There is always something valid about watching an artist curate their own work.
It's the decisions - both positive and negative - that offer extra insight, why something is subtracted, and another added.
It's this spirit which drives Simian Mobile Disco's latest project, with the group's Jas Shaw deciding to remix their album 'Murmurations'.
Released earlier this year, it was a strident, confident return, with the pair's barbed electronics veering off into unexpected directions.
'Re-Murmurations' will be released on October 28th, with Jas Shaw commenting to Clash:
For remixes of 'Murmurations' I had this idea that, rather than take stems for a track as the basis for a mix, I’d take bits from all over the whole album and cobble together something from that. I knew that the tracks were all in different keys and that it would be kind of a pain but I liked the idea of a diffuse remix, one that couldn’t be pegged to any one track.
It seemed like a nice, interesting but manageable, way to get back into the studio after a rough month. Also it coincided with my mum bringing back the sampler that I bought when I was 20, it’s an old an clunky machine but the muscle memory came back fast and I’m infatuated with it again. Now I can sequence it from the box we use when playing live the whole thing is very hands on and intuitive and generally lots of fun to use.
I started printing mixes each day. By the time my manager had got back from Primavera I’d done over 10 of them and got told to stop. For the purposes of making some vague sense we named the tracks based on where the most prominent element came from but really they should all have the same name as they are all a mess of all the tracks.
So, without further do, we are able to unfurl two brand new remixes from the project.
This obviously built on a loop of the bells from the front of 'Hey Sister', I wanted them to be really insistent and relentless. To cut against this there’s a really airy vocal thing that was made using a sort of ropey approximation of granular synthesis techniques.
What’s happening is I’m playing a scatter of very short snippets from the same spot in a recording of some backing vocals, I think from another track but pitched to fit. By adjusting which spot the snippets are grabbed from you can kind of scroll through a sound, it feels like you are freezing time the point that you are focused on.
So, hopefully you get the long swoopy choir type swarm hovering over this tight, clangy loop.
I took recordings of the Deep Throat Choir vocals that we had done, some of them already run through the boxes to make them a bit more unusual, not all the vocals are from 'Hey Sister' but that main one is 'I Think'.
The sampler/sequencer system I used for this is fairly oblique, there’s no looking at chunks of audio and shifting them around, you just twiddle the dials, I was really surprised how hard the brain wants to make sense out of vocal type sounds, I kept finding spots where it seemed like they were singing lyrics even though it was really just arbitrarily chopped up syllables.
I chose the gibberishes that I felt made most sense and did a few takes where I moved between those spots.
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'Re-Murmurations' will be released on October 28th - order LINK.
For tickets to the latest Simian Mobile Disco shows click HERE.
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