Mount Kimbie – Carbonated EP (Hotflush)

Alongside James Blake and Jamie XX, the two poster boys for the so-called ‘blubstep’ generation, Mount Kimbie have been one of the acts shielding the pack of post-dubstep ‘Crooks and Lovers’ from the more mainstream wobble. Their debut album, which crawled quietly out into the daylight on Paul Rose’s Hotflush imprint last summer, grew like an electronic butterfly poking its head out of a grainy, ambient chrysalis. With its blend of r’n’b crunches, 2-step, jazz and burgeoning electronic soul, it shone a torch down another path, one where you don’t have to rely on pure volume to blow your listeners away.

A year later, and that path is one much travelled – early compadre and live vocalist James Blake is pretty much a household name while Jamie XX is reported to be working with hip-hop mega man Drake on his forthcoming opus after reworking the late, great Gil Scott-Heron’s final output to massive acclaim. Throw in the likes of Deadboy, Joy Orbison, Floating Points et al – producers who’ve ploughed a vaguely similar furrow of lovelorn, lost electronics which tread a fine line between pure dance floor shake and tears – and it’s all too apparent. The shadow originally cast by Dominic Maker and Kai Campos still reverberates great relevancy today.

Disappointingly then the pair’s latest ‘Carbonated’ EP only contains two totally new productions out of the six on display ‘Baves Chords’ and ‘Flux’ are both as fine as gossamer thread and manage to prick one’s interest while leaving it ready for more. The former sounds as if it was recorded in an echo chamber, then frozen in an amber of shimmering, lo-fi guitar strings, whilst ‘Flux’ is more ghostly, more urgent, yet still conjures up dreams of modern day dancers moving on a black and white film. It’s this mix of dynamics, the old and new, of delicacy and seering sounds that make the sounds of Mount Kimbie so bewitching. It’s an interesting EP for sure but makes me pine for a full length follow up even more.

Jim Ottewill

The ‘Carbonated’ EP is released via Hotflush on July 18.