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Friday, June 6, 2008
Simian Mobile Disco
An 18-year-old with a passion for dance music these days was not much more than a toddler when Underworld released "Rez" and started to establish themselves as part of a new generation of dance acts that could hold their own on the festival circuit. Very few acts in the years since then have managed to compete with the rockers in stadiums and cow fields throughout the summer months. Simian Mobile Disco, however, are going to have a go.
SMD — comprising computer-fiddlers James Ford and Jas Shaw — started life as a side project of the British psych-pop band Simian, whose song "Never Be Alone" became a global hit after being remixed by French duo Justice in 2003. Dissatisfied with their lives in the background while touring with Simian, Ford and Shaw started to DJ as SMD in the towns the band visited, and found the work far more satisfying. Before long, Simian split and SMD took center stage.
The SMD sound is best described as sample-based electro, and has as many critics as it does fans. While it is certainly true that the music lacks the depth and texture of the likes of Aphex Twin or Squarepusher, the band are able to create the sort of catchy hooks that land dance songs on primetime radio shows.
SMD are unlikely to ever achieve the commercial success of "We Are Your Friends" again (it could be argued that Justice were behind the success of that song), but with the spectacular light show, hard beats and uplifting melodies that come with their 21st-century "live" dance show, SMD are likely to impress when touring Japan.
Simian Mobile Disco play live at Tokyo Liquid Room on June 12 and Shinbashi Club Quattro in Osaka on June 13. SMD will DJ at Kyoto World on June 13 and Tokyo Warehouse on June 14. www.ganbannight.com.