Simon James and Matt Ford (aka DJ Format) are the duo behind The Simonsound. The band is the brainchild of Brighton’s own Simon James, who’s the go to man for all things to do with the production of electronic music and radio production. Their sound encompasses, Sci-fi soundtracks, film and tv  music from the fifties and sixties and general space-age noises that the trusty Moog synth has been used for since it was invented.

The 100-year old Duke of Yorks cinema is pretty much the perfect setting for a gig like this, so before the main event we get cartoon film screenings with a sci-fi theme and a classic episode of the cheesy sci-fi programme “U.F.O.” as well as a full light show during the band’s set. To kick things off, DJ Format has dug deep into his collection of library music and psychedelic tunes and it creates the perfect ambience for the proceedings.

Support comes from Laura J Martin, who also features on The Simonsound album. She’s a singer who programs her own drum beats then plays either flute or mandolin over the top, using a loop station to repeat musical phrases. Her voice is in turns haunting, fragile and playful and the songs are great. Check her out and cop her CD. Simple as that.

The Simonsound’s debut album is called “Reverse Engineering” and it’s the songs from here that make up the set for tonight. Simon James has an array of equipment set up on the stage and between the vocoder, drum machine, Moog synth and other machinery he faithfully recreates the album. Debbie Clare is the other vocalist on the album, and she comes on to sing a couple of songs. All in all a great set from an innovative group. Simon’s canny space-age, electronic versions of hip hop staples “It’s just begun” and “Tour de France” (here renamed Tour de Mars” are the two tunes that get the biggest reception tonight but they’ve both been released as singles so the audience is more familiar with these. I’m glad Simon decided that this could be more than a studio project and is out there playing his great album in front of a live audience.

Well worth checking out if you get the chance. Space age music for spaced out kids.


Some footage of “Tour de Mars” performed at the Duke of Yorks