Simian Mobile Disco have announced the release of their fifth studio album Murmurations on May 11, 2018 via Wichita Recordings. A thrilling 9-song set, Murmurations is as perfectly pitched for headphones as it is for clubs, named after giant cloud formations of starlings and themed around the stunning emergent behaviors that appear within them. To mirror these movements in the sonic landscape and visuals of Murmurations, SMD’s James Ford and Jas Shaw collaborated with the celebrated Hackney-based vocal collective The Deep Throat Choir, as well as creative directors Kazim Rashid of ENDLESSLOVESHOW (Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawk) and Carri Munden. Other brilliant minds were recruited to bring this vision to life including photographer James Pearson-Howe and Kiani Del Valle, who directed and choreographed three interlinked music videos for Murmurations including first single “Caught In A Wave,” out today worldwide at all DSPs: LISTEN HERE. Del Valle says of the video, “For ”Caught in a Wave” I wanted to explore the idea of chaos. I’ve been fascinated by mosh pits and have always been deeply moved by all the codes in its culture and the science of adrenaline and endorphin release. From pogo to slam dance and hardcore dancing, what mainly excites my eye is the physical impact and the sense of trust and commitment between strangers. Juxtaposing a mosh pit with a choreographed contemporary dance routine, I wanted to create an atmosphere for these two things to not only meet but also to elevate each other. The glue between the two also being the underlying friendship/love story where both characters are continually in the midst of a turning point.”
Murmurations is now available for pre-order: http://smarturl.it/SMDMurmurations
Simian Mobile Disco today also announced select headlining live dates in the U.K. and U.S., beginning with a special presentation of Murmurations performed live with The Deep Throat Choir at The Barbican Centre on April 4, with support from Fatima Al Qadiri. In June, the duo will headline five U.S. shows, including performances at Brooklyn, NY’s Elsewhere on June 8th and LA’s Teragram Ballroom on June 14. A current itinerary is below.
On the cusp of the 10th anniversary of their acclaimed debut album Attack Decay Sustain Release — for which they selected tracks to be reissued as part of 2017’s Anthology compilation — Simian Mobile Disco have had a chance to properly take stock, trace all the aesthetic threads in their work to date, and face the future confident and refreshed.
Finding time in between Ford’s work as a producer and Jas’ club gigging last year, the duo arranged a session in Shaw’s countryside studio. Via an introduction from a friend of Ford’s wife, The Deep Throat Choir’s director Luisa Gerstein and SMD began swapping some production and melodic ideas. They decided to bring the whole East London-based choir into the studio to experiment, and the results were intense. Jas says, “Listening to them moving their voices around a tone, altering the timbre, making chords, was like working with an incredible new synthesiser.” Rashid and Munden explore related ideas centered on kinetic energy and communal movement throughout the visuals of Murmurations. Rashid says of the collaboration, “We were both having discussions around the purity of collective human experience and how transcendental this can be. Techno and the dance-floor is one of the last true expressions of this euphoria.”
From the beat-less introduction “Boids” onwards you can hear uncanny patterns and sounds rising up from the sea of voices — not traditional chords or harmonies, but complex interference patterns that play tricks on the mind and merge perfectly with SMD’s distinctive synth tonalities and instinctive dancefloor nous. At times you might hear hints of Bulgarian choral music, or Cocteau Twins, or avant-garde composers like Iannis Xenakis or Pauline Oliveiros – but really, thanks to the creative freedom of SMD’s working methods, it is a sound completely of its own, something all too rare in an age of retro and reference.
Ford and Shaw still have the same love of pure sound, human harmonies and electronic possibilities that they did when they first met at university, and it’s clear that their career path has allowed them to nurture this love and express it as vividly as ever before.
Choir director Luisa Gerstein says of the collaboration, “Working with James and Jas has been a total pleasure. It’s been exciting to combine our use of raw female voices with the electronic sensibilities of SMD – the conversation between the two, how they have informed and responded to one another. The result feels like something warm, rippling and kaleidoscopic!”
We’re also curating a Murmurations Spotify playlist with tracks that have influenced/inspired us throughout the creative process in the making of this album. We’ll be adding to the playlist frequently. You can follow it HERE.
Simian Mobile Disco Live Dates
4/04 – London, UK @ The Barbican Centre (Tickets), Presenting Murmurations with The Deep Throat Choir
6/07 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
6/08 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
6/14 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune
6/15 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
6/16 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom