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Label: Wichita
Release Date: 11th May 2018
Title: Murmurations
01. Boids
02. Caught In A Wave
03. We Go
04. Gliders
05. Hey Sister
06. A Perfect Swarm
07. Defender
08. V Formation
09. Murmuration

Limited Edition Art Print

Murmurations is themed around the flight patterns of flocks of birds, and the stunning emergent behaviours that appear within them: the giant cloud formations of starlings preparing to roost at night are known as murmurations. These kind of patterns, of course, echo the way human society and the wisdom of crowds operate: Jas still maintains a love of the kind of small underground club spaces “where there can be a degree of anarchy in the real sense: people self-organising around their common interest.” From the beatless introduction “Boids” onwards you can hear uncanny patterns and sounds rising up from the sea of voices, effects that are more than the sum of the parts, not traditional chords or harmonies, but complex interference patterns that play tricks on the mind. Which is not to say this album is difficult or avant-garde. The peculiar vocal effects merge perfectly with SMD's own distinctive synth tonalities and instinctive dancefloor nous: just listen to the rising and falling intro to “A Perfect Swarm” and picture the giddy excitement it provokes in a club situation. And Luisa's lyrics and melodies are full of instant hooks, as on single and perfect festival singalong “Hey Sister”.

The whole thing is a thrilling ride, as perfectly pitched for headphones as it is for club soundsystems. At times you might hear hints of Bulgarian choral music, or Cocteau Twins, or avant-garde composers like Iannis Xenakis or Pauline Oliveiros – but really, thanks to the creative freedom SMD's working methods allow them and the choir, it really is a sound completely of its own, something all too rare in an age where all is retro and reference. It's clear that James and Jas still have the same love of pure sound, human harmonies and electronic possibilities, that they did way back when they were first experimenting with music at university, and it's clear that their unique career path has allowed them to nurture this love and express it as vividly as they ever have before.