Skipping through an aleatory mental breakdown of ennui soundbites and warped beats, Cardiff-based electronic miscreant, Michael Simmons, unleashes the musical equivalent of channel-hopping, under the, wryly entitled, Conformist moniker. Omnivorously grabbing snatched dialogue and samples like an indecorous fidget, the Simmons blueprint wonders through genres and styles at a whim.
Setting up his chaotic ADD method nicely, the earlier single release, ‘Savages Go Modern!’ (used as the opening salvo on this debut LP), proved to be a real gas. Throwing 808 pre-sets against cardiac-arrest versions of Rick Rubin-esque rock crossover guitars, the track sounded like Prince gate-crashing Busy P‘s Bronx street party. Of course this was only the start.
Now throwing open the floodgates, and setting off full-steam ahead on the looney tunes express, the Paid To Fake It album oozes bravado and bursts out of it’s containment with 8 more tracks of, almost, unmitigated nonsense.
Following the introductory grapeshot of exuberance, the following track, Big City Buzz Band, turns Luke Vibert inside out and takes a bash at the industrial mindfuckery of Throbbing Gristle for kicks. The nutty tapestry continues on, Ladybug Ladybug, with Simmons stepping on squeaky soft toys as he drags dub step through, both, an inane and insane sound collage of growling bass and apocalyptic announcements: “Everybody is dead”.
Pac-Man is given a new lease of life on the Quantum Mechanics alluded, Schrodinger’s Cat (named after the professor who came up with the infamous thought experience paradox); eating bright radiation luminous pills as Simmons boots a tin can of ideas down the street. On the oscillation roving, Girl Who Burned From The Inside Out, we’re turned onto the old skool electro of the Disco Four and Craig G, whilst the last furore, Panic Buying, has us imagine the Parisian Ed Banger crew soundtracking Logan’s Run: dare I say that there’s a tune in there somewhere fighting to get out.
The Conformist is at times fatuous; lacking direction and inventiveness on a couple of tracks (Hack Green Bunker especially). But in all fairness, the album is entertaining. Whether the political undertones and random – but obviously well-chosen – snippets from film and TV are picked-up or equated to being a commentary on the media and commercialism generally, is anyones guess. Sometimes the best protest gesture is to just “shut-up and dance” suckers.
Out now as a download, released as a physical format on 06/08/2012.