Well, scratch that. Fixed does is the most seamless thing Simian have put their name on. On paper, this tracklist hits some of the same notes as the Fabric mix—classic Chicago acid house (Bam Bam's "Where's Your Child?"), foggy dream-techno (Pantha Du Prince's "Behind the Stars"), lab-coat early electronic music (Delia Darbyshire's "Dreams"), and near-pop, thanks to Carl Craig's remix of Hot Chip's "One Life Stand." But Fixed unfurls in a straight line, the way a techno mix ought to, and while the sound it presents is relatively narrow—especially in comparison to the all-over-the-place feel of the Fabric mix—it's also sinuous and well paced, with the duo's own "Nerve Salad" a highlight, alternately woozy and piston-like.
It's noteworthy that it takes until the Hot Chip remix, with ten minutes left to go on the running time, to hear undistorted human singing in the mix. (Bam Bam's vocals are heavily treated.) And while it's a relief to encounter Alexis Taylor's all-too-human tones in the midst of the hard and straight (if elastic) beats here, it's a bigger one to hear Shaw and Ford not simply on their game but clearly in their element. (They even sprinkle some extra 808 on top of a few tracks.) Fixed isn't perfect—the segue from "Nerve Salad" into Pantha Du Prince is pretty dicey—but it's convincing. By stripping things down, Simian Mobile Disco prove there's more to them than you might have imagined.