Miss Modular

Song Review by

Although "Miss Modular" is built on a familiar-sounding two-chord pulse that would have fit quite nicely on Stereolab's earliest and most krautrock-obsessed releases, the arrangement is something entirely new for the group. A funky '70s-style clavinet (think of Stevie Wonder's classic run of singles) anchors the groove, buttressed by a brass arrangement by Sean O'Hagan that favors the instruments' lower registers, but over all of this, Tim Gane adds a guitar track that sounds as if it consists entirely of the buzzing, clicky feedback that happens when you pull the plug halfway out of a guitar while the amp's still on. While Pete Townshend, among others, have experimented with this sound (see the climax of the Who's "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere"), Gane uses the sound as a percussive element next to Andy Ramsay's drums. Several years later, similar ideas would be found in the techno sub-genre known as glitch. Over all of this, Laetitia Sadier sings, in French, lyrics that sound influenced by the Situationist theory of the "spectacle," an idea discussed in depth in Greil Marcus' Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century and elsewhere.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Dots and Loops 1997 Elektra 4:29
Miss Modular [EP] 1997 Duophonic 4:16
No Image 1997 Elektra 4:14
Oscillons from the Anti-Sun [W/DVD] 2005 Too Pure 4:13
Serene Velocity: A Stereolab Anthology 2006 Rhino / Elektra 4:13
The Studio Album Collection 1992-2004 2015 Elektra / Rhino