Krautrock is still is with us in 2017. So indeed, love what survives. Lets talk about Mount Kimbie who does just that.
In the past decade I’ve been unwittingly listening to dubstep or… post-dubstep that is. The name of this vaguely defined genre was arguably coined by Dominic Maker and Kai Campos, AKA Mount Kimbie. The London based duo sparked my attention for the genre in 2010. At that time the track ‘Blind Night Errand’ from Crooks & Lovers roamed my longlists but wasn’t memorable enough to come out on top at the end of the year. Mount Kimbie released a sophomore record in 2013 which had the same effect on me. Interesting but also a bit flat. Love What Survives however brings back the vibrantness of 2010 while also deepening the experiment.
At thing that defines most Love What Survives is the krautrock drumming with is hypnotizing kicks and snares. In recent history outfits like LCD Soundsystem and Stereolab all made use of the familiar way of drumming from the 1970s. Campos, wanted the album to feature the same 40 year old drumbeat on every single song of the new record. This eventually didn’t happen but the combinations of kicks and snares, along with synths and watery base, are dominant on Love What Survives which in that sense make it an ode to the German krautrock scene.
Mount Kimbie start their third record, their second on the prestigious Warp label, with some heavy synths and the aforementioned krautrock drumming. ‘Four Years and One Day’ serves as a build up for ‘Blue Train Lines’ on which King Krule makes an strong appearance. Archy Marshall, who probably is having the best year in this still fresh musical career, pierces through the post-punk Mount Kimbie beats, rattling hi-hats and industrial dissonants. His sarcastic and aggressive delivery is wake up call and could even start a dubstep-like mosh pit, whatever that may look like… Completely in line with his recently released album King Krule twists and turns around wounded, while surdily telling us he might have ‘seen it all’.
Throughout the rest of the record the duo keeps combine synths and guitars. Much of the songs are outlined to be an ideal soundtrack to video games like ‘Race the Sun’ that are throwbacks to the time the sole purpose of a game was to race to the horizon. ‘Audition’, ‘Delta’ and ‘SP12 Beat’ are prime examples of that. Bass guitars mixed with synths will get you moving forward, endlessly. Mount Kimbie also give more room to vocals on other tracks. The Anna Meredith sounding ‘You Look Certain (I’m Not So Sure)’, features the French-Mexican artist Andrea Balency. Here post-dubstep becomes a sort of kittenish electropunk. Balency fades in and out on the duo’s melodies and blunted hooks, thus creating a hypnagogic experience in the process. ‘T.A.M.E.D’ probably is the most flat track on the record. Here Maker takes control of the mic and adds a vocoder for a robotic feel. Together with some swirls of watery guitars and synths he repeatedly throws in the line “Think about me every day” which in no time gets stuck in your head.
Next to King Krule another British heavyweight, by name of James Blake, also appears on the record. On the organ filled ‘We Go Home Together’ and the soulful ‘How We Got By’ Blake’s signature is written all over both tracks, his tentative yet strong presence gives Love What Survives that romantic “walking home after a night of clubbing” feel.
London doesn’t have a specific electronic music scene like other European cities have. Without that sort of focus and a lot of people who are experimenting with a lot of different things, London is a place with an interesting potential for innovation. For Maker and Campos it therefore is an ideal city to reside in. Mount Kimbie’s third offers a nice overview of the current state of alternative pop coming from the London underground. Yet first and foremost the record is an reinvention of Mount Kimbie who turn the tide from being ‘meh’ to ‘hmm’. As a result of that Love What Survives could therefore hopefully be a catalyst for more exciting experiments to come.
Label: Warp, 2017
- Four Years and One Day (3:17)
- Blue Train Lines (4:10) ft. King Krule
- Audition (4:13)
- Marilyn (4:06) ft. Micachu
- SP12 Beat (2:32)
- You Look Certain (I’m Not So Sure) ft. Andrea Balency (3:22)
- Poison (1:53)
- We Go Home Together (2:33) ft. James Blake
- Delta (4:04)
- T.A.M.E.D (4:11)
- How We Got By (4:56) ft. James Blake
Review by Wander Meulemans // 291117