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  • Filed under: Review
  • 08/17/2012

Roisin Murphy Simulation EP

In certain circles, Roisin Murphy is an icon. The Irish vocalist and former Moloko frontwoman has maintained a lively solo career since her original outfit broke up, and in the past few years, she's appeared in seemingly unrelated places by collaborating with the likes of Crookers, David Morales, and Toddla T. Now, her latest unexpected venture is a silky, disco-leaning EP for Munich's Permanent Vacation imprint, an effort featuring an edit from New York house vet Eric Kupper and a remix crafted by Mano Le Tough.

Although she has certainly proven herself to be an exceptional singer, Roisin Murphy has never really been known as a virtuosic vocalist. Rather, she's built a career around the palpable and engaging attitude that marks her performances. Here, this takes the shape of a seductive confidence, as Murphy calmly rolls through lofty, symbolic phrases with an airy ease. The lyrics, which seem to stem from the Arthur Russell school of art-disco, are largely delivered in luscious layered harmonies riding atop the thumping beat. Credited to one Crooked Man, the production beneath Murphy’s vocals is largely responsible for the tune's success. Sizzling right around 110 bpm, "Simulation" is built upon thick disco samples, giant hats, and a classically funky—but still classy—bassline that is just all kinds of irresistible. Both the underlying track and the sumptuous vocals ooze a certain kind of sex; it's not not brash and indulgent, but refined and smooth. Somehow, it works for 11 whole minutes.

Eric Kupper is responsible for the tune's dub edit, and while it uses the same building blocks as the original, it's somehow still a bit underwhelming. It's hard to put your finger on exactly why, but Kupper's version lacks a bit of the momentum which the full "Simulation" effortlessly displayed, maybe in part because the edit takes about four minutes to kick into full gear. Mano Le Tough's rework almost falls prey to the same pitfalls, and while his remix is meticulously built—adding dazzlingly detailed layers of percussion and arpeggiated synths—it too seems as if it's bound to go nowhere substantial for the first four minutes. Thankfully, the Berlin-based Irishman flips the bassline, opening up the track in its closing minutes and eventually making good on his reputation as a talented craftsman of dense, melodic dance music.

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