The Simonsound, Reverse Engineering  
The Simonsound
Reverse Engineering
Label: First Word Records
Release Year: 2010
Style: Hip-Hop & R'n'B
  1. Tour De Mars (3:38)
2. Moon Rocks (2:40)
3. Inside The Capsule (2:55)
4. Hole In The Head (4:15)
5. Bad Love (3:30)
6. The One That Got Away (3:43)
7. Baker’s Dozen (3:09)
8. Against The Clock (1:57)
9. Nautilus (5:06)
10. Between The Wake And The Sleep (2:55)
11. Lunar Ascent (2:44)
12. Call Of The Siren (Part One) (2;49)
13. Call Of The Siren (Part Two) (1:49)
14. It’s Just Begun (2:56)
  BBC Radio 1’s Gilles Peterson has already mentioned a couple of times that this album is one of his favourite three albums of the year and he’s not the only one going mad over this debut release.
Yep, whether it’s on Peterson’s car CD player, on the radio or in the clubs, this is the business where Joe Meek meets hip-hop on the steps of Connie Plank’s mixing desk in Cologne.

The Simonsound is the made up of a duo of Matt Ford (aka DJ Format who is much loved for spinnin’ his style of Music For The Mature B-Boy) and his mate, Simon James (who released Welcome To Mars a couple of years ago that was originally composed for a 12 part radio series for London’s Resonance FM, written and presented by Ken Hollings).

So those familiar with these two’s previous exploits will not be surprised to find out that on Reverse Engineering they’ve plundered classic hits from the 1970s “by Jimmy Castor and Kraftwerk”

The opener ‘Tour de Mars’ sets you up for a manic special re-alignment of Kraftwerk’s ‘Tour de France’. Now you’d have thought we’d have been sick to death of this musical cyclo-porno by now as it’s been almost annually restored in some form around July to coincide with the greatest cycle race in the world comes around (far more important that the Tour of Turkey).

And if you’re a fan of Trunk Records style (whether it’s their Library Music, TV adverts, porn or great lost jazz album like their latest re-issue, Kenny Graham & his Satellites’ Moondog And Suncat Suites), Reverse Engineering is weird enough for you as ‘Inside The Capsule’ is the lost 50s soundtrack to They Came From Out Of Space.

You can see why Peterson loves this one so much as it’s Jean Jaques Perry meets Sun Ra for 50/60s TV theme tune buffs and Moog heads - ‘Hole In The Head’ and ‘Lunar Ascent’ is madness.

So how did this album come about? Well, The Simonsound was initiated when Chappell Music (the library people) approached Matt to have a dig in their library but it was only when he got Simon on board to take on a less sampled approach that all these retro sounds took hold; you get it now with the title Reverse Engineering?

The ‘The One That Got Away’ is an Indo-jazz intro for Dr. Rubberfunk’s ‘Bombay Bossa’ but the best BBC Radiophonic Workshop breaks is ‘Baker’s Dozen’ (think Madlib in outer space with Dr. Who). And who’d have thought Bob James’ ‘Nautilus’ could sound this good (i.e. nothing like the original) and on that point, Jimmy Castors’ ‘It’s Just ‘It’s Just Begun’ ends the album like Jean Jaques Perry has been reborn in the Bronx this week - totally acid funk in ya face (hey, is acid back FunkinEven?)

It’s not all instrumentals, ‘Between The Wake And The Sleep’ is the most beguiling of downtempo jazz beats (with Debbie Clare on vocals) and she adds the “space whispers” to the magical ‘Call Of The Siren’; and then Part 2 is out of this world!.

The Simonsound sound is not as ‘organic’ as Emanative (see interview HERE and watch out for his gig next week) but the musical link is obvious. “Highly recommended” as they would have said many years ago; or even better, as DJ Spinna says, “Reverse Engineering is a refreshing mesh of the past, present and the future. It’s like Mort Garson rocking shell toe Adidas with fat laces blasting into the galaxy in a funky spaceship”, I wish I’d have said that but this album is as close to the definition of ‘cool’ as it gets.

And this is just the start as there’s already remix action going on with our mutual friends at Futuristica Music and I’m told they are very good live - so it’d be great to see them for free in London’s Pure Groove in a couple of week plus “a super cool visual VJ treat of 50s/60s science fiction as well!”

And it you can’t make that, The Simonsound are guesting on Jonny Trunk’s OST radio show on the 8th May playing and chatting about tracks from the new album (see links below); definitely one not to miss.
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