Mount Kimbie at SXSW

London/Brighton duo take Texas on a trip deep inside their sound.

22.03.11

Words by: Ruth Saxelby

You can tell Mount Kimbie have been on the road. Their 3am set at Friday’s Hype Machine party felt like witnessing two artists getting inside their art, as opposed to the two musicians I saw performing a live version of their album six months ago. That’s not to suggest that the handful of shows I caught in London and New York back then weren’t thrilling – because they absolutely were – but something very specific has clearly clicked. Everything they played in the dark belly of that club was bigger, deeper, more expansive – yet somehow not at the expense of subtlety. The delicate, detailed beauty of ‘Crooks & Lovers’ felt gloriously widescreen; every moment wrought in the highest resolution, every emotion taken to its most intense state and that ever-present bubbling tension heightened to an almost unbearable pain/pleasure ache. The sheer physicality of the music was overwhelming. The fact that they’re doing more on stage certainly contributes – the guitar and drums now play as vital and visible a role as their various bits of electronic kit – but it’s not just that. It’s their whole stance, their confidence, their complete lack of hesitance. Kai had his eyes closed for the most part, head back playing guitar and hitting pads in fluid motion, clearly lost in the moment. The audience felt that, fed off that. The deeper Mount Kimbie got inside their music, the closer the crowd were drawn in. When Dom sang Maybes’ heartbreaking hook – Don’t go trying to tell me / you’re telling me work hard / don’t don’t baby / don’t maybes – people joined in. The songs aren’t just bigger, their resonance has grown clearer as they’ve naturally evolved in the real world, over time and across continents. If that wasn’t enough, our duo were also subject to a next level stage invasion. As Field began to rise up, a guy jumped on stage and began MC-ing party rhymes over the top. However you think that might sound, it actually worked. So much so that I thought it was planned. Apparently they got his email after the show. Only at SXSW? Who knows. These are interesting times.

Mount Kimbie are now on tour in the US and Canada (details on Facebook). They play a string of UK dates in April.