Review: Even a cursory glance at the track listing for any of Simian Mobile Disco's mixes will show that the UK duo remain hard-wired to electronic music's various nuances. This is also audible on "Distance..." the single from their forthcoming album, Welcome to Sideways. Bleary chords and euphoria-soaked melodies unravel over a lopsided house groove that bathes in Balearic positivity. The choice of remixer is also inspired and they have tapped Lena Willikens, one of Europe's most adventurous DJs. In her hands, "Far Away..." is turned into a twitchy, jittery affair, replete with insistent claps and wired, weird sounds designed to cause mayhem in sweaty basements.
Review: Simian Mobile Disco's most recent album, Whorl, did a good job in repositioning them as makers of curious leftfield techno, more interested in krautrock and IDM influences than the riotous electro and radio-friendly pop with which they were once known. The three tracks that make up Wheels Within Wheels were recorded at the same time - using a similar modular synthesizer-heavy set-up - but eschew the restless pulse of their dancefloor material in favour of slowly unfurling, beatless excursions. There's a fluid feel throughout, with the Reichian loops of the title track and shimmering chords of "Rectangule" hitting home hardest. It is, though, all very good.
Review: Making for a logical pairing, SMD and Bicep lock arms in an uplifting and bouncy jaunt through acidic basslines and emotive pads. Knowing how to cut the airy-fairy-ness and rip into a rock solid groove is a trait both parties are only too familiar with, and as such "Sacrifice" should be heard rocking out large-scale raves all over the shop with a considerable hit rate. Interestingly, the collaboration has given rise to not one but two separate ambient versions that make for a nice counterpoint to the main-room-baiting original mix, letting those fluffy elements waft out in blissful abandon.
Review: Following that excellent Bicep collaboration, Simian Mobile Disco join forces with Cosmin TRG for the latest release on their Delicacies label. On paper the two parties make logical collaborators thanks to their love of minimal textures and subtle melody, and in execution the results are a resounding success; "Surstromming" sees those rubbery acidic basslines SMD are famous for take a pulsating approach, throbbing its way through subtle dub chords and a robust 4/4 rhythm. "Sannakji" meanwhile is a considerably trippier affair, combining a taut arpeggio with well placed moments of ecstatic chord release. Two tracks sure to cause maximum warehouse devastation!
Review: If you are a fan of 2020 Vision with a keen understanding of the online electronic music community you will probably be content with the content that's preceded the release of Content, the label's 20th anniversary compilation. Yet how does the multi-format release shape up against the pre-release hype? Well this second sampler features a brand new cut from Simian Mobile Disco as well as fresh remixes of 2020 classics from Matthew Herbert and Cassy, which says it all really! SMD lead the way with "Parson's Nose" which is Jas and James at their most melodically languid and involving, whilst Cassy adds some notable chunkiness to "Get On Down," David Duriez's 2002 release on Ralph Lawson's label. The idea alone of Herbert remixing Maya Jane Coles is filled with intrigue and his resultant take on "Senseless" is resolutely strange without losing any dancefloor impact.
Review: The latest course in the current banquet of Delicacies from Simian Mobile Disco may yet be the sweetest, no mean feat when previous editions have featured collaborations with Bicep and Cosmin TRG. Mainlining into Frankfurt's rich house and techno heritage, Jas and James have teamed up with the don Roman Flugel for the exquisite Hachinoko/Ikizukuri single. Yes the titular theme for strange food remains (Google them!) and yes the high standard of music quality remains. Lead cut "Hachinoko" keeps the rhythms minimal, allowing the ear bending glowing synths prominence until a final third where the pressure is ramped up. "Ikizukuri" begins a bit grubbier and weirder, but the trio gradually tease out some wonderfully colourful tones - you can imagine this one causing smiles on the dancefloor for sure.
Review: Listening back to this collection of remixes from UK producer Dave Taylor aka Switch, one is reminded of how different electronic music sounded during the mid-noughties. The bleepy bassline, chopped-up vocals and lo-fi sample aesthetic belongs to a different era, yet there is still something endearing about Switch's approach. On his version of Ben Westbeech's "Dance With Me", this manifests itself through a grimy acid line, boisterous vocals and a shuffling groove that sounds like an early incarnation of the UK bass/techno groove. Switch's interpretations of The Futureheads and Spank Rock (one of the era's genuine classics) are even more radical, with his take on the former's "Worry About It Later" containing merely a stuttering vocal and looped guitar riff from the original, and on the latter's "Bump", he moves from filtered disco stabs into a carnal ghetto house narrartive.