Mount Kimbie – Crooks & Lovers

January 01, 1970




Mount Kimbie veers often toward a
dubstep-inspired sound, but London’s Dominic Maker and Kai Campos are better
identified as restless experimentalists rather than dubstep producers. They’re
trying everything out, but there’s never a comfortable spot within reach.



& Lovers
is the debut LP from
Maker and Campos. It follows two beautiful EPs from the act in 2009 that saw
breakout acclaim for a rampant incorporation of multiple styles, from post-rock
to n5MD-esque ambient to club-primed bass music. The Maybes EP, a mash of lengthened, massively fuzzed-out guitar
samples, sped-up vocals worthy of Pete Rock, and slow-cooking percussion, is
one of the more venturesome releases to come out of the UK bass camp in
years. Their Sketch on Glass is just
as rewarding, with clicks and straying atmospherics sewn into the EP’s more
obvious glitch and dance aesthetic. Crooks is rife with these odd turns, but a couple of pieces really take their time to
get where they’re headed. Were the LP not shaved down to an economical 35
minutes, this set wouldn’t share the need for repeat listens that Mount Kimbie
renders such a necessity with the earlier releases.



Flattened piano loops are paired with
sampler-chopped vocals and guitar for “Before I Move Off,” and
overtop its 4/4 beat, its successful live-meets-electronic feel could be
mistaken for an outtake from There Is
Love In You
(reviewed here at BLURT). Similarities to Four Tet’s recent
record arguably loom larger than do any references to dubstep tunes on Crooks & Lovers. The effort isn’t
without moments like the clinical, sub bass-driven ones in “Blind Night
Errand,” however, which is easily sharp enough to close a DJ set from
Pinch or 2562. Standout “Ode to Bear” works as the strongest
self-contained example of the kind of split personality that Crooks & Lovers delivers. Its gentle
opening, where warm and playful organ chords lap against snare rimshots and
deep aquatic echoes, would likely not land anywhere close to wherever NYC’s Dub
War promoters intend to schedule the next sweaty, colossal event. The clumping
bass that worms its way into the middle section changes the face of this
otherwise harmless “Ode,” and while it sits many frequencies higher
than the range occupied by the lines that drive dubstep’s earliest
incarnations, it’s jarring and once again completely unexpected.



Mount Kimbie’s expansive, lush hybrids of
organic and sampled textures have been issued on London’s Hotflush, an imprint
helmed by producer/DJ Paul “Scuba” Rose, whose own efforts — most
recently in the form of a sonically captivating sophomore full-length and mix
CD — prove audacious and unpredictable while tied strongly to bass music.
Given how often Crooks & Lovers jumps around, Rose has comparable ideas for Hotflush releases that don’t bear
his name.



I Move Off,” “Ode to Bear” DOMINIC UMILE




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