Simian Mobile Disco - Murmurations
Simian Mobile Disco
Simian Mobile Disco are not a household name rising to prominence in the bloghouse era of the mid 2000s. Their music has always fluctuated between techno and studio experimental while never quite bringing something cohesive together. The duo's records have been without vocals since 2009 until this one a collaboration with the all female singing collective from England The Deep Throat Choir. On Murmurations the two groups create this fusion of deep techno and swelling vocals that is as eerie as it is inspiring. The first track is just four and a half minutes of breath filled vocal surging up and down signaling that something is coming but never actually taking you there. You have to wait until the second track "Caught in a Wave" that the techno comes pulsing in shifting this ethereal setting to something for dark and vivid. They begin to explore a bit on "We Go" as it enters as this almost jungle house experience but then shifts and changes to the point where it dives into some really deep techno. The whole album feels like it is never beholden to anything, even itself. It doesn't feel the need to end a song where it started or give the listener some solid ground, hell it doesn't even feel concerned with the band's history, the album just is what it is. "Hey Sister" is simply stunning with this beautifully simple vocal and some truly wild beats moving and grooving in the background. The song turns into this inspirational anthem at one point while still keeping this one beat firmly on the floor with xylophones chiming in for added effect, it's wonderful.
There is never a moment on this record where you feel like you know where you are going, it is constantly shifting and changing. Murmurations came on the heels of a serious medical diagnosis for one of the producers and that idea of a lack of time inspired them to blast this record out. The duo have been lauded for their live shows in the past but bringing that energy to an album has alluded them. This record though feels like it captures something special. The vocals here are used so incredibly well to punctuate the more electronic leanings and give them more grounding in something real. When the electronic fuzz finally can no longer be contained it bursts through the vocals on "A Perfect Swarm" and the vocal eventually blends in with the techno creating one unified trippy ass voice. It is a bit weird to have house songs like these have such a large amount of lyrics, but it really works well without making the tracks feel like a jumbled mess. Murmurations really works from start to finish even if there is not that hit laying in there to bang at all the clubs this summer. Rest assured however you will be hearing some of these tracks, and a whole lot of pieces at DJ sets going forward. Don't sleep on this one.
9.1 out of 10