New talent: Mount Kimbie

By , May 19 2009

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Earlier this year, Mount Kimbie‘s debut EP came out. It was called Maybes, and I don’t think a single person who heard it didn’t fall in love with it.

The title track, with its slow washes of Mogwai (when they still mattered)-style guitar and stuttering vocal loop had been around for a while – championed by Mary Anne Hobbs in particular – and the three that joined it were just as blinding. There’s not enough room on this page to tell you why they’re so good, just check them out.

Let’s retrack. Mount Kimbie are Dominic Maker and Kai Campos. Kai: “We met in a particularly depressing halls of residence in South London, it actually used to be a mental asylum. Dom had a warden’s room I think, I had a really high ceiling so I couldn’t hang myself. We both liked hip-hop and played each other music and that kind of thing for a while. I’d written a track that I was trying to get Dom to do some vocals over for about a year.” Dom: “During this time we found a new and exciting musical venture called dubstep.”

Kimbie have since been embraced by dubstep; Maybes was put out by Scuba’s Hotflush label, and the imprint remains their home. But the music they’ve put out so far has – to me at least – connections to post-rock, bedroom pop and Luciano-style minimal as well as dubstep touchstones Burial and Shackleton. “For me, growing up in Cornwall”, Kai continues, “I was always into hip-hop and jazz and some neo-soul, and apart from maybe one other person, I really didn’t know anyone else who was interested. So when I started making music it wasn’t as if there was any ‘scene’ that I was involved with or even aware of. I didn’t want to make hip-hop and I wasn’t a jazz musician, so I think this allowed me to be quite uninhibited. There wasn’t a context in Cornwall for my music.”

Dom: “I went to Bestival one year and I saw Mary Anne Hobbs playing music I had never heard before. From there I got into dance music. When we started Mount Kimbie, we didn’t want to make dubstep or techno, we wanted more of, as Kai says, an experimental hybrid. The introduction of a field microphone into our production was very key for me. Finding that, for want of a better word, organic sound, was very interesting and exciting.” So what follows Maybes? “The next one is perhaps more DJ-able in places but we’ll have to wait and see. After this one though it’s a clean slate again so God knows really. Keeping an open mind and taking lots in.”

Tom Lea

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