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In April 2014, Simian Mobile Disco, the British electronic dance music duo, trekked out to the Southern California desert, taking with them their new live set up — two modular synths, two sequencers, and a mixer. Over a period of three days, they jammed and rehearsed in the desert, culminating in a one-off sold out live show at Pappy & Harriet's, Pioneertown, allowing 900 fans to witness part of the recording process.
Those sessions, taped under the desert sky, became the basis for their brand new album / live project Whorl. Now, after completing mixing and mastering, they are pleased to announce that the final studio album will be released through Anti- Records (Tom Waits, Kate Bush) in September. The first single off the album is "Tangents."
SMD's new live system was born out of a desire to challenge themselves — to remove computers altogether, going back to hardware sequencers, and limiting themselves to a suitcase sized rack of modular synth gear each — which both reduces the sound palette but allows much more hands on, real time manipulation — constraining themselves technically, to free themselves up musically.
Jas Shaw, who partners with James Ford to form the duo, says of the recording process — "The recordings we did in the studio while we were writing and rehearsing the new material for Whorl were simply "live" takes - the system we're using has limited ability to save patterns in the sequencer, but nothing like the flexibility of a computer. Live performance and studio composition are essentially now the same process, rather than the common method of writing a track using the computer, and then working out ways to perform it live. We planned not to slavishly limit ourselves just to this performance — when we came to mixdown the album, we used portions of three sessions — the show itself, an extended jam we did in the desert the day before, and a little of our London studio rehearsal. " Future live performances of Whorl are currently being planned, with a full list of tour dates to come — each show will be a live recreation of that recording process, so each time Whorl will be slightly different.
|2. Dandelion Spheres|
|3. Sun Dogs|
|4. Hypnick Jerk|
|6. Z Space|
|9. Jam Side Up|
|11. Iron Henge|