Modeseleketor with Otto Von Schirach
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Studio A, Miami
Better than: When Dieter says, “Now is the time on Sprockets vhen ve dance.”
For a moment last night it felt like Studio A was back to buzzing again with excitement. With the help of local promotion company Future Mob, it had scored the unlikeliest booking outside of Winter Music Conference.
Modeselektor, for those not in the know, is Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary who hail from Berlin. The duo has been making music since the early ‘90s and has released two albums on Ellen Alien’s label BPitch Control. They are fairly unfamiliar to American audiences but enjoy heavy cult status here.
Walking into Studio A before the doors opened to the general public, I was able to see the duo do their soundcheck, which allowed me to get a good look at their setup since the lights were on. Wires seemed to be coming out of everywhere, hooked up to machines, laptops and what-have-yous. Above them two screens projected random images, most of which would be recognizable to any Modeselektor fan.
But before Modeselektor was to take the stage before the public, there was the matter of Otto Von Schirach, who was set to open the show. Otto, who was voted by us at the Best Electronica Artist in Best of Miami 2006, was just fresh off his European tour, where he enjoys more notoriety than he receives in the States. With the help of Notorious Nastie, who donned what looked like a cowardly lion costume, he glitched, scratched and shredded through an impressive set that ranged from the avant garde to Miami bass, all while dresses like a half-done Batman.
But this was still Modeselektor’s show and when they came out they got the crowd moving and didn’t let them take a break until it was over. What is so appealing about the duo is the range of genres the incorporate in their music, primarily electro and hip-hop. Ghettotech this ain’t. The hip-hop provides the groove, but it’s when they venture into acid house and electro territory when the get the crowd feeling high.
The highlight, of course, was when Otto Von Schirach joined them to perform their cover of Scooter’s “Hyper Hyper,” a cheesy German trance record, which is featured on their latest album Happy Birthday! With lyrics like “It’s so beautiful to see your hands in the air” and “We want to send a big shout to the U.S. / And to all the ravers around the world,” the track could easily sound hokey, but Modeselektor and Otto gives the bass a boost which gives it a much darker tone. So when Otto shouted out during the set “Bass bass drum!” it was more like an order and Modeselektor obliged.
It was a bit bittersweet though, knowing that this was one of the last events at Studio A. But if this is one of the last times I walk into the venue, I’m glad it was for Modeselektor.
Personal Bias: I have an unhealthy obsession with anything German.
Random Detail: I was dancing behind the projection screens after one too many glasses of champagne. I think I kept getting in the way of the projectors, but I was never told to leave.
By the way: Modeselektor only performed in Miami after a tour date in Canada got cancelled.