music review: simian mobile disco

You know what I’m tired of? I’m tired of mentioning techno music and having people automatically assume I’m talking about trance-a-holic, glow-stick wielding zombies, enslaved by the same tired, coma-enducing loops that have been pumped out by auto-pilot artists like Paul Oakenfold and Tiesto since 1997.

Thankfully, the signs are becoming more and more clear that the days of “uplifting” yet sorely castrated dance music are finally coming to a close. Artists such as LCD Soundsystem, The Presets and Hot Chip have been rolling a tank across the over-produced, over-polished, over-layered ad nauseum sounds of prance-trance and giving techno what it’s needed for some time now: balls. 

(Click below for more and an MP3…)

Unlike the blippy, bleepy 303-driven dance music of years past, this “new wave” of tencho is rapidly catching on. The music is still hard and raw but it’s being wrapped up in a nice little pop-tastic package, with crazy stuff like vocals and radio-friendly song structure making the tracks more accessible to a general audience.

While in New York, I was digging through the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) section at Kim’s Video and discovered what may be the very best example of testosterone-fuelled techno-pop yet: Attack Decay Sustain Release by Simian Mobile Disco. Released in 2007, the album is largely driven by off-kilter vocals and unapologetic techno; if there’s a drum sample or guitar riff anywhere in there I sure couldn’t hear it. The tunes are blippy, bleepy, energetic and raw, but a layer of 80s style syth (very much in vogue at the moment) gives the music enough melody and warmth to keep your head bopping (and if 80s influenced dance music is your thing, you’re going to bust a nut over Love, their tongue-in-cheek “tribute” to Duran Duran).

But make no mistake, underneath the very flimsy pop-music dressing lies the heart of a beating techno giant. If you were to cram early Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk into a blender, you’d begin to taste what this album brings to the party; pour in a few shots of raw, 8-bit noise, some swirly tek-house and a splash of 80s and you’ve got a Simian Mobile Disco cocktail that should keep the party going ’till the generator gives out.

Dying to know what it sounds like? For you listening pleasure, I’ve created a “needle-drop” mix – snippets of every track on the album in a single, five minute MP3:


[NOTE: To play the MP3, left click it and select “open” (which should send it to your default MP3 player) or right click and download it]

If you like what you hear, do the lads a favor and buy the album at the iTunes store or at Amazon.

5 Responses to “music review: simian mobile disco”

  1. 1 Dave
    May 16, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Shut your whining you pussy. That so called “castrated dance music” happens to sound a whole lot better then this drivel you’re trying to push on everyone. Your expertise on Graphics Design and your brilliant work on all five shows that I happen to be a fan of (BSG, Voyager, B5) is fantastic. However, when you start talking about things like music which you have neither the expertise nor what appears to be any taste, it just makes you look like a tool. So shut your fucking mouth.

  2. 2 darthmojo
    May 16, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Thank you for your insightful and clever rebuttal. Foul language and shouting is always the best way to show people how much better you are!

  3. 3 Izmunuti
    May 21, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Wow, Dave is a jerk and easily offended, apparently. Anyway, I appreciated your review and think you have good taste. This selection reminds me of Crystal Castles recent release, which I love. I will definitely check out Simian Mobile Disco. Oh, and thanks for the Pon Far edition of TMP — too much!!! Ha!!!

  4. 4 DigiNerd
    May 29, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Trance is dead, and Ferry Corsten killed it…

    It sounds like eary nuschool electro / modern house track which is a developing genre, but every now and again something comes out of left field that it so utterly wrong it’s glorious.

    Check out “And the Sky Was Pink” by Nathan Fake. It’s an older track now, but in each of the different mixes it’s twisted, nasty and beautiful all at once.

    Pretty sure you’ll like it

  5. August 10, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    i guess you’re just bored with listening to the same music over and over. you should try listening to other genres as well.

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April 2008

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