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REVIEW: THE SIMONSOUND – REVERSE ENGINEERING

The Simonsound Reverse Engineering First Word Records The Simonsound
Reverse Engineering
First Word Records

In light of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, The Simonsound’s debut has inadvertently gained a topical title. It’s all too easy to imagine that the phrase Reverse Engineering has gone through employees minds countless times as they flap about within the infamous petroleum company’s HQ. In the case of the musical variety of Reverse Engineering, the title embodies an album that takes the sonic landscape of yesteryear and reinvents it as an atmospheric and innovative record of the now.

The Simonsound is Simon James and Matt Ford (DJ Format) and grew from the Chappell Music Library asking Ford to use their back catalogue to create new music. As things progressed James began collaborating on the project, resulting in tracks interweaving samples, vocals and experimental music. Musically it mines retro inspiration, taking ideas from spy films, space exploration, TV programmes and television and radio advertising and engineers this somewhat kitsch set of interests into a cohesive and beguiling long-player.

The end product is shifts between re-imaging influential tracks and instrumental meanderings that sound like they were made for 60s and 70s TV spy programmes that were never made the final cut. Highlights include It’s Just Begun by The Jimmy Castor Bunch with the originals soulful vocals, rhythm and horns replaced by moog and back-to-future space sounds and  Bad Love where the vocals stick to the beat before making way for a John Barry-esque big band flourish.

While the premise of Reverse Engineering is perhaps nothing new, the albums exudes archival quality. Released on Leeds’ based First Word Records, who are building a reputation for adventurous and experimental output, it leaves the dial hovering over the words quirky classic.

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