In pictures: Moderat's Berlin studio
Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary (aka Modeselektor)
Moderat first pooled the copious talent of Apparat (Sascha Ring) and Modeselektor (Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) as far back as 2002 with the Auf Kosten der Gesundheit EP, although some seven years passed before debut album, Moderat unleashed the collaborative power of the three producers on the hippest ears and the hottest dance-floors.
Hugely respected in their own rights, Ring, Bronsert and Szary have numerous hit records and labels (including the awesomely named, Shitkatapult Records) to their names. When they combine forces, Moderat are an irresistible force of pure electronic pleasure.
Moderat II, released this summer and lovingly laced as it is with incessant basslines, infectious synths and intriguing treatments of Ring’s vocals, is a masterclass in how to produce electronic music.
Arriving at Modeselektor’s sonic laboratory, some 12 floors high above Berlin’s vibrant Alexanderplatz, FM are met by Modeselektor, learning the worrying news that Apparat has been involved in a motorcycle accident the previous night. Thankfully, he is making a slow but good recovery, although multiple fractures of his leg have forced a rescheduling of the remaining dates in the Moderat tour.
Here, in Ring’s absense, Bronsert and Szary talk us through some of the studio gear behind Moderat II.
“[This is] just the half of it, really. A lot of our gear is out on the tour rig for the live shows at the moment. We had to remove some of the 19-inch rack units to make some space in the main studio room. This one in the vocal room has stuff like a Quadraverb, vocoder and an Electrix Filter Factory unit.”
“This xox box is a self-made TB-303 bassline with special features like MIDI, DIN sync and USB and a more stable casing. It sounds very authentic, just like the original.
“Sometimes you really ask yourself how many bassline- clones you need in life. Somehow this simple bass sound is magic, with its typical ‘twittering’. I believe that this machine will never disappear.”
“For this relatively unspectacular drum computer, a little bit of knowledge, a soldering iron and a good idea is enough to start modding and circuit bending.
“We bought this machine in the US and it was already customized. It has a system module LEDs and when you plug these in unexpected things happen to the sequence and sound. You never really know what. Plus it look quite pretty in a dark room, with its white and blue lights.”
Roland Juno 106
“This instrument was Szary’s very first serious keyboard. He bought it in 1992 and that time the Juno was already 10 years old.
“It‘s a true all-rounder for bass, pads and string sounds, especially with chorus. By the way, above the 106 you can find the Juno 60 which has that wonderful arpeggiator.”
“We nicknamed these ‘The Fridge’. They have a great sound and create kind of a club atmosphere. The disadvantage is that after a while your ears get tired. But they also work well with low volume.”
“Our little monitors. We like to use them when we’re working on long sessions.”
“A solid, mid-price desk with excellent features. It’s usable as weighted summing unit and is connectable with a computer via firewire. There’s 24 channels ready for recording.”
“This has a certain history. We bought it a couple of years ago from Mark Ernestus. We truly believe that this machine has a ‘magic acoustic noise.’ Maybe this is the Berlin noise? Anyway, we usually use it as a parametric EQ for instruments and also as a distortion instrument.”
Moog Voyager Rackmount
“This Moog doesn’t need too many words. It’s a monophonic battleship with a single-cylinder-diesel-ship’s-engine. Mainly for bass.”
“This is the top quality piece of the MS-series back from 1978. It’s a massive analogue synthesizer that you control via the CV gate. Also suitable for filterbank effects and great for noise!”