Mount Kimbie, “Love What Survives”

Mount Kimbie
Love What Survives
WARP
8/10

It’s not long into Mount Kimbie’s new record, Love What Survives, that the British duo announce a bold new direction. The group, consisting of Kai Campos and Dom Maker, are no strangers to maturation and development, but Love What Survives is easily the furthest they’ve ever strayed from their original sound. That sound—a hypnotic concoction of UK dubstep and hazy psychedelia—is rarely found on the new LP. Instead, Love What Survives touches on noisy rave music, tropicália, and piano balladry.

Mount Kimbie has always been well respected in the electronic community, but there’s no greater illustration of the sway they carry than one quick look at the guestlist here. Mica Levi (perhaps the most in-demand film composer at the moment), King Krule, and James Blake all take turns helping out (twice, in the case of Blake), and in lesser hands the music would crumble under the weight of such strong musical personalities. But Maker and Campos find a way to bring their collaborators toward their sound, not the other way around, and the results are outstanding.

King Krule raps over train-off-the-track hi-hats on “Blue Train Lines,” showcasing an out-of-body experience with blood-red yelps and the sort of evocativeness of voice that no one else in electronic music is touching. What makes Love What Survives the duo’s strongest work to date, however, isn’t their use of high profile guests. Instead, this is the first time Mount Kimbie has turned their brilliant sketches into monumental songs. Maker and Campos shift “Blue Train Lines” into a noisy krautrock jam, the first of many tricks the album relishes in turning. “Delta” whines along with screeching synths and pulsing percussion, providing the alternate soundtrack to Trainspotting we never knew it needed.

“How We Got By,” the album’s last song, begins with a quiet pulse of drums and a distant voice before clattering with heavy cymbal work and an abstracted, almost scatted vocal melody by Blake. The track quietly comes to a close and all that’s left is a soft ringing, and the arrival of a new Mount Kimbie.

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