PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Simian Mobile Disco: Fabriclive.41

The guys from Simian Mobile Disco have taken a different approach to their appearance on the venerable FabricLive series of mixes.

Simian Mobile Disco

Fabriclive 41

Label: Fabric
US Release Date: 2008-09-16
UK Release Date: 2008-08-11

The guys from Simian Mobile Disco have taken a different approach to their appearance on the venerable FabricLive series of mixes. Instead of curating, like similarly popular electro acts Cut Copy and Rub-N-Tug, a disposable, feel-good party mix, the London production duo aim to cement their legitimacy as premier DJs with an uncompromising if wide-ranging mix aimed squarely at the dancefloor.

There are fewer vocals and more inventive, maximal beats on FabricLive 41 than on the group's album from last year. Still, some familiar names like Shit Robot and Green Velvet do get a spin. The Shit Robot song, “Chasm”, is an electro monster, complete with overpowering sirens, high tempo synth attacks, and syncopated beat. Meanwhile, Green Velvet's "Flash" has still, after eight years, perfected that washed-out feeling of nostalgia. Its fuzzy, machine-gun drums and paparazzi obsession were a suitable precursor for the murky electro that has since emerged as dance music's most popular incarnation.

The group has said that they wanted this mix to stand the test of time, to combine new and overlooked material from recent years into a FabricLive mix that sounds current, but also rewards repeat listens. I suppose that's the aim of most of the artists who create mixes for Fabric, and while Fabriclive 41 is spirited, I'm not sure if it has enough panache to become one of the more talked-about entries. It feels workmanlike and efficient, not in a minimal sort of way, but in its adherence to what seems like a rather stringent conception for the mix's overall arc. Extraneous sounds drain away as the mix progresses (though there are always exceptions). Late in the mix, Raymond Scott's "Cindy Electronium" is an easy touchstone for repeat listens, filled with a buzzy, treble synth line that pings in the top register.

Simian Mobile Disco contribute two of their own songs to the mix, "Sleep Deprivation (Simon Baker Mix)" and "Simple". The latter is mixed expertly under and into Hercules & Love Affair’s “Blind” (the Serge Santiago version, a pattering minimal treatment that occasionally explodes with blaring horns) so that this portion of the mix becomes an aggressive and heady pleasure. "Sleep Deprivation", which comes later, is no less urgent, seeming to recoup its energy with a rattling of bones every few seconds.

On the whole, the mix is a success. Though it does cycle through a wide variety of incongruous sounds (check out the weird outer space chant on Moon Dog’s “Suite Equestria”), these are combined into a smooth and well-conceived flow with natural peaks and relaxations. That there aren't gimmicky switch-ups or flashy melodies is a purposeful repudiation of the Girl Talk school of popular party mix, towards which Fabric Live compilations have occasionally slipped. Simian Mobile Disco are clearly more interested in curating something that serves a stated purpose: to make us dance, and to do it again. A bit of added flair would have been great, but it's not 100% necessary. As it stands, this is a solid entry in the series for electro fans and those interested in where Simian Mobile Disco might be heading in the future.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.