Music Reviews

Love What Survives – Mount Kimbie Album Review

Dominic Maker and Kai Campos, two halves of a whole Mount Kimbie, pioneered the post dubstep sound over a decade ago when they broke away from bassline and old school two step drum patterns, and began experimenting with more floating, playful sounds. With two critically acclaimed albums already under their belt, the duo returns on September 8th with the release of their third studio album Love What Survives.

Furthering their collaborations with friends and fellow artists King Krule, James Blake and Micachu, the London based twosome’s mellow sound and flirtation with freeform experimentation is back in what is their most evolved album yet.

The aptly titled opener ‘Four Years and One Day’ sets the tone of the album with an almost eerie and jagged swirling combination of synths and motorik rhythms with the track ending in sheer guitar dissonance.

Made mostly on two vintage synths, Mount Kimbie have combined beautifully rough industrial sound with their wide-ranging sonic palette to create not simply music but art. With music videos for ‘Blue Train Lines’, ‘Marilyn’ and ‘Delta’ out already, the British duo have clearly taken strong inspiration from across the globe.

“‘Blue Train Lines’ pulses restlessly, much like blood coursing through veins and the steady roll on railway lines that the song title emulates.”

Directed by Frank Lebon – who worked on Frank Ocean’s ‘Nikes’ video – the ‘Blue Train Lines’ video is a fictional reimagining of Ishi the last Yahi. It follows the story of two anthropologists who upon learning of a man who they believe to be the last of the Yahi of California, dedicate their lives to studying and caring for him. The video’s visual narrative ultimately explores “the lines between student, teacher, collaborator, scientist, historian and friend.”

The soundtrack to the jittery visuals is the third of Mount Kimbie’s musical collaborations with King Krule, a London boy with a distinct voice whose solo work has been commended by none other than Frank Ocean. In a gritty departure from the melodic, murmuring tone of ‘You Took Your Time’ and ‘Meter, Pale, Tone’ from Mount Kimbie’s 2013 album, ‘Blue Train Lines’ pulses restlessly, much like blood coursing through veins and the steady roll on railway lines that the song title emulates.

 When Mount Kimbie formed they broke away from dubstep and this track, aided heavily by King Krule’s sneering energy and jagged lyricism, takes them to a moodier and more intense post-rock sound. The singer said that this collaboration contained “very honest exchanges” and on the harsh hook, King Krule grates, ‘Yeah I might’ve seen it all’, an ironic lyric considering we haven’t yet seen the true scope of what Mount Kimbie have to offer.

“Mount Kimbie’s evolution is undeniable.”

On ‘SP12 Beat’, the duo that arguably inspired a new branch of electronic music grow from their roots with delicate drum beats giving the fifth track a warm, atmospheric sound. In their press release, the pair said that they liked “drum machines that sound like they were played by humans; and acoustic instruments that sound like they were played by machines” and they certainly covered all bases on both this song and the whole album.

The first single released from the album and their first track in four years, ‘We Go Home Together’ featuring James Blake, is yet another step away from the electronic sounds and syncopated beats of ‘Cold Spring Fault Less Youth’.

 Sounding almost like it was recorded in one session, the track contains little sounds but the gentle warble of Blake’s simple lyrics over a trembling tambourine and purring electric organ. The minimalism is effective and affecting, with the gentle repetitive slurring of the lyric “and it’s the best it could’ve been” being oh so touching.

Mount Kimbie’s evolution is undeniable. The duo redefined the possibilities and moved the boundaries of British electronic music in 2013 with ‘Crooks and Lovers’, and this album too proves that the pair are experimenters and innovators, successfully placing gritty tracks next to ambient ones on the same record shows perspective and depth.

Eleven tracks long and four features deep, in Love What Survives Mount Kimbie have moulded their extensive collection of synths, drums and bass into emotive melodies while touching upon the genres of punk and pop in the process of creating exceptional electronic music.

Nikou Asgari

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Image Courtesy of Mount Kimbie Official Webpage.


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