Modeselektor’s futuristic party starters, DJs Sebastian Szary and Gernot Bronsert, have had a lot of success building their own trance-rock mecca over the past decade, but they’re also adept at finding like-minded talent to bring into their fold. The duo’s musical intuition was well showcased on Modeselektion Vol. 1, which brought together a who’s who of Euro-dance talent culled from Szary and Bronsert’s Monkeytown and 50 Weapons imprints onto one collection.
Modeselektion Vol. 2, like its predecessor, embarks on a similar mission to bring the other acts in the Modeselektor empire further into the light. And with EDM and dance music hitting highs of mainstream popularity not seen since the Chemical Brothers were dropping those block-rockin’ beats, the iron is hot and ready to strike a new generation of fans who have taken to electronic music with eager ears.
But dance and electronic music gurus beware: Modeselektion Vol. 2 is not a Modeselektor record. The 19 tracks showcased on Vol. 2 don’t kick as hard or pop with the same kind of ADHD energy of Szary and Bronsert’s proper Modeselektor work, preferring instead to linger in eerier, more atmospheric trip-hop corners. It’s more Tricky than Fatboy Slim, which, while different, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Egyptrixx start things off with “Levitate”, which crashes in with a pessimistically dense and ominous bass drone, all before taking shape over scattered, rat-a-tat drumming and a healthy amount of Pro Tools trickery. Other highlights include the rhythmic complexity of Monolake’s “Hitting the Surface”, which works in plentiful layers of sound without venturing into the territory of being overwhelming. Lest you thought all the record has to offer is somber subtlety, tracks by Bambounou (“Pixel”) and Phon.o (“Fukushima”) kick up the energy, if not the mood, a few notches.
In the end, Vol. 2 earns kudos for delivering something strikingly suited for those weird days where paranoia and uncertainty creep in. Often odd, occasionally irritating, and sometimes just a tad spooky, a sense of darkness is almost omnipresent, but at least the record has fun dancing in the shadows.
Essential Tracks: “Levitate”, “Pixel”