Monday, August 18, 2008

kidz at the disco: modular.

modular is now 10 years old. really? really. one of the
record labels at the forefront of music right now, you'd
never guess it's been around since 1998. started in
sydney, australia by music promoter steve pavlovic,
the label made its name in 2001 by releasing the
staggeringly brilliant since i left you by the avalanches.
wolfmother, remember them? well people actually
bought their album, and it came out on modular. fast
forward to 2004, Year Zero for modern electro and the
first cut copy album, bright like neon love. in case you
didn't quite believe that cut copy would go on to rule the
world then, we're sure in ghost colours was quick to
change your mind. the rest of modular's current artist
roster reads like the dream festival bill: van she, the
presets, bang gang djs, ladyhawke, KIM (from the
presets/acidgirls), bumblebeez, ghostwood, softlightes
...and those are just the australians, before we even get
to the international signings and distribution list: the
tough alliance, new young pony club, chromeo, yeah
yeah yeahs, soulwax, klaxons, the whitest boy alive,
and MSTRKRFT. what, no mgmt?

the label has made heavy investments in talent for 2008,
so the recent financial losses come as less of a surprise in
that context, appearing as more of an ebb than a gloomy
end point. critics have pointed out part of the problem is
that its high-profile artists take too long to make albums,
citing the recent pushbacks to 2008 from cut copy, van
she, the presets and the avalanches, but maybe it's all a
clever strategy on the part of the label in an attempt to
cultivate a loyal and long-standing fanbase for its artists
in a notoriously fickle blogosphere. you can't buy the
priceless blog love that anticipation leads too. whatever
it is, it appears to be paying off - cut copy's in ghost
and the presets' apocalypso have already gone
to #1 on the ARIA charts - and will continue to do so with
the buzz about the recently released full-length from van
she, V.

the sun-kissed disco pop of modular is matched in equal
parts with graphics that convey a retro-futurist visual
language: technicolour shades with a whimsical sense of
humour, and madcap fonts. welcome to your childhood,
kids of the 80s, you'll love it here. popularized already by
so-me for ed banger and those four capital letters written
in gold, it's a sense of nostalgia without being old, and that
would explain how it's been so quickly assimilated as the
frontier aesthetic for dance music's blog culture.

it's not really a surprise to learn that most of modular's
branding and artwork is done by alter, the design studio
that includes dan whitford from cut copy. we shift into
music + graphics mode for week 2 of our design focus by
presenting you with a taste of alter's work for modular:
a balance of music and design, en vogue yet timeless.
stay with us, this week the dance party goes visual and
you're all invited.

modular people

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