Simian Mobile Disco, AKA James Ford and Jas Shaw, have been amazing us with their breath taking analogue sound since around 2003. I honestly think they’ve produced some of the best dance music of the past 10 years and that talent is really showcased here on their first live album released in the UK (their previous live album was only released in Japan), out on their own label; Delicacies. Having regularly listened to their Boiler Room set from late last year I had really been looking forward to this and it does not disappoint.
Check out that Boiler Room Performance:
SMD’s breakthrough mainly came from remixes of the likes of Simian (the band from which they both came), Klaxons and The Go Team! ‘Hustler’ was the first of their productions that I heard and I have been hooked on their sound ever since. I had the pleasure of catching most of their set at Leeds Festival 2008 but haven’t seen them since and I honestly cannot justify why. All of this makes me even more keen to catch them again.
The album was recorded last year at a show in Philadelphia and is a flawless performance showcasing their best music from throughout their career. As always though, the songs take on a life of their own when performed live. The previously mentioned Hustler, for example, has been reworked to the point where it’s fundamentally a different song, constructed using the same sample.
At points the songs disintegrate into mumbling synths and bizarre noise only to be rebuilt back up into dance floor fillers. This is the best aspect of the album. It pleases the music nerd in me, with their great use of a variety of analogue sounds through “three synths — the big modular plus two small rack synths, a 909, mixer, controllers and a bunch of outboard effects pedals and units”. Whilst at the same time had me dancing along in my chair.
For me SMD have always provided tracks with a great balance between their pop sensibilities and the darker techno edge and both these elements are showcased here with their selection of great vocal hooks and dark and deep build ups. Overall, a really great live album that shows why SMD are still doing what they’re doing.
Head over to their website to buy the album and check out tour dates: