Mount Kimbie 6/17/13 @ The Independent - photo by Nicole L. Browner
Photos by: Nicole L. Browner

Monday night’s sold out show at The Independent was an audio-visual spectacle of high emotion, featuring a near-flawless performance from headliner Mount Kimbie.

Vinyl Williams opened the show as a full band, catching the uninitiated crowd off-guard with its one man name. Holy Other took the stage next as a solo performer armed with a minimal setup of sequencers and samplers on one elongated black machine. Backed by a mesmerizing backdrop of visuals, he stirred up powerful emotions, methodically tweaking a myriad of knobs to produce sensual, disembodied post-R&B beats without the aid of a laptop or microphone. The backing visuals played a strong role in the performance, with vibrantly abstract, entrancing images of hands manipulating metallic foil, translucent droplets of water, and rainbow-tinted haze. The biological-meets-mechanical nature of the images complimented Holy Other’s performance as his music often blends the warm, emotional complexity of human desire (through vocal samples and ambient layers) with the dark, chilly beats of his downtempo, pulsing hardware. The UK artist played tracks from his With U EP and Held LP, both out on Tri Angle Records. He concluded his set with “Touch,” leaving a memorable impression on the crowd.

Mount Kimbie (the duo consisting of Kai Campos and Dominic Maker) has evolved past the post-dubstep “found sound” experimentalism that was present on its full length debut Crooks & Lovers with its new double-LP Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, which was released on Warp Records in May. No longer relying on field recordings and chopped-up samples, the band’s new sound often takes on an achingly human dynamic.

Intent on focusing on a new approach, the London duo shifted towards a more immediate form of expression. Bringing a warmer, more personal songwriting aspect into to the fold, Mount Kimbie’s lastest release places more emphasis on live instrumentation, lyrics and up-front vocals. Two of the album’s finest tracks feature guest vocalist King Krule (Archy Marshall), but unfortunately (and expectedly) neither track made it into the band’s set Monday night.

Campos sang on Cold cuts such as “Blood and Form” and “Home Recording”, alternating mostly between guitars and sequencers. Dom Maker migrated between various pieces of hardware on stage, flourishing on drum pads and synthesizers and occasionally stepping up for vocal duties on tracks such as “Maybes”, the band’s first single that was played third in its set. This particular tour welcomed the new addition of Tony Koos, who was stationed at a live drum kit but also assisted with bass guitar and keyboards. Mount Kimbie’s trusted Tempest drum machine, Cathedral pedals, and multi-track tape held together the analog-meets-digital ambiance that makes the band sound unique among its peers.

Mount Kimbie opened with “Lie Near” and “Carbonated”, then alternated between tracks from each of its two full-lengths. Highlights included the single “Made To Stray”, the bass guitar riff on “So Many Times, So Many Ways”, and the live drums on “Break Well.” After ending with “Field”, Campos and Maker returned for a two-song encore of the danceable instrumental tracks “Slow” and “Mayor”.

The headliner’s visual backdrop took a much different approach than Holy Other, employing a continuous slideshow from a disposable camera roll displaying various locales, humans, and animals. The sound at The Independent was nothing short of phenomenal, doing justice to each of the sonically complex main acts. One can only hope Mount Kimbie brings its talented young vocal collaborator King Krule along for the next tour, but there are really no complaints to be made based on the band’s current setup.

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