Simian Mobile Disco - Tong Zi Dan EP on Delicacies

Words by: Dave Jenkins
Posted: 4/11/13 8:42

It’s been a while since Simian Mobile Disco plundered the world’s more obscure dining habits to curate a bespoke international tasting techno menu. Over the years they’ve tempted us with living, moving sheep’s cheese (“Casu Marzu”) and even tried to feed us fermented shark (“Hákarl”). The origins of this particular dish, however, takes the biscuit…

Actually, there are no biscuits. A biscuit would in fact be a refreshing respite from the raw reality… Tong Zi Dan translates to ‘virgin boy eggs’, a Chinese delicacy whereby an egg is boiled in a young boy’s wee-wee. Honestly. Luckily the beats are far tastier than the inspiration, and they come with a stonking remix from Fachwerk founder Mike Denhert. Let’s tuck in…

Tong Zi Dan” takes off where their last album Unpatterns left us; raw, unbridled techno. Brutal-but-beautiful, it’s a slow burner that gradually develops with each well measured element. Each percussive ingredient is added to the mix with dynamic rhythmic effect as the timeless detuned synth riff hammers a familiar message home.

Remix-wise Denhert strips the ingredients back for a dish that’s much leaner, meaner and linear. The off-beat bass rides roughshod on the steady kicks to provide a buff, bracing groove that only truly builds with percussive hedonism towards the grand finale.

Still hungry? Good. “Escamoles” takes its name from a Mexican ant egg larvae. Yum. Again, the beats belie its loin-girding namesake as pristine plinks and precision plonks weave dextrously over a strutting New York beat that has roots in realms of Terry, Sanchez and Tenaglia at their mid 90s prime.

For dessert we head to Norway for “Smalahove”; a traditional Christmas sheep’s head. Nom, nom nominated as my highlight of this EP, here the SMD kitchen wafts with much deeper, complex aroma. Big chords wash gently over another house-informed beat in a similar manner to that of Moodyman. Pensive, understated, warm and ultimately timeless, it’s the perfect balance to the tight techno oblivion of the title track.

Sonically scrumptious and slow-cooked for a good eight-plus minutes, each track shows Simian Mobile Disco in their most honest, clearest mindset. I wouldn’t recommend any of the dishes these cuts take their names from, but the beats are most certainly delectable.

Artist: Simian Mobile Disco
Title: Tong Zi Dan EP
Label: Delicacies

TracklistTong Zi DanTong Zi Dan - Mike Dehnert RemixEscamolesSmalahove

Our rating: 8/10
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