Review: Veteran Berlin outfit Modeselektor take their "selektion" very seriously indeed. Perhaps this is why each instalment of Modeselektion, their painstakingly curated compilation series, takes so long to arrive. Here we finally have another sampler from part three. Highlights of these four tracks include the blissful synth fest of Alex Banks' "Be The One", the quirky, live electro-pop of Heinrik Schwarz's "We Are Bankrupt" and the off-kilter, acidic soulful hip-hop of "Jungle Love". Looks like the full-length album will be worth the wait.
Review: Nothing really beats the first few seconds of this startlingly original debut from Germany's BBF. The rest of it is great too of course, but it's during those very first 30 seconds that you immediately get where this album is coming from. As opener "Corky Prelude" is slowly faded up, the rumbling percussion part and distant bass sounds (which could easily be just another ordinary techno tune) reveal themselves to be a piano and blocks being hit, both clearly being played live. BBF clearly approach techno (or indeed all dance music) with more than an awareness of jazz and classical modes. And so, over You Make Me Real, they set about making techno but with live drums, treated pianos, trombones, harp, marimba and a host of other treated live sounds. The results go beyond the obvious Steve Reich/'70s minimalist precedents and genuinely create a deeper, more nuanced and, ultimately, more fun sound. "Mi Corazon" for example is as playful as it is intense, while the slight Latin lilt to "Bop" makes sure this isn't just a po-faced, overly-earnest project - the songs here live and breathe. After the dominance of the drum machine and the 303, perhaps this kind of project will start making fellow producers explore live techno like never before.
Review: Brandt Brauer Frick hook up with Frank Ocean producer Om'Mas Keith - one of the brains behind Channel Orange - for this single from their new album, Miami. Gone is the organic sound of yore, replaced by something more electronic and groove-based. Indeed, "Plastic Like Your Mother" is a hyperactive affair, by turns deep and dreamy and mysterious and haunting, but without losing the musical touch that the act have become known for. The vocals help to lend a sense of mystique to the arrangement and it is tailor-made for festival stages and cavernous venues like Berghain where the Berlin trio are used to performing.
Review: It's difficult to make dance music with 'real' instruments, as so many second rate punk funk acts have proved, but Miami proves to be an anomaly. BBF have taken inspiration from jazz influences for this album, which makes for an adventurous, at times breathless work. At one end of the spectrum there's the seductive piano lines and soaring woodwind of the title track and "Miami Titles", while at the other there's the high tempo, syncopated rhythms and deranged brass of "Skiffle It Up" and "Broken Pieces", which features a contribution from Jamie Lidell. Another contributor, Nina Kraviz, helps to turn the air blue on the abrasive "Verwahrlosung", but in the main, Miami is a work inspired by warm sea breezes and ice cold cocktails.
Review: The first slab of tracks curated by Modeselektor for Modeselektion Vol. 3 may have been on a more introspective tip, but there's no such holding back to be found on Part 2 as bold colours and tough rhythms abound for the party-starting side to the German duos repertoire. L-Vis 1990 brings the heavyweight boogie influence while Illum Sphere marches forth with an electro urgency, Onra drops some cosmic '80s flourishes, and Brandt Brauer Frick link up with OmMas Keith and Vic Mensa for a mad intersection between broken beat, techno, R&B and plenty more besides. As ever eclecticism and a taste for the unusual define Modeselektor's choices, and they pull it off with style.