Following the release of their third studio album Love What Survives, Mount Kimbie announced a full UK and European tour throughout autumn. As a self-confessed Mount Kimbie fan, I was eager to watch the guys perform at the O2 Institute in Birmingham, an intimate venue I knew would be the perfect space to hear the electric sounds of the band. Wednesday 1st November 2017. 

 
Words by Evie Kissack

The gig promised to deliver a plethora of synth-heavy sounds and exciting, experimental compositions – and Mount Kimbie didn’t disappoint. Kai Campos and Dominic Maker – the London-based musicians who make up the electronic group – launched themselves into idiosyncratic instrumentals, appearing on stage through a cloud of theatrical smoke. The atmosphere at the O2 made the first song particularly enjoyable; audience members of all ages stood eagerly in anticipation of the first few chords that would reveal the opening number. 

Friend and support act Kelly Lee Owens opened the gig, mixing ambient techno, electronic music and dream pop. Fusing elements of dream psychedelia with alternative rock, the musician floated across the stage, fluctuating between various tempos and beats. Moving from her different stations across various instruments and synth monitors, Owens set the scene for an alternative night of experimental music and intriguing performances. It was my first encounter with the 27-year old artist, and she delivered more elements of surprise than most musicians I have ever paid to watch. To my astonishment, I had heard several of her songs before, although I couldn’t quite pinpoint where or when. I later learned Owens had been enlisted by Campos and Maker to rework the single You Look Certain [I’m Not So Sure]. 

Having recently toured the USA during the summer months, Mount Kimbie was by no means strangers to the stage. The guys dived into their playlist, progressively moving the music towards a climactic point – when the band utilise ambience and atmosphere, they are untouchable. 


The musical duo played a mixture of tracks, both their well-known records from their second studio album, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, and new tracks from Love What Survives. The blend between old and new material was seamless, creating, what I will confidently describe as, one of the best gigs I have been to in the last few years. Both lads exude an impenetrable air of coolness, and their close musical relationship is clearly evident in their performance. Mount Kimbie seem to know the exact direction of their songs, and effortlessly move from track to track in a stream of consistently captivating music. Joined on stage by two other musicians, Mount Kimbie appeared as a four piece, something they haven’t explored previously. 


“Having more people involved has really helped let go of a bit of control, 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” – Dominic Maker

 

The melodic, intense music of Mount Kimbie fused multiple voices and instrumental flairs, giving their sound a certain quality and sense of freeness, which was highly enjoyable to consume. Their previously acknowledged post-dubstep sound seemed to have advanced to a new level of maturity with added dynamics, complimenting their ever-evolving sound. 


The much-anticipated collaborative track Blue Train Lines ft. King Krule sounded slightly obscure as the instantly-recognisable slur of Krule’s voice was replaced by Makers softer vocals. Yet, the track was given a different edge, keeping the fast-paced rhythm section and dizzying tempo. Mixing blends of Disco in You Look Certain [I’m Not So Sure] with percussion-heavy tracks such as Delta meant the gig kept the audience enthralled at all points. 

My favourite track from the new album, Marilyn, brought the mood of the room down to a level of contemplation and introspection. The mesmerising sound, accompanied by the brilliant staging and effects, created a very memorable moment during the gig for me.  

“The variety of the shows definitely pushed us to explore new areas, new pieces of kit, new sounds” – Dominic Maker


Mount Kimbie bring a sensibility and quality to their music that makes them highly enjoyable to watch live. The new album perfectly compliments their older pieces, but takes their sound in a new, interesting direction. With an exciting and dynamic line-up of collaborations and supporting acts joining the band on the rest of their tour, no audience member should be fearful of not being wholly engrossed at a gig.

A must-see for contemporary music lovers and fans of experimental sounds, Mount Kimbie live is an unforgettable experience. Without a doubt a band you will struggle to forget in the weeks following one of their gigs. 

 

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