Mount KimbieI love pretty much everything about the new Mount Kimbie record. From the title to the cover art to the production quality and sequencing – it’s a smart, modern record from a pair of very talented producers. In some ways it feels to me like they’ve continued a throughline from Joy Division to Boards of Canada and built on some of the recent success of friend and collaborator James Blake as well as the ways acts like The xx and Caribou found a way to make pop music from an electronic, sample-based blueprint. Although that description may still be minimizing the scope of the new record which includes elements of jazz and hip-hop to match the cold wave and sharp-edged electronic collages they’ve pieced into legitimate songs, about half of which now include vocals for the first time. I got a chance to see them live last night at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom and everything I loved about the band’s music came to life beautifully. They’ve clearly worked hard to tighten up their live set. The sound was pushed way up, enough to literally rattle the room, but there was a  perfect balance. Everything was in its right place as Thom would say. Some of Mount Kimbie’s music has gotten slapped with the dreaded ambient tag but seeing them in person it’s clear that A) they are more a band than a pair of DJ’s and B) focused primarily on making dance music. It may have more thought and texture than music categorized as EDM but it’s underlying purpose is to make people move. Their encore was a three song set of high energy, bass-heavy tracks that would have felt right at home at Barcelona’s Sonar Festival. Part of the reason that I find Mount Kimbie so interesting is that they aren’t any one thing. They are clearly motivated by a variety of different sounds and their ability to weave that into a complex yet accessible mix may be their biggest strength. Both their new album Cold Spring Fault Less Youth and their live show get my highest recommendations.

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