DATE: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2018
VENUE: THE CANOPY CLUB
VENUE ADRESS: 708 S Goodwin Ave, Urbana, Illinois
10:00pm — Eryn Allen Kane
11:30pm — Clairo
1:00am — Mount Kimbie
As well as experimenting with new instrumentation the band embraced collaboration to take their sound to new levels. ‘Marilyn’, a soft-focus, bubbling duet with Micachu, builds to a sun-flecked brassy climax, whereas the motorik rhythm section of ‘Blue Train Lines’ gives King Krule a fast lane on which to deliver his jagged vocal bursts. ‘You Look Certain (I’m Not So Sure)’, is sung by the band’s live member Andrea Balency and shows Campos experimenting with scrappy guitar riffs. Meanwhile, Maker describes ‘T.A.M.E.D’, sung by himself, as “our version of a pop song — a really deranged pop song”.
The album reveals a freer, warmer and more confident Mount Kimbie. “Having more people involved has really helped let go of a bit of control,” Dom Maker explains. “The memory of this record is very different from the last one. This one feels very bright, and the last one feels really dark. I guess that comes from having it be something that’s shared with friends.”
Another source of this influence of new personalities in defining the direction of the record was the series of NTS Radio shows the pair curated in 2015 and 2017. The eclectic shows featured album contributors James Blake, Micachu and King Krule, plus guests Actress, William Basinski, Savages, Connan Mockasin, Warpaint and Julia Holter, giving the band a fresh ear for what they wanted to create themselves. As Maker puts it: “The variety of the shows definitely pushed us to explore new areas, new pieces of kit, new sounds.”
Looking back from these “new areas” at this point in their career it’s worth considering the ground the duo have already navigated. Since releasing their debut Crooks & Lovers in 2010, a kaleidoscopic classic that redefined the possibilities of UK electronic music, they have constantly evolved. The follow-up, 2013’s critically acclaimed Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, was a bold move into songwriting and live instrumentation. They recruited King Krule to vocal on two tracks, and sang on record themselves for the first time on the tape-hiss house anthem ‘Made To Stray’, creating a new world of introspection and melancholy, fleeting between electronic programming, synthesized sound and acoustic production.
Their continual forward motion has positioned them as one of the UK’s most progressive and respected artists. Their central role in the birthing of the so-called “post-dubstep” sound initially inspired a generation of electronic producers around the turn of the decade, and has more recently crossed over to some of the biggest US artists. Their Crooks & Lovers standout ‘Adriatic’ found new life in Chance the Rapper and Justin Bieber’s 2016 song ‘Juke Jam’, while Dom worked with James Blake on production for multiple tracks on JAY-Z’s forthcoming album, as well as further productions on currently unannounced projects.
Despite the weight of this influence, the band are still far from categorizable. Love What Survives only adds to their reputation, proving the band are as vital as ever and offering no clues as to where their thrilling evolution might visit next.