Simian Mobile Disco - Unpatterns
'Unpatterns' is an album which more than ever shows just how unwilling Jas and James of Simian Mobile Disco are to rest on their laurels.
In the place of big name guests and ventures into booty-bass, all the voices are abstracted, spaced out, woven into the fabric of the synthetic sound. So broken hearted robots croon in 'I Waited For You', a cyborg Chicago house singer implores us to 'Put Your Hands Together', and alien choirs raise their voices in the ambient 'Fourteenth Principles'.
It's a monstrous record with none of the poppiness of 'ADSR', the multiple voices of 'Temporary Pleasure' nor the orthodox dance dynamics of Delicacies: instead it's the sound of SMD breaking away from any standard structures and going deep into exploring the possibilities of their their studio equipment and selection of vintage synthesizers. The effusive, slightly professorial Jas talks happily of "spending months getting our heads round some of this kit", while the rather more laconic James laughs as he says it was a process of "twisting knobs until we got something we liked."
Either way, the sound is entirely confident, and brings together all their influences in the pursuit of pure sonic pleasure. In a weird way it brings back the "prog-psychedelic" feel of those very first Simian songs, though with all the knowledge of the dancefloor they've gained in the SMD years. And the effect of that is quite uncanny: it completely sidesteps questions of retro and futurism to create a sonic temporal zone all of its own, where the place where relatively primitive electronic sounds stop and the mind-boggling degree of control offered by digital signal processing starts is impossible to locate.
And thus synthetic noises that might echo a Tomita or Suicide record from decades back are reinvigorated in a perfect demonstration of electronic music's power of recreation. The title of one track – 'Everyday' – says it all: this is about renewal as a routine part of music making.
It's a record full of love, dedication, hard-earned experience, obvious understanding of decades of electronic music from across scenes and styles, and huge fun. It's completely of the now, showing a band as familiar with Blawan and Lone as they are with Silver Apples and Phuture, but never jumping on bandwagons; as Jas puts it "why would we want to try and imitate a Hessle Audio record when they do it perfectly already? Why make a Lindstrom record when you can't be better than Lindstrom?" It's just this sort of deliberate refusal to imitate or latch on to any one sound, along with a whole lot of passion and hard work, that's given SMD the longevity and fruitfulness they've achieved. So if you ever hear them suggest they just lucked out, don't believe a WORD of it.
Release Date : 15 May 2012