Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mountain Oasis Artist Preview: Mount Kimbie

Mount Kimbie perform at Mountain Oasis on
Sunday, Oct. 27 at The Orange Peel
With Mountain Oasis being a little over a week away at this point, it's time to start giving you all a run down on some of the most exciting acts that are filling the stacked bill slated for next weekend in Asheville. There's no point in covering these marquee headliners, as acts like Neutral Milk Hotel, Bassnectar, Animal Collective and Nine Inch Nails are so established that it'd be bonkers to come across anyone unfamiliar with their music at Mountain Oasis.

However, with such a versatile lineup there's sure to be plenty of folks that are interested in a wide array of musical genres. Thus, Mountain Oasis lends itself to fans that are looking to peer into new acts and genres that they've yet to delve into. Conveniently enough the festival is filled with some of the most promising acts in the electronic music scene and they're placed right alongside some of the genre's gatekeepers and figureheads. As someone who never got much into the electronic scene until about two years ago, even I sometimes find myself floored by the ever expanding genre. However, the schedule for Mountain Oasis reads as a who's who in the scene and covers many corners of the vast aural spectrum known as "electronic."

The first act I'll be highlighting from Mountain Oasis is Mount Kimbie, a London based duo that has created a sound that's simultaneously robust and minimalistic. Their tracks are mostly mid-tempo or down-beat ambient adventures that mesh field recordings with syncopated rhythms and soulful vocal tracks. Their latest full length Cold Spring Fault Less Youth displays these tendencies to a tee, the album features guest vocals from fellow UK upstart King Krule while their stuttering percussion and encompassing instrumentation surrounds the listener with a unique and dazzling soundscape.

Mount Kimbie brilliantly blends a slew of genres together through subtle nods, songs are likely to contain jazzy brass lines, atmospheric post-rock foundations and soulful vocals, but they never feel formulaic or structured. It all feels invigoratingly free of form, like a band that has given up on trying to mimic any pre-determined sound in favor of creating something brash and new. That brash new sound propelled them to the spotlight in 2010 with their debut full length Crooks & Lovers and the success of said debut led to their most recent signing to Warp Records.

Mount Kimbie began cutting their electronic teeth (their sawteeth so to speak--har har har) with fellow UK-standout James Blake. When one compares the two side-by-side it's rather clear that they had a remarkable influence on one another. Both acts produce searing tracks capable of chest-rattling bass at one moment and chill-inducing beauty the next. Many are quick to toss a post-dubstep label onto it, but it's more accurately pegged as a sound that's all their own.

Lumping most electronic music into pre-defined genres and sub-genres tends to overcomplicate a lot of things, especially with bands like Mount Kimbie. What's important is that Kai Campos and Dom Maker have and continue to release brain-bending music that's kind of hard to wrap your head around. It's hard to decide whether you want to close your eyes and immerse yourself in this billowing production or to instinctively bob your head to the point of headache inducing continuity. That, dear reader, is entirely up to you. You've got until Sunday Oct. 27 to decide, as Mount Kimbie will be performing at 9:15 p.m. at The Orange Peel.

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