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Mount Kimbie: Crooks & Lovers (Hotflush Recordings)

Mount Kimbie is a duo that has always existed in the outskirts of that bloated beast known as dubstep. It has some things in common with that genre, in all its various facets and spinoffs. There’s the most obvious reference to dub in its slow tempo and strangely organic sound, lots of warm crackle and hum despite it being clearly digitally constructed music. But things get more interested in the act’s use of contrasts and juxtapositions; “Before I Move Off” starts off with the sound of piano innards before a raw synth shower rains down, later anchored by a series of strange cut-up vocals as a loose refrain, a device they use several times over the course of this short album. The palette is varied but also consistent – an odd mix of hand claps, found sounds, atmospheric drones, bleepy synths, cut-up anonymous voices, spring reverb, guitar, and very occasionally a more obvious reference to the cliches of dubstep at its most tedious, but always done just right… take for instance the buzzing bass tones of “Blind Night Errand” which never quite resorts to full-on bro-step “wow wow wow wowowow” but lets on just enough to get the idea. Something about this reminds of me Four Tet making a dubstep or grime album in its combination of organic and street sounds. It’s a super tight release, sure to be atop the best of the year. Highly recommended!