Mount Kimbie‘s new album “Love What Survives” arrives four years since their Warp debut “Cold Spring Faultless Youth”. Produced mostly on just two vintage synths, a Korg MS-20 and a Korg Delta, and featuring a vast wave of friends and collaborators: Micachu, James Blake, Andrea Balency and King Krule, “Love What Survives” is a bold statement that takes you on a journey through a motorik post-punk landscape, a vivid dream within this singular band’s newly formed sound.
Recorded between London and LA and featuring a close knit family of collaborators, many of whom appeared on their NTS radio takeover shows that the band hosted with guests ranging from Micachu, James Blake and King Krule to William Basinski, Actress, Savages, Connan Mockasin, Warpaint and Julia Holter, the sounds and styles of these artists all appear to have immersed themselves in the thoughts and production techniques of Mount Kimbie‘s latest and greatest.
Opening with the fittingly titled Four Years and One Day, what is instantly the most striking aspect is the newly stripped-back approach to production. The Korg keys repeatedly buzz under a Kosmiche drumbeat that drives forward the vigor while alluding to something darker, just under the surface. This is followed by “Blue Train Lines”, pulling in the vocal talents of King Krule it picks up the pieces left behind by the “Cold Spring Faultless Youth” highlight ‘You Took Your Time’. The firing-on-all-cylinders energy is ripe throughout the collaboration and adds a sense of raw emergency to the track. The expansive leanings of Auditon throw open images of the vast city streets of L.A., the heat beating down and a psychedelic tilt to the instrumentation casting a blurred mirage across the spectrum, while the music carries a pure punk attitude, the soulful elements confound this aspect by tripping on the sunshine.
Recent single Marilyn brings the vocal talents of Micachu to create wonderfully captivating few minutes of Wyatt-style left field pop. Experimenting with the furthest reaches of the club sounds that they first came up in, SP12 Beat sees Mount Kimbie return to the tropical bass roots of early records such as Sketch On Glass while calling to mind fellow Warp artists Darkstar’s recent collaboration with Zomby on Hyperdub, Quandary.
Elsewhere they return to the stripped back low-fi vibe, the chugging rhythms of “You Look Certain (I’m Not So Sure)” feature the talents of Andrea Balency, its fuzzy radiophonic flow could be Andy Stott playing the bass for a Tender Buttons-era Broadcast demo, then things drop down a gear for the selected glacial piano work of Poison. A track so delicate it seemingly unravels from the go, playing out quietly until it suddenly seems to simply disappear in its entirety.
In expected fashion the two collaborations with James Blake are modern soulful blues classics in the making, We Go Home Together has a flicker of the early bass-centric days of both artists, yet some moments sound as if the music is bubbling up from deep underwater, while “How We Got By” adds an acoustic guitar for some serious late night downtown vibes. Delta and T.A.M.E.D bring the album to a full circle, representing the two cities it was recorded in and perfectly cementing the two sides of the coin each place brings. From the hustle and bustle of London which is greatly excavated on Delta with its Neu! 75 vibe catapulting us along, at once too fast to slow down, but never feeling hectic, to T.A.M.E.D taking the pure Los Angeles heavy-funk vibe within its Washed Out style stance, building in momentum while it runs ahead with a rainbow of pure joy flowing out behind it, leaving a trail of notes for you to follow over and over, time and time again.