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Monday, 26 July 2010

SubVersion Stop 99: Mount Kimbie - Crooks And Lovers (Hotflush Recordings)

Mount Kimbie are not archetypal of dubstep. Rather, with two EP’s and a smattering of remixes, “Crooks And Lovers” transfers benevolence to the dubstep album format, where they can emblazon fundamentals and shimmy a vibe from scratch. Handholds onto satisfaction are doubled: longer tracks edge little past four minutes, nourishing when the LP is played fully, and textures are like honeycombs: sticky but never soul-sucking.

An empty seat isn’t a crime, and although Hotflush are known for predation on lower tempo music that can still retain dance-ability, “Crooks And Lovers” is no DJ fodder, carving out a post-dubstep niche that will undoubtedly inspire casual imitators. There’s an all-round spark to the compositions – especially the middle-marking “Ruby”, which rolls and interweaves like a marble caught in a cement mixer. It’s calculated, divine invasion.

Elsewhere, a uniting trend of blips ("Before I Move Off"), bloops ("Blind Night Errand", "Ode To Bear"), bubble-bath synths (“Would Know”) and acoustic guitar ornamentation (“Tunnelvision”) straddle with toppings of voice, and in true fashion of effective interplay, communicate an enigmatic sonic language that while isn’t comprehensible to the naked ear – like a riddle told in Gaelic to a staunch Englishman – provides “Crooks And Lovers” with a longevity where you listen to uncover new dimensions from the production, at different times, in alternate ways.

Beats at this speed may initially seem sluggish, but later they merge into your unconscious like baby steps to counsel the daily grind. And at points, the noises display equilibrium between Planet Mu’s eDIT minus the harsh percussive thrash, and more poignantly, Burial – albeit taken out of depressive suburbia, and set free to roam the countryside.

Overall, it’s debatable that MK have teething issues with forming full works instead of sketches - it’s on the more provocatively measured numbers, with sensitively arranged structures, that they shine. But tantalisingly, you predict that there’s much more to come from the creators as they continue to mature. Case in point: “Mayor” marries a frumpy synth to what sounds almost like an electronic glockenspiel, wound around fragments of female vocal.

LP revisits are plus points to Kimbie’s hype armoury, and at 35 minutes, “Crooks And Lovers” is a prime mover in quality and quantity sweet but not saccharine. It’s electronica that while isn’t going leave you gasping for breath, will definitely engage your smile muscle. Plaudits will materialise if MK are allowed to unwind their experimental side while retaining a winning formula of musical humidity unhackneyed. A truly stirring album.

Read full review at www.hyponik.com from Monday 2nd August (site since relaunched so article reinstated for SubVersion)

Purchase: Mp3 release

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