You could say that Simian Mobile Disco are the ultimate jack of all trades, but that would go on to suggest they are masters of none. Nothing could be further from the truth. The ability to expertly command vastly differing albeit prestigious musical institutions, from the Billboard charts to Berghain, is no small feat.
SMD occupy an impressively diverse trajectory that originated in the early 00s with the formation of a guitar-based indie rock group, meandered through dance music and traipsed through pop only to finally somewhat settle within the electronic and progressive psychedelic sphere. With an unrivalled devotion to reinvention and experimentation, the shape-shifting duo that is James Ford and Jas Shaw have amassed a body of work that is allegorical of the penchants of a generation.
The 2007 debut album, Attack Decay Sustain Release on Wichita’s label revealed Simian Disco’s broadness of vision, encompassing nods to acid house, minimal techno and soul whilst confronting all trite and banal categorization. Though, even those who have kept pace with SMD’s experimental production since then may have been surprised with the 2018 release of Murmurations. A far cry from some of their more chart-friendly offerings, Simian Mobile Disco combines their techno and electronica artistry with the pure and organic vocals of Hackney’s all-female Deep Throat Choir. What arises from such a pairing is a phenomenon of epic proportion, splitting the difference between oscillating dancefloor beats and more so avant-garde bearings. The suitably titled track “Gliders” exemplifies the enveloping soundscape that is the album, negotiating a perfect balance between ethereal vocals and glitch-domineered electronics. As with every offering from Simian Mobile Disco, Murmurations is unlike anything they’ve done before. That is ultimately the undeniable pleasure and appeal of Simian Mobile Disco. It is nothing but a truism that the only thing to be expected from these two esteemed creators is their stunning unpredictability.
Perhaps even more so unexpected and rare however is a free event on NYE in Leeds, which is where Simian Mobile Disco will be in attendance at Headrow House with a handful of Natural Selection curated DJs. See in the New Year with arguably one of the most absurdly, even criminally underrated electronic dyad around today.