Mount Kimbie, Remixes Pt. 1

[Hotflush Recordings]

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Last year, at the tail end of a decade that churned out increasingly dull waves of electronic pop, Mount Kimbie released two arresting, futuristic four-track EPs on the Hotflush label, Maybes and Sketch on Glass. Both are absolutely flooring listens, the plonky beats and thick bass of the au courant post-dubstep youth movement melded with drastic mid-song moodswings and glimpses of mumbly, whimsical UK pop in the Robert Wyatt/Hot Chip lineage. As befits two records firmly entrenched in the avant garde, the contributions to these two follow-up remix EPs are pure class, with some of their closest contemporaries on the first and a few Berlin mainstays on the second (to be reviewed soon).

Having first whetted appetites on Scuba’s Sub:stance mix, sometime Mount Kimbie live vocalist James Blake’s mix of “Maybes” is undoubtedly the best known remix here. The hype proves wholly warranted; for those put off by his prior and perhaps overly woozy LFO experiments, it ought to be a revelation. Sparse claps snowball into a slow-motion mixture of doubletime hi-hats, clipped samples and sonorous bass drops you can feel throughout your being, the title stretched into an inquisitive, twisted and pitched-up, “May-beeeeeee?” Blake prolongs the pitched up R&B that peeks, all too briefly, through the overcast guitar haze of the original. It’s one of several moments in Mount Kimbie’s catalog where dense fog gives way to perfect pop, a heart-melting slur of information overload and cautious hope. “Maybe” can mean so many, too many things.

London duo Instra:mental are frequently discussed in terms of drum n’ bass, but during their tenderest moments the distinction doesn’t matter much. From the start they instill an underlying smooth and peaceful desolation in “At Least,” kinetic melancholia for solitary late-night elevated train rides, sleek and solemn. Spritely and in 4/4 where the original was low-key woodblock garage, its rich bass intact and interspersed throughoute. Behind these rhythms, crisp and upfront as always, are a blurry mass of melodics and warbley tones, liquid flowing through the track’s veins. Antsy and thick with organ echo and fleeting samples, “Serged” was the perfect track for Falty DL to have remixed. His rhythms scurry all over the place, sometimes breaky, sometimes with a 2-step, never staying locked in one pattern for too long. It’s caked, like everything he does, in a very New York clash between expansiveness and claustrophobia. The track has an exhausted sort of attention-deficit, especially for Falty DL; near the track’s conclusion, a pitched-down sample laments, “That was so long ago that I/thought we could make a new staaart.” Its miserableness is heightened by the sluggish pitch, sounding positively tired of the search. Of all the efforts here, his version maintains the closest allegiance to the vibe of the original mix.

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