Simian Mobile Disco Whorl Anti-
Ever been to a rave in the desert? Well, apart from that one for pyromaniacs in Nevada. Simian Mobile Disco’s bold latest venture invites you to indulge in a 12-track, 65-minute recording of an analogue techno jam in (the appropriately named) Pioneertown, located in the wilds of California.
The onomatopoeically-named Whorl has a more mediative quality than much of SMD’s past work, and London duo James Ford and Jas Shaw set out to challenge themselves, removing computers from the equation and utilising an approach more familiar to their fabled live show than previous studio work. Armed with a suitcase-sized rack of modular synth gear each – reducing the sound palette but allowing for more hands-on manipulation – it is a nod to Tangerine Dream and also Detroit Techno. It’s an exercise in rawness and wind-whipped ambience, and in many ways is a recorded document of SMD in their natural environment.
Tracks like Calyx and the record’s first single Tangents have a distinctive SMD sound, while the other ten tracks delve into more downtempo soundscaping. Taking the analogue blueprint to its natural zenith, Whorl – a word defined as loop, hoop, ring, twirl or twist – spirals its way into your consciousness with repeated listens. Richly soothing, healing, cleansing, it has a charming, undulating quality, and strokes the mind like sand being blown on the dunes.