Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Mount Kimbie - 'Crooks and Lovers' LP

Album of 2010, no arguments (sorry Scuba, but it even outdoes the great 'Triangulation' LP) . Since I was made aware of its planned release in March, I have been eagerly anticipating the debut album from Dom Maker and Kai Campos on the Hotflush label, wondering whether they would be able to adapt from the EP to LP format, something which other artists haven't quite fulfilled in previous attempts. The fact is that they are probably more suited to the LP format, with their own brand of post-dubstep taking you on a journey through their wonderful soundscapes, and experience which can probably on be matched or bettered by seeing one of the duo's live performances.

Dom and Kai met whilst at Southbank University, where they lived together in student halls. From here on in the two developed their response to dubstep, a sound which is of their own, indefinable in terms of relating to a single genre or style. The post-dubstep sound which they provided on 'Sketch On Glass', 'Maybes' and now 'Crooks & Lovers' takes you on a journey through their influences, breezing through dubstep, post-rock, ambient, hip-hop, techno and UK garage just to mention a few. This is an album of pure originality and brilliance, a work which you thank for making the clown Rusko (who had the audacity to call his album OMG!, a crime in itself even before I was exposed to the terrible so-called music) look ever more ridiculous and idiotic.

It would be easy for the album to sound confused and lost in direction with its many twist and turns as well as its number of musical influences, but Dom and Kai are always in complete control of this unique and innovative direction, and they do so in such an accomplished manner. Of course it won't be the same for all, but 'Crooks & Lovers' dreamy synths, idiosyncratic beats and hazy vocal snippets take me somewhere else, they provide a unique and wonderful feeling with their sounds which in my world can only be matched by the talents of Orbison and Blake. This downtempo, smooth and soft sounds is perfect, a mutation in dubstep/UK bass music which is constantly developing and growing with time. The album is for me as suited to chill out listening as it is on the dancefloor (many would say it isn't suited to the dancefloor, but I would love to hear 'Mayor' or 'Before I Move Off' in a DJ set).

As soon as 'Tunnelvision', the album opener, begins you know you're in for a brilliant exploration, with the tracks shuffling beat, soft percussive elements that attribute it a lazy feel and distant soulful vocals all contributing to the feeling of a hazy summers day which the track evokes. From this point on you never look back, falling straight into two of the albums highlight tracks, 'Would Know' and 'Before I Move Off'. 'Would Know' provides that typically luscious sound, with wonderfully smooth and airy percussion backed by low sub-bass and a shuffling rhythm, culminating in an uptempo riff 3/4 of the way into the track. My favourite track on the album, although each and every one is fantastic, is 'Carbonated'. The track starts with a nice harsher sounding synth, which is soon accompanied by a smooth prominent dub beat. The tracks main percussive arrangement slowly replaces the harsher sounding synth, completely taking over the track at the halfway mark to combine beautifully with the dominant beat and slightly increased sub-bass. This contributes towards the tracks lovely warm and soulful sounds, which is made complete by the incredible female vocal samples, which can't help but hypnotise you into moving to the beat. 'Field', the track most exposed from the album, probably is the best representation of what the album is all about: unworldly and puzzling. The track's intro slowly fades in a thrumming uptempo rhythmic sound, which suddenly pauses in the mid-section of the track and turns to softer sound, with a slow deep beat playing alongside an enthralling percussive arrangement and what sounds like the ambient sound of an electronic guitar.

'Crooks & Lovers' Tracklisting:

1. Tunnelvision (1:49)

2. Would Know (3:16)

3. Before I Move Off (4:11)

4. Blind Night Errand (3:22)

5. Adriatic (1:27)

6. Carbonated (4:19)

7. Ruby (4:04)

8. Ode To Bear (4:01)

9. Field (3:04)

10. Mayor (4:01)

11. Between Time (1:54)

The duo are also renowned for their live sets (they have collaborated live with the brilliant James Blake in the past), something I would highly recommend. They are currently supporting The xx on tour, and have just released a number of dates in which they will tour the US in September/October. These dates can be seen below. Check out Mount Kimbie's myspace page for more information on live dates, with more sets coming up over the coming weeks (www.myspace.com/mountkimbie).

23rd September- Victoria, BC – Rifflandia festival

24th September – Seattle – Decibel Festival

25th September – San Francisco – club TBC

26th September – L.A. – Downtown Independent Theatre

27th September – Colorado – Fox theatre

28th September – Boston – Wonder Bar

30th September – Toronto TBC

1st October – New York – The Bunker

2nd October – Montreal – Le Belmont Sur le Boulevard

This album is a landmark, the marker of a new movement/mutation in the world of electronic music. It's difficult to define it, and in actual fact it doesn't need definition, all you need to know is that Mount Kimbie are making fantastic and experimental sounds. Hotflush are most certainly leading the way with this experimental scene, which is providing more depth and feeling with its releases, as we have seen in releases from Scuba, Joy Orbison, Sigha, Sepalcure, George FitzGerald and of course Mount Kimbie. They are releasing great records ever more frequently at present, and long may this reign continue in the future. Please do listen to this album, its an absolutely brilliant experience, one you can't miss out on. You can stream the full album now at http://www.factmag.com/2010/07/12/stream-hear-mount-kimbies-crooks-lovers-exclusively-on-fact/, with its main release due for Monday 19th July. File next to Joy Orbison, James Blake and FaltyDL.

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