Saturday, 24 July 2010

Mount Kimbie – Crooks & Lovers [Hotflush]

Just two EPs in and you knew Mount Kimbie would be an act you’d love to hear an album from. Dom and Kai emerged almost out of nowhere into the dubstep scene and never quite fit in sonically at least; they just got embraced into the fold for making quality music. Crooks & Lovers their debut full length sees them spreading out a little from the EP format with ease and creating a cohesive and diverse record. There sound is hard to pin down; they float from ambient found-soundscapes full of twisted field recordings to rhythms that pop off like mutated strands of R&B from a parallel dimension. They sonic contemporise could be anyone from Boards Of Canada to Timberland via the UK bass scene. You never know quite where the tracks are headed or what’s coming next, you could be drawn down a path that leads to bliss or a busy dance floor. This all comes together in one Mount Kimbie shaped package that never feels forced.

The woozy opener ‘Tunnel Vision’ bumps with a hip-hop shuffle, that brews under spaced out guitar strums, distant vocals and field recordings of what sounds like a summers day in a park. It all melts seamlessly into ‘Would Know’, which cuts through a wind tunnel of noise with big bass tones, clicks and bleeps before releasing some soulful vocal cut ups into the mix before it steps it up a gear a little with quicker loops and beats. It’s a mesmerising piece and an early highlight: the video isn’t half bad either... ‘Before I Move Off’ starts like something from Druqks before morphing into a slinky guitar led number with the off-key Druqks-esq dissonant loops creating a freaky background to a funky little lick and popping R&B drum hits, vocal snippets and anything else they can get their hands on. It sounds like they’ll make percussion out of anything from found sounds to vocal ticks. There is an almost post-punk vibe to this track when the live bass and guitars start rolling, like they’re channelling 80s synth pop, post-punk and Two Lone Swordsman all at once.

The electro-esq ‘Blind Night Errand’ sounds like the most dubstep thing Mount Kimbie have committed to wax. It rolls into action with a tweaked out driving bass line that gets more and more twisted as it rolls along and block rocking electro beats, when that breathless little vocal tick hits its sublime. Guitars spring back into action on ‘Adriatic’, a folky aesthetic run along side more propulsive hip-hop ones in a way you wouldn’t really expect. It’s a little sketch that flows into another highlight from the middle of the record ‘Carbonated’, like a laid back variant on Terror Danjah’s ‘Air Bubble’ it pops and fizzes like the name suggests. With filtered airy tones and reverberating beats that roll through an almost James Blake-like organ/keyboard melody that has a sweet laid back gospel feel to it. They pack so much melody into every element of the music they make, its like everything sings off each other perfectly. ‘Ruby’ is he most like anything from the Maybes EP here along with ‘Field’, its got a slight post-rock twinge to it. Droning atmospherics find their way through lilting beats, low-down bass tones and subtle synth flourishes before switching up into a more upbeat flow. ‘Ode To Bear’ is an almost folky inclusion, its sunny and pastoral in a Mount Kimbie kind of way, laid back and subtle with shuffling beats and bitter sweat melodies.

The one two punch of ‘Field’ and ‘Mayor’ is one that keeps me coming back to the album time and time again, the pulsing techno build of ‘Field’ just keeps coming before it all twists into a sunny guitar jam as if out of nowhere. But the album really peaks with the wonderful ‘Mayor’, it filters and bumps into action in a mutated soulful house kind of fashion, with percussive clicks and bubbles bringing some energy before the synths really take off, glowing and twisting from arpeggiated flourishes to a tough head nodding crescendo. The way the bass plays off the beat and synths is pretty sublime, its low and funky and hits you just right. Closing with the melancholic ‘Between Time’ gives the whole thing a bitter sweat end of the night kind of feel.

With Crooks & Lovers Mount Kimbie pull off something that is tough to balance, its an album that’s both easy to get on board with and keeps you tuning back in, it’s a slow burner but easy to digest. It’s an intimate album that flows from mood to mood with ease, peaking and dipping again before it makes the transition again into a higher gear… Its chilled passages compliment the more twisted dance infused elements brilliantly they melt into each other with ease. You don’t quite know what’s coming next, the tracks twist and fold into shapes before your ears.

Download: Mount Kimbie – Field (Via. Xlr8r)

1 comment:

sarah said...

Vote for Mount Kimbie or any of your favourite vinyl album covers of the year! Crooks & Lovers is one of the nominees for Best Art Vinyl

2010. To check out the nominations or to vote yourself, go to

To find out more, check out:

Vinyl love xxx

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