Mount Kimbie Mount KimbieCrooks & Lovers
It’s starting to become necessary to refer to genres and musical labels at the opening of reviews. The speed with which music is mutating is beginning to outgrow the velocity with which we can invent new genre names, making our human need to baptise everything our brains absorb all the more difficult. A professor of mine at university once said that concepts don’t exist until they are spoken of. They can be perceived but they don’t become real until they’re added to our knowledge cabinet with a certain name on them. Such is the case with post-dubstep: maybe it’s not a completely adequate term but it’s obvious there is a current, a sound, a group of artists with sonic affinities. And they had to be labelled. They are all artists who have come out of the dubstep scene, hence the name, which makes one think immediately of people such as Joy Orbison, James Blake, Sepalcure, Deadboy at his most organic, and Mount Kimbie. If we didn’t know anything about these artists we could think the term “post-dubstep” referred to a genre that is bubbling in the darkest and dirtiest dumps in the South and East London, like its mother. Nothing could be further from the truth, because this new mutation has obeyed the universal law of duality. The yin and the yang, life and death, light and darkness and, why not, dubstep and post-dubstep. They could not all be bassline, suffocation, darkness, sub-bass, violence and wobble. The universe needed to balance out with a dose of light, friendliness, melody, calmness, sweetness, attention to detail, and that’s why it put Dominic Maker and Kai Campos (and others) on the face of the Earth.
Furthermore, “Crooks & Lovers” has a special function. With the genre still developing, this could be the first important LP, one that makes history (if this post-dubstep thing will last) not because it’s the best or the worst, but simply because it is one of the first. So far, the EP has been the weapon of choice for the scene. Little gems like Mount Kimbie’s first two pieces , which, when played in a row gave the listener about an hour’s worth of pleasure, but without the cohesion and conceptual narrative juice an LP offers. “Crooks & Lovers” has a duration of little over 30 minutes, but at last we can evaluate how these first-borns of the genre get by when it comes to creating some coherence in their musical discourse. The answer has the same quality as their previous efforts in many ways, as Maker and Campos have not only transferred the sophisticated simplicity of those first pieces, they have also achieved to broaden the horizons of their own style, stretched it without deforming it, varied the recipe of the cocktail without watering it down. Parting from the same core as “ Maybes” and “ Sketch On Glass”, a hybrid column of ambient and stop-motion dubstep, Mount Kimbie starts adding wraps: a bit of jazz, a bit of future beats, a halo of dub, a little bit of glo-fi, thus constructing their particular totem. A totem that we all end up worshipping as if it were a Polynesian deity, if these boys don’t abandon the path they have been walking since their early beginnings.
The fact that the duo are going to be supporting The xx during a part of their European tour says a lot about the sound of this record. Maker and Campos stand knee-deep in shoegaze-much like The xx- with decadent basslines, like the last part of “Ode To A Bear”, and tearing guitars to construct the melodies. “Before I Move Off” is a good example, where the better part of the magic comes from this guitar melody, but the other elements make the shoegaze references doubtful. And that’s the magic of Mount Kimbie. The construct their discourse circling over themselves in an elliptical orbit. They wander off to other styles until the centrifugal force brings them back; and all this without stopping to gyrate over themselves, over this sacred totem that is their identity and also appears on the record, more immaculate, more purist, in the form of song. “Blind Night Errand” is simple and naughty, the duo steers clear of cutesiness in order to add some action with syncopated handclaps. “Field”, with its turbulent and dragging crescendo, or the fascinating “Carbonated” make it clear that Mount Kimbie’s discourse doesn’t end here; post-dubstep has transformed from a baby into a toddler taking its first steps. A rich and prosperous life awaits them. Here’s hoping we’ll be around to see them grow.
Mount Kimbie - Before I move Off
Mount Kimbie - Ode to Bear