In the Mode
After two successful shows in India, Berlin’s Modeselektor hope to come back for more
For those familiar with electronic music, it’s usually pretty easy to pigeonhole artists into a certain genre. To do this, listeners usually construct some sort of mental equation comprising BPMs, effects used and dominant sounds to come up with a clear-cut category in which to place their favourite artists. Fortunately, at least for those of us who are in constant search of something different, there are a few sound constructors out there who thrive on their ability to create music that cannot be justly described with preordained labels. Take, for example, Modeselektor, a Berlin-based electronic duo who blend elements of glitch, dubstep, rock, electro, and whatever else they choose to create a sound that is best described simply as music.
Modeselektor was formed in 1996 by Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary (who had already been performing and producing together for a few years as Fundamental Knowledge). Around the turn of this century, they began putting out remixes and singles, their efforts eventually culminating in the release of three albums (both as Modeselektor and in collaboration with other artists). In August of last year, they supported Radiohead – whose front man Thom Yorke is a big Modeselektor fan – on tour in East Europe. And after years of performing, producing and even creating sound installations, Bronsert and Szary have taken the next logical step for seasoned musicians, forming their own label, Monkeytown Records, in Berlin.
While Modeselektor have been firmly established in Europe’s electronic music repertoire for some time, they were relatively unknown in India until their recent visit to India when, after nearly 15 years of thumping their one-of-a-kind sound at parties and festivals across the world, the duo finally came here. Their first show was in Kolkata, a city not exactly famed for its electronic music scene, where, with the support of the Goethe Institute (Germany’s language and culture council), they performed for a happily astonished crowd at Soho Nightclub. Their second gig was in Delhi, where they played to a mixed crowd of local music fans and German diplomats at the Global Groove Festival, a showcase of Indian and European electronic. The festival took place at an unlikely location: the basement of Chattarpur’s Tivoli Gardens, a venue better-known as a wedding hall than a party spot. And while the crowds were bouncing about to Modeselektor’s energetic performance in the basement, a Delhi couple upstairs were busy tying the knot. “Some of the wedding guests came downstairs to see what was going on there – kids, relatives,” said Szary “…unfortunately not the bridal couple.” Although the lads from Modeselektor are busy in the studio right now, they hope to come back to play in India again soon. “It was one of our most impressive tour experiences so far,” said Szary. “I think that we’ll organise some things in India for 2011, with more people coming along then!”