Release Date: May 28, 2013
Record label: Warp
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Dubstep
Mount KimbieCold Spring Fault Less Youth[Warp; 2013]By Rob Hakimian; June 12, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetCold Spring Fault Less Youth is London electronic duo Mount Kimbie’s first release for renowned British electronic-centric label Warp, after a string of EPs and an album on Hotflush Recordings, where they slotted in nicely amongst other dubstep and bass-related artists. The jump to Warp is an indication of how Mount Kimbie have shifted the focus of their sound for their second full length; whereas on 2010’s Crooks and Lovers, and the EPs that came out around it, most of the duo’s songs seemed built from the beat outwards, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth finds them spending more time on cultivating more varied and colourful textures first and foremost. Although Kai Campos and Dominic Maker have stated that the album was entirely created on computer, you’d be easily forgiven for thinking several of the instruments played here were recorded live.
With their 2010 debut Crooks & Lovers being a near perfect, small wonder of post-dubstep bliss, British electronic music duo Mount Kimbie tackle the difficult sophomore release with the usually dire move of "add more vocals," but the results aren't dire at all. Quite the contrary, the opening "Home Recording" is the wonderfully foggy, yet somehow crisp, experience offered on their debut with far-off vocals coming from Kimbie member Kai Campos, whose style here is somewhere between James Blake and Ben Gibbard without aping either. The lyrics are a bit more free-form than traditional singer/songwriter material, and when a horn section break in the middle offers a prickly and rewarding bridge, it's like a transmission from the Portishead side of trip-hop where modern composition, The Wire magazine, and all things artistic are held dear.
Mount Kimbie, the British electronic duo, released their first album in 2010, and it was highly lauded by critics. So it would be easy to come back with your second full-length release and go for a similar sound, hoping for similar results, right? Of course, music would be boring if everyone just stuck to the same proven formula. The best artists know how to toe the line between familiarity and innovation, and that’s just what Mount Kimbie does with their latest release, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth.
Mount Kimbie were one of the most intriguing of British electronic music’s class of 2010, bursting out of the same basement party all-nighters as James Blake, Gold Panda and SBTRKT when south London’s turn-of-the-decade post-dubstep explosion went nuclear. The Peckham duo may not have gained the Stateside success, Mercury Prize nods and high-profile hip-hop collaborations some of their peers received (Blake and SBTRKT’s Aaron Jerome now rub shoulders with Kanye West and OutKast’s Big Boi respectively), but it wasn’t for want of trying: their 2010 debut ‘Crooks & Lovers’ was a delicately detailed club thumper, its twitchy motorik beats, soulful snatches of vocals and interloping zither sounds at once a loving homage to UK bass culture and an exciting lurch away from its ketamine-blazed clichés. Returning three years later with ‘Cold Spring Fault Less Youth’, you get the impression Dominic Maker and Kai Campos don’t want to be overlooked again.
Often credited with having kick-started the "post-dubstep" genre, UK-based duo Mount Kimbie could have easily taken the opportunity to live in the space between possibility and predictability, giving in to the constraints of genre labels and the sound that launched their career. Thankfully on second album Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, they've decided to leave no sonic door unopened. Moving away from the ambient, voiceless soundscapes of their debut, Crooks and Lovers, the new record filters elements of hip-hop, fuzzed-out indie rock, jazz and house through the band's peculiar aesthetic, to mesmerizing effect.
What happens when all the guitar bands die? The new Mount Kimbie record might spark a few thoughts on this score. Formerly of the school marked post-dubstep, this London duo have moved on with their second album, staying largely electronic but eschewing genre work in favour of evocation of mood and more traditional songwriting. Kai Campos, one half of Mount Kimbie, emerges as a vocalist, alongside guest appearances from the scratchy, cantankerous King Krule, whose two collaborations – You Took Your Time and Meter, Pale, Tone – are among the best tracks on the album.
When dull torso-nodding dubstep shattered into a plethora of delightful subgenres, Mount Kimbie’s Crooks and Lovers was the standard bearer of an exciting new scene. A few years later, the question remained: what direction they would go in? Would Kai Campos and Dom Maker echo Joy Orbison and move into darker, more aggressive techno, or go the way of James Blake and continue as normal, making music amusingly described by Dem Hunger’s Twitter alter-ego Susie Sahara as sounding like 'he just got mugged and fucked'? The first hint of Cold Spring Fault Less Youth’s direction came with the appearance of ‘Made to Stray’ on a Ben UFO Rinse FM podcast, a YouTube rip of which soon spread across social media. Beginning with a frenetic woodblock beat, it hinted at a departure from the melodic wooze of their earlier releases to a more dancefloor-orientated approach, with each element from fluttering trumpets to steady organ chords looping in with ever more reverb.
There exists a lovely, hazy video of a young Mount Kimbie performing in a church with a young James Blake. They're playing Kimbie's breakthrough "Maybes" (which later received an epochal Blake remix), and near the end of the song, the three of them-- Blake and Kimbie principales Dominic Maker and Kai Campos-- take on the song's prying, percussive vocal riff. Maybe it's the setting, but the moment feels big.
While Daft Punk triumphantly return with supposedly the “boldest, smartest, most pleasurable dance album of the century” and as the hugely superfluous term ‘EDM’ seeps further and further into popular usage, it seems that now may well be as good a time as any to begin question the current state and dissemination of ‘Dance music’. Over the past 10 years we have seen the proliferation of a once underground scene into the mainstream, more often than not to be watered down and made palatable to a marketing teams idea of “the masses”. Dubstep is of course the most notable example and one that has been treaded so many times I will avoid dredging up, but it feels that this once underground culture, like Punk and Rock and Roll before it, has finally had it’s watershed moment.
Mount Kimbie have been described as a ‘post-dubstep’ outfit, a term which – despite sounding like the worst kind of music journalese – is actually a pretty accurate description of their music. On their 2010 debut album Crooks And Lovers, Dominic Maker and Kai Campos (the two men who make up Mount Kimbie) took the musical signatures of dubstep – the deep bass wobbles, big synthesizer sweeps and syncopated drum patterns – and turned them inside out. The results made for an album that was subtle and demanded careful attention.
In the late aughts, Mount Kimbie — the British electronic duo of Kai Campos and Dom Maker — rose to prominence as part of the “post-dubstep” movement. From the start, this classification was a problematic one, reductive in its aim to connect the contemporaneous yet aesthetically distinct musical works of a group of young British producers. Although lines can perhaps be drawn between the early work of Mount Kimbie — culminating with their 2010 debut album, Crooks & Lovers — and releases by fellow purveyors of “post-dubstep” such as James Blake, it hardly seems productive to pursue such a path (earlier this year, Campos and Maker voiced their concerns about this tendency of critics to contrive an easy musical narrative).
In 2010, Mount Kimbie established themselves as world-class electronic tinkerers with Crooks & Lovers, their debut full-length. A shambolic yet highly efficient fusion of bass, indie rock, R&B and more experimental fare, the album didn't sound like much else, which helped it strike a chord across different music scenes. The easy-going feel of Kai Campos and Dominic Maker's early releases was a big part of what made them so appealing, but the deft compositional sense that underpinned it was what made the sound work.
Mount Kimbie's second album finds the south London post-dubstep duo signed to Warp, the ancestral home of digital beats that wrong-foot the dancer. Lead track Made to Stray sounds suitably on point, expertly marrying digital precision with wooze. Somewhat ironically, though, this follow-up to Crooks & Lovers, their much-lauded 2010 debut, features songs with vocals , even more organic sounds, and a palpable push towards centre ground.
By the time Mount Kimbie released their debut album Crooks & Lovers in 2010, dubstep had already bounced off happily to the mainstream. The record’s light steps and airy voicing led at least one critic to cough up the term “post-dubstep” for the first time, but really the British duo were coursing down a vein that already ran parallel to the cartoon bass drops that were starting to fill amphitheaters and SUVs. If Dominic Maker and Kai Campos make post-dubstep, then post-dubstep was born around the same time as dubstep — with Four Tet’s knotted beats, Prefuse 73’s detuned smears, and Boards of Canada’s chilly star maps.
Dominic Maker and Kai Campos, the duo that makes up Mount Kimbie, have matured greatly since 2010’s debut full-length, Crooks And Lovers, gaining not only wisdom but a tactfulness that only comes from being in complete control of your sound. The group’s sophomore album, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, takes chances, displaying a willingness to experiment and tinker with the pair’s core sound. And it does so with a sense of confidence.
byBENJI TAYLOR Music is a constantly shifting and evolving beast, parasitical to some extent, its various genres and sub-genres frequently splintering and fragmenting, and preying on each other for continual inspiration. Few genres change as rapidly as electronic dance music: the genre known as dub-step, with its reverberating sub-bass and syncopated patters of percussion – prophesied to take over the music world back in 2009 – was seemingly over before it had begun, with poster-boys Mount Kimbie and James Blake flying the banners for ‘post-dubstep’, the somewhat ambiguous style of sound that emerged from its ashes. Cold Spring Fault Less Youth is Mount Kimbie's sophomore album, and the follow-up to 2009's wonderfully constructed critical smash Crooks & Lovers, which was an intricately weaved tapestry of broody electronica that set-up band members Dominic Maker and Kai Campos not only as talents to watch, but as potential future producer-extraordinaires in the making.
Post-dubstep is a trite title, really. A genre that was supposedly pioneered by London duo Mount Kimbie, it’s a moniker that doesn’t do them any justice at all. Why? Because dubstep has always been, to put in clichéd terms, all style over substance. It has become is emotionally destitute, save physical interplay, born and bred on the dance floor.
Three years since releasing debut full-length ‘Crooks & Lovers’, Mount Kimbie have returned, with one notable change having occurred since their last full outing. They’ve signed to Warp, which as a stand alone announcement generated quite a bit of excitement, but it would seem the prospect of the two parties in unison has been causing heart palpitations.For the sake of those with serious heart conditions, Mount Kimbie have struck gold again. ‘Cold Spring Fault Less Youth’ wobbles in places and loses focus occasionally, but otherwise this is a joyous record to put your arrhythmia to rest.