Simian Mobile Disco's Analog Prowess Stakes Claim To The Mid
By Jake Guidry in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 16, 2011 7:40PM
Deep bass. Driving synth. Analog warmth. Quintessential components to one of electronic music's unsung heroes, Simian Mobile Disco. Well, sure, plenty of people know and love the duo otherwise known as James Ford and Jas Shaw, but where is the real credit for producing some of the best dance music of the past few years? With their debut LP, Attack Decay Sustain Release, Simian Mobile Disco burst on the scene with infectious, bombastic beats, an indelible taste for analog synth, and a penchant for pop hooks. They followed that with 2009's Temporary Pleasures, an extension of ADSR that went even deeper, even more lush. Last year's Delicacies, a deep-techno ode to some of the world's oddest foods - and it was indeed impressive. All of that and more will take place tonight at The Mid, and the duo clues us in on why you should go.
Delicacies saw a bit of a departure from the duo's previous, more poppy work. "We just wanted to make tunes so we could play as DJs again," says Ford, and it's quite apparent in the album's club-ready structure and lack of vocals. But, with most club-focused records, the often lack of vocals and explicit themes can produce completely arbitrary song and album titles. With Delicacies, this is no exception, as Ford and Shaw decided to name the album after various food delicacies like "Nerve Salad" and "Skin Cracker". "Whilst DJing around the world," Ford says, "we asked locals what their most disgusting local dish was and these became track names." Yummy.
But it's more than just a collection of deep-techno sounds and odd track titles that make Simian Mobile Disco so appealing. Unlike many of their contemporaries, SMD are essentially analog. They make music with huge, heavy equipment where output can be unpredictable. But that's the point. "We can never finish a track in purely digital equipment," says Ford, adding, "we've found that analogue gear is more fun and gives us more ideas." However, Ford does admit that analog has its drawbacks: "it's not that much fun when you have to get the soldering iron before a show!"
For their show tonight at The Mid, SMD promise something different than past stops in Chicago. "On this tour we've been premiering a whole new show which involves a matrix of hexagons [and] we think it looks great!" Ford exclaims. A matrix of hexagons? Yes, please.
Simian Mobile Disco, tonight at The Mid, 306 N Halsted, 8 p.m., $22.50, 21+