Review: Mount Kimbie change the face of electronica

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Review by Shannon Lawlor

Experimental electronic music has always been top-talk in the underground scene, but some artists don’t necessarily capture such essence, or achieve high-acclaim in fields of experimentation as this can be such a broad, ambiguous term. From splicing together different sub-genres or sampling pre-existing sounds to create something entirely of your own, electronic music as a whole is clearly quite an ‘experimental’ division in music composition itself. It requires countless backtracking and reevaluation of your own work to completely understand how much actually goes into this process.

Mount Kimbie are one of those artists, and since 2008 they have been changing the way we see electronic music, releasing their debut album Crooks & Lovers in 2010, met with critical acclaim and included in several publications’ year-end lists.

Now, returning after nearly 4 years, Mount Kimbie grace us once again with their latest blissful and charismatic full length LP, Love What Survives. Released on September 8th via Warp Records, Mount Kimbie’s latest offering is a rich excursion in not only electronic music, but the evident experimentation that is clear throughout the entire record, teaching you something new with each listen.

After a welcoming, hypnotic introduction complete with ’70s sci-fi inspired synthesizers and poetic post-punk-esque guitar and basslines, we are then transported to the second track titled ‘Blue Train Lines‘ featuring vocals provided by indie-rap mastermind King Krule. The emotional build of the intro is superbly shaped by Marshall’s powerful lyrics alongside blissful analog synth swells and energetic drums, somewhat reminiscent of early Bloc Party; driving basslines, dramatic vocals both shouted and sung and a drum sound only achieved by understanding the ’70s.

The fourth track, ‘Marilyn‘ features vocals provided by English award-winning composer and vocalist Mica Levi, aka Micachu, who brings a certain charm to an already dizzying, yet warm atmosphere. With percussion seemingly influenced by jazz, lounge and even afrobeat at times, it’s rich and full, still leaving room for more. Twinkling guitars and horn-motivated synthesizers lead the way, while Micachu chants the phrase “I’m looking up at you, are you looking up at me?” before bringing it to a close.

You Look Certain (I’m Not So Sure)‘ sees Mount Kimbie team up with French electronic artist and vocalist Andrea Balency for this track, it takes on a post-punk/shoegaze inspired quality full of steady drum work, rythmic bass guitar and overdriven strummed guitars with a reveberated-plucked lead melody weaving in and out every so often. Balency’s vocals bring in a dream-pop aura that perfectly captures the essence of the entire song.

The energetic clicked percussionist feed of instrumental track ‘Delta’ reminds us how enthusiasm can come in peacefully, yet still leave an unforgettable resonance long after it’s departure. Organ-fuelled synthesizers coat a powerful, balanced beat over a persistent, distorted bassline calling for complete synchronicity.

The album’s closer ‘How We Got By’ features English singer and musician James Blake. Marking his second appearance on the album, Blake’s heartfelt voice sits stirring against an unnerving, haunting piano melody and a steady, vintage drum sequence. Layers of harmonious voices pile atop one another, preparing to liberate mellow basslines and a sense of stability.

Love What Survives stands out as journey through analog and organic instrumentation, tranquil yet spirited song-writing, diverse production against minimalist arrangements to bring something so uniquely crafted into a over-flooded demand, I feel as though they are not entirely sure of what they’ve just unleashed onto the world.

Order Love What Survives by Mount Kimbie HERE

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