“I never know / I’d rather never know / I’d rather live my life in ignorance than ever know.” -Jonwayne (live verse on “You Took Your Time”)
Every musical choice Mount Kimbie makes during a live performance has the flow of improvisation, overshadowed simply by a quality so pleasurable that only duly rehearsed and exceptionally synched musicians could generate it. This pleasure is on satisfactory par with 4 a.m. pizza or warm cocoa on a ski slope- it feels entirely necessary during absorption. Every direction the music took felt so wholly right.
The saturating qualities of Mount Kimbie live have a numbing effect, a trance-like influence that envelops with hip-hop nods and warm post-dubstep hugs. Always filled in with grungy bass and crisp beats, Mount Kimbie vibrates at a frequency capable of metaphorical teleportation; progressions are so experimental and addicting that it’s possible to forget about the existence of whatever venue you are in. This was the power felt through post-rock electronic jam “Maybes,” a gradual and noisy piece performed from Mount Kimbie’s first EP, Maybes. It was certainly one of the slower moments of their set this past Tuesday, October 22 at Lincoln Hall, but it carried a certain throbbing energy that many audience members found inspiration to dance in.
In an interview with Resident Advisor, Kai Campos and Dom Maker outline their band’s first two EPs and debut full-length Crooks & Lovers as a different era than this year’s Cold Spring Fault Less Youth. On always crafting a genuinely current and honest sound, Kai explains: “The thing is, other people were doing it just as well like six months after the [first] album came out. Us going back to that would be pointless.” In regards to live performance transformation, two years off from writing seemed to rejuvenate the duo, now admittedly stronger and able to craft a set with stylistic variety and surprise among even the most regular MK show-goers. Industrial scrapes morphed ever so casually into the hollow dripping quick-beats of “Made To Stray,” a song so tantalizing and unique it made numerous mid-year “Best Of” lists across the musically wired web.
The big surprise this set came after Mount Kimbie announced they would try something new. Stones Throw opener Jonwayne came onstage and rapped his own unique verses in place of King Krule’s album version of “You Took Your Time,” “Love isn’t the issue/There’s endless seas of people who barely know themselves and try to see themselves in people/So if I feel alone then maybe I’m not as crazy as you think/Or maybe I was tossed with the kitchen sink/I never know/I’d rather never know/I’d rather live my life in ignorance than ever know.” An emotional Jonwayne chanted the last riff to the accompaniment of a joining crowd, and a mesmerized rush swept over us during this surprise dose of lyrical candidness and Jonwayne’s beautifully unrestrained fervor.
A Mount Kimbie crowd is the best kind of crowd, made up mostly of dudes and a lot of smiling camaraderie. Some danced and others didn’t, but nobody looked around for approval or pushed rudely to the front. The set was minimal and hypnotizing, flowing effervescently from one song to the next with motives of fearless exploration. Parts sounded like a soundtrack to some sort of war zone aftermath scene- hopeful yet deeply trying and intense. True to the album, beat patterns broke up and defined every song, declaring louder than any other element when a shift in mood could be expected. Amateur, overexposed photos perused the background, most of which were mundane, miscellaneous memories and poorly shot party photos. But this show wasn’t at all about the visuals, as noted by the numerous shut-eyed listeners in the crowd. It was about riding along Mount Kimbie’s experimental journey, seeing where it takes you, and facing the feelings that result from its contemplative, entirely uncommon sound.