Despite being a Monkeytown release, and there being a 50 Weapons compilation due next month, Modeselektion Vol. 2 is less concerned with electro and more with the two labels' collective output of clanging, melodic, hard-to-categorise techno. Although, only a fool would try to sum-up any Modeselektor project so succinctly—a typically slurring yet splenetic Prefuse 73 contribution or Siriusmo's "Modern Talk," which sounds like the Inspector Gadget theme-tune by way of early Ed Banger, hardly fit any overall aesthetic.
If such moments constitute the highly enjoyable base level here, then the best moments are staggering. He has his critics, but if you like Phon.o's stylised overcast melancholy, you will love "Fukushima." Meanwhile, the brooding, mechanical "Mode Operator (Beispiel A)" by Diamond Version—a new project from Byetone and Alva Noto—is in a borrowed leather jacket of crashing, scuzzy guitars, a refreshingly irreverent take on the post-punk and industrial influences currently prominent in techno. As for Frikstailers' "Sudaka Invasor," only the most miserable curmudgeon could deny its chattering, cut-to-ribbons take on digital ragga.
If that feels a little low-brow (serious music fans have always struggled with Modeselektor for that reason), then Monolake's "Hitting The Surface (Electric Indigo Edit)"—a delicate, rainforest-humid slice of swung, breakbeat-driven atmosphere—could not be more emotionally grave. Likewise, while more fun, Sound Pellegrino Thermal Team's "Activate," is very sonically serious indeed. A beautiful never-ending swirl of strangulated, Akon-ish vocals punctured by titanium-clad beats, it is the best example—this side of Justice v. Simian's "We Are Your Friends"—of a how a surgical, supremely punchy edit can turn a potentially humdrum track into a breathless show-stopper. In addition to the many delights of Modeselektion Vol. 2, 50 Weapons are putting out the new Shed album this month. It's fair to say Modeselektor are on a roll.