C’est en 2006 que James Ford and Jas Shaw, alors membre du groupe de rock prog-psych Simian, décident de créer un projet de djing parallèle qu’ils nommeront Simian Mobile Disco. Le projet qui n’était destiné qu’à faire quelques dj set au début, pris une tournure inattendue: le duo commença alors à faire quelques remix pour Simian, puis pour d’autres groupes, jusqu’à finalement faire leur propre production.

10 ans après, les voici avec 5 LP: Attack Decay Sustain Release (2007), Temporary Pleasure (2009), Unpatterns (2012), Whorl (2014) et leur dernière album Welcome to sideways sorti en décembre 2016. Durant ces 10 années, ils ont sans cesse fait évoluer leur musique sans jamais suivre une ligne directrice dictée. Ils ont enchainé les collaborations prestigieuse avec Roman Flügel, Bicep ou encore Cosmin TRG.


Every musician needs to take action to keep themselves fresh from time to time, but James Ford and Jas Shaw of Simian Mobile Disco have really gone to extremes this time: they’ve completely abandoned every tool they previously used to make music. The duo have never been ones to follow anyone else’s methods in any case – the title of one of their album Unpatterns says it all about their penchant for disruption and reinvention – but for the recording of their new record, Whorl, they’ve started from the ground up and created an entirely new electronic system, and recorded everything entirely live, from scratch.

The Simian Mobile Disco project had started to take a vague kind of shape. Originally simply a name under which Simian band members would DJ – in order to, says Jas, “satisfy our urges to do something more freeform, as touring locked us into playing the same songs again and again in the same way.” The name, increasingly just referring to James and Jas, was then used for the band’s own remix of themselves, then for remixes of others, and as Simian came to an end became the duo’s main creative outlet as they made more and more electronic tracks for their own DJ sets.

After several record releases as Attack Decay Sustain Release (2007), Temporary Pleasure (2009) or Unpatterns (2012) they decided constraining themselves technologically in order to free themselves up even more musically while recording Whorl — their last album. The result is something that takes you right into the heart of their creative processes, veering from completely abstract ambient explorations through buoyant repetitions that float into the territory of the most cosmic German and Italian synth explorers of the 1970s and 80s, then take flight into otherworldly techno grooves. Note well, it’s not a sound that punches you in the face with its newness or weirdness – the album, released on ANTI- Records draws you in gently with the truly beautiful airborne, beat-free opening passage of ‘Redshift’ and ‘Dandelion Spheres’, and each track thereafter is subtle, rarefied and elegant.