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CD: Simian Mobile Disco - Murmurations | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Simian Mobile Disco - Murmurations

CD: Simian Mobile Disco - Murmurations

Humanity and machinery blend beautifully on the producers' latest offering

I put the preset on 'Georgia O'Keeffe' and it just went mad!

Throughout their career, James Ford and Jas Shaw have proved themselves to be nothing if not versatile. From the subtly swirling psychedelia of Simian, to the various dancefloor shapes they’ve thrown as Simian Mobile Disco.

On their last album, 2016’s Welcome to Sideways, the pair presented a collection of tracks that showed talented producers being talented at production. It was an engaging enough listen, but felt, at times, punishingly functional. Of course, in many ways, that’s dance music’s raison d'être – the clue’s in the name and the feet are on the floor. It’s the rhythm, the pulse, the shuffling, shamanic beat that leads the dancer into the middle of the moment.

With Murmurations, SMD have kept to their usual M.O. of not appearing to have a usual M.O. After recent forays into instrumental, introspective exploration, they have employed the considerable talents of the Deep Throat Choir, a London-based all-female singing collective, whose involvement puts a human heart at the centre of an, at times, utterly beguiling collection.

If Murmurations does share some common ground with its predecessor, and 2014’s darkly improvisational piece Whorl, it’s that it demands to be considered as a whole. Partly, this is structural: the clever pacing provides a beautifully mapped out journey, from the tinkered tonal drones of “Boids” through the sweeping, big build of “Caught in a Wave”, where reverbed drums underpin the swell of voices, to the joyful, celebratory, clattering mantra of “Hey Sister”, the album’s high melodic watermark. Things peak – along with the BPMs – with the club-friendly triptych of “A Perfect Swarm”, “Defender”, and “V Formation”. The foundations of these tracks retain a solid, architectural functionality, but the voices clothe it with a living, breathing skin and, in doing so, demonstrate an impressive assimilation of purpose.

The title track, the album’s shortest, is a welcome cleansing, closing coda; a chance to reflect on (wo)man machine music where humanity and machinery blend so well it’s hard to make out the joins. This may well be their best work yet.




The Deep Throat Choir are a human heart at the centre of an, at times, utterly beguiling collection


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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