Monday, 14 June 2010

Interview: Mount Kimbie [Hotflush]

Hotflush duo Mount Kimbie's stunning debut Crooks & Lovers is due out next month. It's a truly labyrinthine listen, flitting swiftly through mindstates and abruptly changing mood at seemingly arbitrary points. In advance of its release I caught up with the band's Dominic Maker to chat about its genesis, their influences and how their music comes together, in this interview for Drowned In Sound.

In the few hours since it's been published I've been given some food for thought by several comments, which I'm keen to expand on slightly here. It's largely to do with connection my article has drawn between the loop-heavy sound Mount Kimbie have put together on Crooks & Lovers and the current Wire-approved wave of US 'hypnagogic pop'. While I'm less than overly keen about its use as a genre signifier, it's seems to me that the idea of hypnagogia in music can be quite a useful tool to draw parallels between emergent sounds, despite their obvious differences. Hypnagogia being the bridge between waking and dream, that elusive period of time where the brain begins to draw unconscious associations between older and newer memories, and regularly brings forth inspiration that disappears as soon as the conscious brain attempts to track and record its logic.

During the interview the discussion point was techno: the way that a well-mixed techno set can lull the brain into a similar state of semi-consciousness as the lo-fi, New Age feel of artists like Sun Araw and Oneohtrix Point Never. Once again, it's a case of repetition with modification, and a certain amount of intuitive melodic or rhythmic development that seems to develop in a free-associative, rather than overtly conscious way. Mount Kimbie's sound on Crooks & Lovers is quite heavily loop-based, and follows a similar off-kilter sense of narrative, tapping into a similar middle ground.

The difference between the US crop and an band like Kimbie seems to be one of influence, and how it's channeled. Artists like Sun Araw, The Skaters or Emeralds keep hold of a distinctly American connection to a slacker-ish aesthetic that ties in with the films of someone like Van Sant; quiet, dreamlike US indie movies. Kimbie are part of a different lineage, connected with London and Berlin, and the evolution of the 'hardcore continuum' (itself a contested idea, hence the quotation marks), but mine parallel, sometimes meditative spaces. Of course, this line of thought exempts the obvious other influences that go into their music: Crooks & Lovers has similar ties to hip-hop and soul as James Blake's music, for example. But it might offer a way of extracting and considering one aspect of their sound.

Any comment's welcome, this is largely food for thought and any ideas, links or owt would be appreciated.

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