Simian Mobile Disco: Murmurations review – hypnotic genius takes flight


Murmurations is inspired by the pleasing patterns of starlings in flight. It is full of indecipherable songs, swaddling the brutal clarity of the techno DJ-producer duo’s early singles in something unpredictable, off-kilter. Choral vocals make you feel everything from terrified to strangely soothed.

Simian’s Jas Shaw and James Ford recorded a few singers from London’s all-female Deep Throat Choir, then asked the others to wander in their wake, as starlings would. What gives their oftenindistinct murmurs wings is how Simian warp and manipulate them, like an auxiliary analogue synthesiser. It relocates the drama that normally comes from an electronic instrument to the ancient organic thrill of voices raised in unison, which humanises – and adds tension to – the work.

This simple but powerful process approaches hypnotic genius on A Perfect Swarm and We Go. The singers seem to seep into the bloodstream of Simian’s tracks, a hinterland where you can’t hear individual words, but take comfort in their collective song.

Watch the video for Defender by Simian Mobile Disco.


Damien Morris

The GuardianTramp

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