Shipwreck" with the Radiohead clatter rattling hefty along underneath. Modeselektor, as their name suggests, will adeptly provide the backing to match the vocalist. It's got a good Radiohead propulsion to it as well. Things change again on "Evil Twin", gears go through all the techno handclap and wobbly bass noise. "German Clap" wires up the keys to a hoover to evoke a bit of the spirit of 1992 over at Human Resource management. It has a great bass thump that sounds like somewhere trying to break into my garage.

The IDM click and humming circuits loom up from the recent past on "Berlin". I like that sound - it's simultaneously warm and cold. Like iced fire. Especially with the Stevie Wonder type backing vocals echoing all choral like. Almost as if they and the circuits have been merged in together. "Green Light Go" also has that stuttering, avant grud edge to it, tiny melodic flourishes twinkling off into the evening air. Antipop Consortium shuffle over with off-kilter Bohemian menace on "Humanized", giving the track a feeling of the zombie or unhuman. Then Thom Yorke comes back and goes all mournful angel again on "This", multiple levels of music looping and skidding about like Hot Wheels in a split garage. "War Cry" is a little strange as it builds up around a tribal mutter, then chills for a bit - sounding a bit like Fuck Buttons. Techno Mogwai.

I am impressed with their chameleonic powers, these Modeselektor menschen. But I'm not sure what to make of it as an album. I'm pretty sure more listens and thinks would be a good idea. That is not my speciality at the moment though. And I'm resisting the urge to relax back onto sleek, black, body-moulded cliches about Teutonic efficiency and heartlessness. But nothing has rushed in to fill their places. My imagination seems to be OK with a vacuum, thereby fucking off the rules of physics.

There's personality there, but I can't quite put my finger on it yet. Or them.

Rating: Chameleon out of Flourish

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