Mount Kimbie released one of my very favorite little EPs in 2009 titled Maybes. Sketching an indelible glimpse of truly post-dubstep sounds – embodying not just the unceasing clatter of the streets but the tactile pulse of pensive moments at home in the morning kitchen, the bedroom or bath – no one else spun remotely into their orbit for a long time; not even their follow up effort. Then came the full length debut…
Crooks & Lovers. It sounds like nothing you’d expect. Instead of thriving in the miniature-ambient dubstep realm they created, duo Dominic Maker and Kai Campos sidestep the opportunity to bask in a certain glow. Gripping their sound ever more tightly, these 35 minutes stake out some truly virgin territory on the beat continent. All the domestic intimacy of their prior work is amplified while they throw open the windows and breathe in a wider spectrum of textures and feeling. Every tool in the kitchen has been employed in an assuredly minimal manner, each piece clicking into place with the draw of a magnet, a knife in its sheath. After several listens what seems to stand out most to me is how tactile the album is. There’s enough space and silence in here that the sharpness of contrast between the individual elements really snaps in an overtly physical way. There’s a sense of gravity and heft to these beats. Imagine the deaf hearing for the first time, the immense clarity of glass breaking or water droplets; how even a handshake cracks like thunder. Mount Kimbie renders each moment in a high definition embrace. Close listening is naturally rewarded with exponential returns.
At proper volume, an acute idea of synesthesia forms along with the standing hairs on my neck. Every millisecond of this thoroughly electronic sound hums like a rough brush on my thumbs, clicks like teeth on my lips, and claps with the force of a pair of hands over my ears. It’s an unending flow of warm and inviting colors filtering the entire band of visible light. It smells like home. This is what makes Crooks & Lovers truly stand apart.
If you’re remotely familiar with beat-centric music today, give Mount Kimbie a try. If you’re interested, simply buy this album now. Seriously.
02. Would Know
03. Before I Move Off
04. Blind Night Errand
08. Ode To Bear
11. Between Time
[grab a copy at forced exposure, boomkat or amazon or somewhere else and be happy you did]
[ps buy Maybes too]
Releasing the closest moment he’s come to a conventional song as a first single, Oneohtrix Point Never (aka Daniel Lopatin) nevertheless takes the road less travelled with this offering. Pairing a piano+vocal recording with a radical reimagining and leaving the whole affair at that, the man turns over yet another stone on his search to define what, exactly, his music means.
“You’ve never left; you’ve been here the whole time.”
The above quote seems to sum up the artist’s entire raison d’être. In fact, the elucidated lyrics, as gorgeously sung by Antony Hegarty, directly put to words many of the feelings evoked by the man’s signature aural space. Accompanied by spare, treated piano and the faintest wisp of echo, the operatic vocalist takes direct aim and amplifies the gut-level impact of Lopatin’s composition while laying bare the melodic underpinning of his enigmatic recording.
As brilliant as it sounds standing alone, the track is swiftly one-upped by Fennesz on the second side. Alchemizing the original, Antony‘s version, and elemental touchstones from throughout the titular album itself, the Austrian glitch deity twists up an overwhelming cocktail distilling everything which makes Oneohtrix Point Never intriguing in under five minutes. Simultaneously near-infectious yet more esoteric than the original, the track casts the newly focused vocals into a realm somewhere between the original’s stellar echoes and Antony’s intimate transmission, while providing the synths with both a rhythmic backbone and an environment utterly devoid of gravity. As in, yes, this version soars more than the artist himself.
As in, I’m beyond elated merely considering the possibility of these two collaborating in the future. As in… just listen to the track and know, as I do, what it’s like to have one’s mind blown in this particular way. It’s a fun ride. Regardless of how you may feel about the changes, a new and wider and deeper understanding of Oneohtrix Point Never emerges.
A. Returnal [voice: Antony, piano: Daniel Lopatin]
B. Returnal [remixed by Fennesz]
[grab this 7″ from forced exposure because it’s worth it.]
Brock Van Wey took a headfirst leap off the end point of dub techno last year into the oceanic swells of ambient bliss on this first album under his given name. Instead of crashing into the waves and sinking, the man usually known as Bvdub simply took flight and never looked down. This is White Clouds Drift On And On.