Posted in Album of the Month

AUGUST: A big wardrode like synth



While I know there’s a distinct love of the electronic on here, we’ve not really had an out-and-out electronic album up for the Brothers yet. And I’ve come across one this summer that I’m really really enjoying. It’s not a whack-you-over-the-head one like Justice or Daft Punk, nor is it uber-cool soundcapes a la Shed or Something Else. But I’ve been a fan of Simian Mobile Disco for a while, but never delved too much into their music up to now, not in album form. They’ve done a pop album a while back that had some intersting tracks on it, but appalled fans of their dancefloor stuff. Then they did Delicacies, which was the opposite end of the scale, and a bit too growly for me.

But James Ford and Jas Shaw are two lovers of analogue, and that I like very much. They’re two endearlingly nerdy, very English guys, and when I saw them at Sonar talking about the album and their music, it was hard not to get drawn into their own take on it. Jas Shaw’s pet project is a wardrobe-sized modular synth, which they take out on the road at times, and live, they’re actually an outfit that really can claim to create pretty much everything on the hoof, far away from laptop/ableton jockeys. Their music’s across the whole spectrum, but listening to Unpatterns, there’s a proper actual knowledge of the past that comes through and colours everything they do. The music is warm, plump, punchy, solid….. they know what they’re doing, basically.


So, enjoy. I didn’t get blown away by this, but I didn’t want to be. I just wanted a collection of electronic tracks that crossed the genres that were made by people that gave a fuck and that wanted people to listen as well as just dance.


While you’re there, I highly recommend their RA Exchange interview, here:

And not just because I was sat there, hungover, nodding, all the way through.


Music, writing, and living.

8 thoughts on “AUGUST: A big wardrode like synth

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly heard a SMD track. Really. I look forward to giving this one a go. I will get the Frank Ocean track to you asap Brother Hornsby. It is a belter.

  2. Ok. I have listened to this a lot. I’ve not had much time in the car with it so I have been multi task listening too it. Mostly while working. Totally honestly, I was not keen at first. Perhaps not keen is not the right way of putting it. My issue was that I had no frame of reference for it. I was not sure if I knew enough about electronic music to tell if it was good or not! I found it a bit …. bleepy?I have however found it growing on me. Quite a bit. One of my favourite albums of last year was ‘Looping State of Mind’ by The Field. Electronica again but totally different to SMD. However, I am having a similar experience with SMD.I am not sure if I will ever be in love with it. But I’ve had it for 3 or 4 days and I’ve listened to it at least twice a days since.I will write more when I know more about how I feel but so far so good.

  3. I tip my hat to you Guy for choosing this album for this month. An electronic album is a hard thing to do these days in my opinion. first and foremost it’s hard to break new ground with an album, and second, with the way music is these days and how dance music changes you have very limited time to make a current let alone forward thinking album. I’ll throw it out there, I like SMD, I play any of their tracks and am a fan of seeing them play. The main element that comes across on this album to me is that the majority of this album has been pushed by their live sets. This isn’t a bad thing at all but I think at times they have limited themselves compared to previous albums. There are some fantastic tracks on this album individually. I think it’s best labeled as a collection of work, though album wise their seems to be a lack of flow on it. Track by track I lie what they have done, they are making some great music. I just wish that they maybe would have focussed a bit more on it being an album as I think they have it in them to do a bit better.

  4. Cheers brothers. I do like a challenge. And it was driven by me not listening to a lot of new music of late in the last few months, bar this, and liking it enough to set it on the collective. In order: Brother Joseph, sometimes I have to remember that not everyone I know is immersed in bleeps like I am. But I do like the Field. As you say, something entirely different, so not so much of a point of reference as one of comparison. As Brother Nolan says, it’s much more a collection of electronic records, less so an album in the conventional sense, but that doesn’t take away the quality for me. It just depends what you’re after really. Brother Nolan: I totally get you. I actually listen to quite a few electronic albums and there are some fantastic ones from the last decade that I’d love to have put out on here – Sideshow’s Admit One on Aus, any of Matthew Dear’s, Cobblestone Jazz, Frivolous’ brilliant Meteorology on Cadenza in 2010, M83’s stuff – but it doesn’t always have to be about flow or theme or concept. You’re right in the SMD are very much a ‘live’ act now, and their music comes from that. If you listen to their RA Exchange – anyone done that yet? – then it’s a good pointer to where this came from really. I enjoy it as a selection of really good house/techno/electronic tracks that are a summary of where they are now. They’re so well produced and put together that it doesn’t have to work much as an album but I get your angle. The’yre just two sound guys, making electronic music that they love, and showing they’re willing to go in any direction that suits. It’s nice to feel that unrestricted. Seraphim is amazing, it could be a classic house track from 1991.

  5. Good post Brother Nolan. I think you’ve made a massive point. Here. This does feel like an album of Electronica made by a live band. Spot on. I had missed that.As I said. This is growing on me rapidly. it is becoming a staple in the evenings when Silvia is in bed.My reference to the Field was about my relationship with the album (obviously not a genre comparison). I listen to this at precisely the same times. I ‘use’ it for the same reasons. Good pick. Plus … a much better album than the reviews would suggest? I had a peek at some reviews on Thurs! I try not to with the albums that we get from each other but I wanted to know how it was receieved

  6. Hello brothers. It’s been too long. Apologies. First holidays then a knee op. But anyway, I’m back and THAT’S THE MAIN THING.So. This album. NICE choice, Brother Guy. I like it a lot. Like, super a lot. They’ve always been on my radar and I like the odd tune. Funnily enough, I was a huge fan of their former incarnation, Simian. But this is a great record. It took me a little while – it’s got great hooks and a fantastic groove, but I was also finding it hard to get connected to. It’s got a real sheen to it that’s both very attractive but also hard to penetrate. But then it got me. It really did.The analogue-ishness of it reminds me of one of my favourite dance records, Etienne de Crecy (and friends)’s Super Discount. Anyway, fabulous album and one I’ll be playing for a long time. Thanks Guy!Oh. Apparently September is my month. Again, apols. Am thinking of a classic album for a change rather than a new one, so will email y’all.

  7. Glad you like. It’s a grower, and clearly made by people that love electronic music and appreciate the history. I LOVE Super Discount, and I get what you mean. I really must dig that out again. (sorry for the short response, I’m about to fly to Joburg with work and I’m in full panic mode!)

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