A healthy crossbreed for the electro genepool
Crossbreeding, whether for aesthetic or financial purposes, should be done responsibly. This much, animal fornication and musical collaboration have in common. Both can either produce offspring that is worth more than its parents or sully a perfectly respectable gene pool.
But this is where animals have it easier: no-one in their right mind would boycott the poodle and the labrador for having spawned the labradoodle.
By contrast, Eminem and Elton John’s duet certainly casts a shadow on their individual musical personas. Whatever soft spot I might have had for either of them has now effectively hardened, and if I hear one of their songs on the radio I hurry to change the station, whereas in the past I might have absentmindedly hummed along.
And unless I’m a complete outlier with this, the difference between hum along and next song is a deal-breaker for musicians.
Creative collaboration is a tricky business – there just doesn’t seem to be a one-size-fits-all rule for what will work. And if there are, then I am glad that Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue broke them and went where the wild roses grow.
I wonder if Modeselektor (Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) and Apparat (Sascha Ring) knew how popular their collaboration would become when they first started inviting each other to their parties and sharing music philosophies and software.
I also wonder if they fused their stage names into Moderat because they didn’t want their experiments to reflect too much on their own projects or just because it fits so well. Maybe they hoped it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy: in interviews the trio are quick to admit that negotiating three different musical personalities isn’t always the easiest thing when everyone is pulling in a different direction.
And while I believe them, there is nothing in Moderat’s music to indicate such internal conflict. In fact, I can’t help but feel that maybe their spacy sound is a perfect compromise between Modeselektor’s groovy chaotic and Apparat’s girly electro styles. It works, judging by their completely sold-out tour.
So if I haven’t said anything about the concert yet, it’s because I find it difficult to admit that for all the hype around their live performances, the best part about the night was the light show designed by the embarrassingly brilliant design collective Pfadfinderei.
Maybe I was a little too distracted by the projected shapes and colours that didn’t confine themselves to the four screens set up in a cross behind the musicians.
Or maybe I took too much offence that half of the (few) things said to the audience were in German, as if Copenhagen was just a province of Berlin.
Maybe I and the concert started off on a wrong foot when the support act Anstam came onstage playing his worst possible songs and exposing his unprocessed singing voice, which far from flatters him.
Maybe it’s because I can’t sink into the heart-tearingness of the music when everyone is singing along replacing pitch with conviction.
But probably it’s just my outrageous expectation that the live show of an electronic ensemble would knock me off my feet in a time when mainstream DJs satisfy themselves (and their audience) by pressing play on a pre-mixed set-list and then jerk their way through their computer’s performance.
Yes, the fact that Moderat’s concert was only a moderate success for me should do nothing to curtail the immoderate success of this aesthetically pleasing crossbreed.
DR Koncerthuset Studie 1