simian mobile disco

News: Simian Mobile Disco to launch Delicatessen with live set

BlackPlastic has a difficult time with Simian Mobile Disco - live they are a revelation, as DJs they are highly proficient and yet their albums, particularly their most recent offering (Temporary Pleasure), leave us cold.

When focused on making music for the dance floor though they have a way with acid and techno that few can consistently match, as evidenced by their early tracks ('Hustler', 'It's The Beat' and 'Sleep Deprivation') and their more recent instrumentals ('10,000 Horses Can't Be Wrong').

As such Simian Mobile Disco's forthcoming album, Delicacies, gets us a little hot under the collar, since it collects all of the tracks they have released on their own techno focused Delicacies imprint so far and puts them in one package.

To celebrate the duo will be performing a "Records & Machines" live set in a secret London warehouse on 26 November, featuring the obligatory CDJs with an 808, effects and of course some synthesizers. If you have never seen them live BlackPlastic would recommend it.

If you are up north you may be interested in the Simian Mobile Disco night in Manchester, where they will be taking over the Warehouse Project on 3 December with a frankly stupidly good line-up including Hercules & Love Affair, Tensnake, Andrew Weatherall vs Ivan Smagghe and Aeroplane.

More details on SMD's official site. Tickets for the London event are priced between £10-15 and are available from Ransom Note and Resident Advisor.

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Single Review: U Can Dance - Hell

Hell's last album Teufelswerk felt impenetrable purely due to its sheer length - it turns out that two discs of camp German techno is not necessarily always a good idea.

So the chance to focus on one track at a time is welcome, particularly when it features guest vocals from Bryan Ferry and boasts remixes from Carl Craig, Tim Goldsworthy and Simian Mobile Disco.

If you know any Hell then the original track sounds exactly as you would expect it to. It is Bryan Ferry, crooning at you through the lowered partition screen whilst you bomb it along the Autobahn in a black Limosouine at 3:30 in the morning. Ultimately it's functional but not a patch on Hell's fantastic 'Tragic Picture Show' on NY Muscle.

The remixes have a lot to live up to - RadioSlave's thirty-minute mix of 'The DJ', on which Hell was joined by a(nother) angry rant courtesy P Diddy about the fact that real DJs play it looooong ("15 minute versions!"), was clever if a little obvious but more importantly it was well executed.

Inevitably nothing here lives up to that, probably due to the source material more than anything. Carl Craig turns in two mixes, imaginatively entitled Mix One and Mix Two. The first adds a bit of synth but is a fairly functional version of the original, just re-tooled for dancefloors. Mix Two is more ambitious and strips back much of the original's production, eventually adding in a fairly serious bit of acid. Sadly when the full vocal is introduced it can't help but feel forced, and the music and vocal melodies clash. It is a shame the vocal was not applied more sparingly.

Simian Mobile Disco's mix amps up the paranoia, dousing Ferry in petrol and threatening to spit cigar butts at his head. The resulting horror show (think Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet) is much more consistent, with the vocal doing far less to constrain the track than Craig's first mix and fighting with it far less than his second. It eventually dissolves into hiss but sadly lacks the conviction to leave it that way, coming back in for the inevitably dull DJ outro.

Of all the mixes you would perhaps expect Goldsworthy to be the best positioned to handle this track, Goldsworthy having worked with Andrew Butler as Hercules & Love Affair, whose vocals share a certain pomp with Ferry. And Goldsworthy's mix is easily best - the most effortless, going with the vocal rather than against it but at its best on the percussive outro once it is abandoned.

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Album Review: Temporary Pleasure - Simian Mobile Disco

It's a realisation BlackPlastic made after seeing Simian Mobile Disco live last year but it is worth stating now: we were wrong when we poo-poo'd Simian's stop-gap EP Clocks last year. Once framed within the context of a live or DJ set the tunes suddenly made much more sense.

BlackPlastic may have been longing for another 'Hustler' or 'It's The Beat' but ironically Temporary Pleasure proves that our suspicions were wrong - SMD are best when they go instrumental. It is just unfortunate that this only becomes apparent when listening to their latest album, on which all tracks bar one have a vocal.

Just as Simian Mobile Disco's début album's greatest moment was without doubt the storming, instrumental opener 'Sleep Deprivation' Temporary Pleasure is never better than on the tweaking epic '10,000 Horses Can't Be Wrong'. The difference is that where the last album gained pacing and variety through the different vocal tracks too many here feel a little lazy and phoned-in, with SMD seemingly happy to include them just so they can name-check some people on the sticker that goes on the cover.

The problem is that Temporary Pleasure spectacularly fails deliver on the promise offered in those acidic, tweaking live sets and the glistening album cover, itself suggesting a prog-rock analogue synth concept album. Instead we have an album that feels like a collection of the weakest points from each of the last few Chemical Brothers albums.

Temporary Pleasure - unfortunately an all too apt description: occasional moments of joy but some way short of greatness.

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Temporary Pleasure is out now, available from on CD, Special Edition CD, LP and MP3 [affiliate links].