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by Doug Black
on 01 February 2008

Long the de facto home of techno music, it's no surprise that Berlin is bursting at the seams with electronic music. But it is a rare feat when one of these artists transcends the club scene like Modeselektor. A staple of the German capital's underground party circuit dating back to the mid-'90s, the group produces a genre-straddling brand of glitchy beats that are equal parts bedroom noodling and dancefloor ragers. They use a wide range of samples and self-developed software to produce an intricate mix of dub, hip-hop, ambient and various other classifications that don't begin to define the sum of their parts. In live settings, they employ innovative MIDI-controllers that allow real time beat manipulation, creating a much more engaging experience than your average DJ just throwing down a record.

Members Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary made a name for themselves in 2000 by signing to Bpitch Control (the label founded by fellow German electronic musician and kindred spirit Ellen Allien), but didn't release a proper album before 2005's Hello Mom! Their lone follow-up, Happy Birthday!, came out last September and features more than an hour of far-flung influences and celebrity collaborations. One of the finest examples is Thom Yorke—who frequently cites the duo among his favorite bands and earlier solicited a Modeselektor remix off his album The Erasure—when he lends his chilling voice to album highpoint, “The White Flash.”

You can hear a handful of tracks on their MySpace page, buy both albums on iTunes or pick up Happy Birthday! from Insound. You can also find the group playing a string of European dates, as well as the very same Berlin clubs where it all started.

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