Kai Campos and Dominic Maker have perfected a tricky balance in their live sets: they fluctuate between using live vocals, guitar and drums to faithfully enhance tunes from their most recent album Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, and also produce exhilarating live remixes that tantalise the audience and stay faithful to their electronic roots.
Campos does the majority of the singing, and although his voice isn’t flawless, it brings an appropriately gritty sincerity to songs like Home Recording. Live drums make the thumping percussion refreshingly authentic and serve to complement the band’s glitchier beats – Maker even cracks out some impressively precise clapping into the mic which is rather mesmerising. In Blood and Form, Campos’s guitar and vocals provide a delicate counterbalance to the tune’s relentlessly electronic industrial sounds. And when the duo sing in unison on Made to Stray, there is an extra umph that turns Campos’s sometimes weak voice into an irresistible pull on the audience to join in.
Mount Kimbie’s achievement in bringing their post-dubstep electronic sounds into a live forum is at its zenith in their collaboration with spoken word rapper King Krule. On Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, the two tracks with Krule’s vociferous vocals can jar against the mellow delicacy of the rest of the album. But in the live set he brings an energy to the stage that enlivens crowd and band alike. As he moves from spoken-singing to truly impassioned rapping, Campos and Maker’s increasingly insistent drones seem perfectly matched to the paroxysms into which Krule sends himself.
This duo have moved on from the electronica of their first album, Crooks and Lovers, to hone a sound that embraces everything from trip-hop, dubstep and rap to techno and even free jazz. This heady mix explodes onstage into a varied and immersive experience that is musically assured and excitingly experimental. And as well as the cerebral enjoyment you can take from Mount Kimbie’s music, it also makes you want to dance away your faultless youth the whole night long.