Photo: Terrorbird Media

Mount Kimbie: Love What Survives

Mount Kimbie returns with Love What Survives, introducing post-punk elements to its electronic core, and in the process producing its finest record to date.
Mount Kimbie
Love What Survives

Moving beyond the constraints of dubstep, Mount Kimbie revels in deconstructing the genre. The duo consisting of Dominic Maker and Kai Campos was one of the first acts to dwell in the post-dubstep realm, something that was apparent from their early EP releases, and followed into their debut album Crooks & Lovers.

This deviation from the norm carried down with the evolution of Mount Kimbie, infecting the sound of Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, opening up the music to more adventurous pathways. Standing over the carcass of dubstep, Maker and Campos warp its style with diverse elements, ranging from post-rock, drone and musique concrete, to R&B and hip-hop. And what is exciting about Mount Kimbie’s capabilities is the singular focus of incorporating all these aspects without losing its connection to electronic-driven, intelligent music.

The implementation of field recordings does not feature the typical musique concrete fashion, establishing complex, reality-based sceneries. Rather, it is used to in such a way as to become more accessible and easy to handle, building soundscapes that can accommodate the pressurized, mechanical compositions. Similarly, the krautrock element is transformed to work with the duo’s mesmerizing tone in accordance with the ethics of electronic music, augmenting the overall experience through their circular progressions and psychedelic extensions. It’s an ever-changing path the duo has set out to explore, and its changing gears, from old-school krautrock to over the top synthesizers allow the swift, but always connecting, changes in tonality.

Love What Survives is an interesting title for the album, and even though Mount Kibie is nothing but forward thinking, there is an allure towards sounds and influences of years past. Krautrock is but one example of this mentality, but the most striking augmentation is the post-punk attitude, which finds its way into the structures. “Audition” is the first instance this mentality shines through, presented through bombastic drumming and sharp synthesizers. It is a sound that transcends electronica. By incorporating what has survived, every aspect of music the duo finds interesting and alluring, the record takes a new form influenced by the new wave direction, or by an even heavier alt rock, garage type sound in the monumental “You Look Certain (I’m Not So Sure”), a track that is capable of connecting two very diverse sides into a harmonious meeting.

Remaining on a more restrained, by Mount Kimbie’s standard, trip, the duo further morphs its sound to accommodate genre-bending elements towards hip-hop, a genre that holds an allure for the duo, as Maker also co-produced “MaNyfaCedGod” from Jay-Z’s new record. In this instance they explore hip-hop alongside long-time collaborator King Krule in the fantastic “Blue Train Lines”, where Everything has its place. In one of the most impressive tracks from the album featuring a driven performance from the duo and the rapper, Mount Kimbie unveils all its experimental aptitude in the process, by using the krautrock spine as the beat and the blinking synths to produce the hooks along the way. On a different note, James Blake, who has previously remixed the duo’s “Maybes”, also appears in the new album, with Mount Kimbie masterfully turning this ship around and dive completely into the neo-soul, post-dubstep realm, exploring all the emotional quality of their performance and the underlying sentiments behind music and lyrics.

Looking at the sound and history of Mount Kimbie it feels like this duo is traveling through different dimensions from one record to the next. Despite elements of the previous records having survived in the process, the pair is further opening up its sound, exploring further possibilities that didn’t appear on its radar a few years back. The result is such an astounding record, which on one hand exists in the past, while on the other it looks forward into the future. What place will Maker and Campos visit next? No idea, but it is certainly going to be another exciting ride.

RATING 8 / 10