While Modeselektor’s recent Extended mixtape is populated with all sorts of musical experiments, even the duo’s most ardent fans might be surprised by “Dating Is In China”, which is quite possibly the most overtly pop track they’ve ever created. A collaboration with Argentinian artist (and Monkeytown regular) Catnapp, it’s also the title track of the third EP released in Extended’s aftermath, following on from Mean Friend and Social Distancing.
The origins of “Dating Is In China” lie in Disc, a whimsical, melodic gem from Extended that wouldn’t be out of place on a latter-day Mario Kart soundtrack. Catnapp gravitated to it immediately after hearing an early version of the mixtape, and quickly got into the studio with Modeselektor, laying down her emotive vocals in just one take. There’s something uniquely pure and honest about her performance, and Dating Is In China in general, but there’s no denying that the song’s heart-onsleeve pop makes it something of an outlier in the Modeselektor catalog.
Knowing that, the Berlin duo put together an alternate ‘Speed Dating Version,’ and while their intention was to create something more typical of their usual sound, they ultimately wound up heading down yet another new path—albeit a rewarding one full of bubbling melodies and crunchy synth jabs. An even more radical transformation happens on their drone-version of the song called “Dated In China”, which takes the energy level way down while stripping out the vocals and indulging in a bath of meditative, drawn-out tones.
Elsewhere, Modeselektor hand the keys over to a trio of remixers, all of whom add their own particular magic to “Dating Is In China”. Knowing that Swedes have long had a special relationship with pop music, they enlisted Aasthma (a.k.a. Pär Grindvik and Peder Mannerfelt), who take the song in a dreamy, almost orchestral direction. In contrast, Jersey club queen Uniiqu3 provides a major shot of adrenaline with her insistent drums, not to mention the smattering of ‘too hot for TV’ sound effects she also tosses into the mix. The EP’s final rework comes from old friend TimTim, who nimbly slices and dices the original with his head-spinning (and distinctly IDM-flavored) remix.
In truth, nothing on “Dating Is In China” sounds like the typical Modeselektor production, and perhaps that’s what makes the EP so compelling.