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Roisin Murphy Gets Hot and Heavy on New Single ‘Simulation’

Róisín Murphy

In the five years since Róisín Murphy’s last album, Overpowered, the Irish singer has seemed anything but. To the contrary, she’s done what she damn well pleases. On 2009’s self-released “Orally Fixated,” she celebrated her imminent motherhood with a song that scanned, more or less, as a meditation on breastfeeding — although the racy cover favored a far more salacious reading of lines like “My cupboard is bare, you’re already there.” (Thank goodness, Ms. “Do You Like My Tight Sweater?” Murphy gave birth to a girl; had it been a boy, the mind reels at the psychoanalyst’s bills that might have resulted, a few years down the line.) And in recent years, the former Moloko frontwoman has enjoyed a period of creative promiscuity, teaming up with Italian electro-stompers Crookers, synth-disco revivalist Mason, New York house DJ David Morales, David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, and Ninja Tune’s plucky bass-music savant Toddla T. Now, with no advance notice, she turns up with a new single on Munich’s Permanent Vacation label.

Produced by someone named the Crooked Man, “Simulation” is a slow-motion disco jam reduced to the bare essentials: Hissing hi-hats, daubs of Rhodes, and Murphy’s own incomparable voice. Bumping and grinding through 11-and-a-half minutes of heavy breathing, and featuring one seriously ecstatic chorus (as well as a cheeky reference to Loose Joints’ “Is It All Over My Face?”), the track sounds like an older, wiser version of Moloko’s mega-hit “Sing It Back” — angrier, agonized, and all the sexier for it.

With her newfound sense of the groove and retro-not-retro sound, Murphy sounds right at home amidst Permanent Vacation regulars like Tensnake, Todd Terje, and Azari & III. New York tribal-house fixture Eric Kupper turns in a suitably pneumatic dub version, while rising Berlin producer (and fellow Irishman) Mano Le Tough delivers a stellar rework reminiscent of a more disco-fied Carl Craig. The single comes out digitally and on vinyl August 24; stream the entirety of Mano Le Tough’s remix below.