Mount Kimbie’s Love What Survives is extra tastefully curated playlist than album

Photograph: Motormouth Media

Again when genres nonetheless mattered, Mount Kimbie—a duo hailing from England, the place style names flourish like weird slang for snacks—took pains to distance itself from the “post-dubstep” tag it had been saddled with. “Submit-dubstep is sort of a shitty title,” Kai Campos and Dominic Maker stated in a Crimson Bull Music Academy video titled, tellingly, “Don’t Name It Submit Dubstep,” declaring that the umbrella time period unfairly lumped collectively a whole continuum of British dance music, and was “hypercritical and self-deprecating” in addition to—diminishing your individual music as a response to a mode that’s nonetheless extant and many obscure itself. Actually, “post-dubstep” is only a clumsy means of claiming, “We like huge bass sounds and synthesizers, however we don’t sound like Skrillex,” however that’s not practically catchy sufficient. So “post-dubstep” caught, and Mount Kimbie has been one among its torchbearers ever since 2010’s dreamy, three a.m. banger for the nightclub-of-your-mind Crooks & Lovers gave critics one thing to level to.


However regardless of the hell “post-dubstep” meant, it grew to become even much less aptly utilized to 2013’s Chilly Spring Fault Much less Youth, a vibrant, diverse document that allowed reside rock devices, motorik rhythms, and a noticeable mess to puncture its rigorously blown bubbles. Extra importantly, it added vocals—Campos and Maker’s personal narcotized croons, however most notably these of King Krule, a.okay.a. Archy Marshall, whose rude-boy, defiantly slack jawing gave their music a street-tough edge. The duo has spoken of how a lot Marshall’s “power” impressed its new Love What Survives, however greater than that, it appears to have given Mount Kimbie a complete new goal: as backing band for a rotating lineup of different artists. The result’s an album that’s actually vigorous and infrequently beautiful, but in addition a tad vague, as no matter identification Mount Kimbie has (even one thing as obscure as “post-dubstep”) tends to get subsumed by whoever occurs to be on the mic.

Of those visitors, King Krule as soon as once more muscle groups his option to the entrance with “Blue Practice Traces,” a three-pints-in story of “one other fuckin’ struggle, a junkie queue” during which Marshall’s rants develop extra determined and incoherent as his voice will get rawer, backed by an insistently buzzing synth and post-punk bass. On “You Look Sure (I’m Not So Positive),” Andrea Balency’s alternately breathy and flat, French-accented sing-song combines with a churning krautrock guitar to create a fairly respectable Stereolab imitation. And for “Marilyn,” Campos and Maker encompass Micachu (a.okay.a. Mica Levi) with ghostly chimes that tinkle like a waterlogged music field behind her unusual, spiraling vocal melody.

Campos and Maker’s longtime pal James Blake drops by for 2 tracks that, properly, sound very very like James Blake: “We Go Residence Collectively” stands out for its unvarnished simplicity, pairing Blake’s robotic choirboy voice, right here pushed to the bleeding edges of its register, with little greater than some gently whirring soul organ and a tambourine. However on nearer “How We Acquired By,” except for sections that briefly raise its warped piano tones and plodding bass line into the sort of echoed, dizzying, off-kilter abstractions Blake is often too mannered to take pleasure in, it may properly be an outtake from final 12 months’s The Color In Something.

In the event you like James Blake (or King Krule, or Mica Levi, or Andrea Balency, and so on.), clearly none of this can be a downside. However not like Chilly Spring, which excitingly freed Mount Kimbie from the airtight seal of ceaselessly mining storage beats and ambient haze, Love What Survives principally simply looks like a lateral transfer. And disappointingly, few of the non-guest tracks make as nice an impression. With its tremolo-ed suggestions and gnarled, Pornography-era Treatment bass, opener “4 Years And One Day” is an exception, getting issues off to a thrillingly noisy begin that’s later mirrored in “Delta,” which is all frantic synth pulses, train-hiss hi-hats, anxious organ, and ahead momentum.

However the unfastened “Audition” feels each bit the rehearsal-room jam its title suggests; “SP12 Beat” resembles the underscore to some ’80s motion caper in South America; and “Poison,” a fairly little ambient loop of cracked piano tones, principally simply comes off as calculated filler. Campos and Maker’s sole solo vocal flip, “T.A.M.E.D” can be a little bit of a letdown, their monotone supply not accomplished any favors by the music’s repetitive chorus of “Take into consideration me every single day.”

The result’s a document that scans extra like a playlist—an expertly curated “Late-Evening London” combine linked by normal ambiance and autobiographical connection—moderately than a person murals. That’s nice: It’s uniformly pleasurable, sometimes stirring listening, and Campos and Maker have glorious style. However hopefully Mount Kimbie continues pushing to stake out its personal sound, no matter anybody needs to name it.

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