Simian Mobile Disco’s track list for their live studio mix Delicacies reads like a frenzied geographical checklist for everything distinctly inedible. That is, unless Icelandic fermented baby shark, or perhaps roasted French songbird particularly arouse your salivatory glands. The point is, each delicacy or song is a rare (perhaps troublesome for most) endeavour destined to be enjoyed by only a few choice aficionados. And it makes sense; Delicacies traces a less than delicate Techno trajectory, perhaps potentially alienating any ‘We Are Your Friends’ fans, whilst giving the less cautious an opportunity to sample something a little different. Coupled with this release, the UK production duo James Ford and Jas Shaw started (albeit in early 2010) a delicious sounding club night, Delicatessen.
Our first served delicacy is Sweetbread, traditionally a dish born out of the thymus or pancreas of a calf or lamb. Synesthesiacs beware; a cross-sensory experience should be avoided at all costs. Between the horrendous mental images and the inevitable online image searches for gut-wrenching pictures, ‘Sweetbread’ is a bold, assertive and infectious techno delight. Yes, delight. Slowly building up from the ground, sounds are weaved together, emerge and are expelled into the soundscape’s distance, only to return with even more gumption. It’s really quite catchy. Casu Marzu, one of the first two singles from the release is a less catchy, gloomier but atmospheric Ode to Sardinian Rotten Cheese. Thousand Year Egg is a jerky, optimistic track, which when the drop comes, intensifies into something akin to the aural equivalent of a clown’s incredulous smile. After collapsing into dissonance, the mood takes on a different dimension, and the track reaches it’s potential; true dance-floor ignition. Nothing like riling the kids up with buried muddy Chinese eggs.
Ortolan is perhaps the most brutal of delicacies featured. Now highly illegal, the illicit affair involves a tiny little yellow songbird (big stress on the helplessness) drowning in Armagnac and being unabashedly roasted with its skin and skeleton intact. Thankfully the track, which is the last on the release, is nowhere near as barbaric. Paradoxically, it’s actually one of the more harmonious and delicate, with elated synths and layers galore, strongly embellishing the simplest of motifs; an apt finale to a strong mix.
The album is out on the 29th November: head down to the Delicatessen club night on Great Suffolk Street to hear the SMD boys play it for you themselves with support from the brilliant JFD & Dave P and Nadia Ksaiba. Tickets are £10-£15 from www.residentadvisor.net or www.theransomnote.co.uk/tickets.
- Maria Long