Crooks & Lovers is as chopped-up, rhythmically slippery, and video-game-synth-laced as anything else that has come out of post-dubstep camps like Hotflush or Hyperdub in recent years, but the fact that Dominic Maker and Kai Campos wallpapered their songs with their own singing, guitar playing, and field recordings goes a long way toward freeing dubstep’s sound from its traditional neuroses.
The duo’s wide range of source material offers many surprises; “Blind Night Errand” seems to be an acid-tinged bass filter knob workout until the addition of moody harmonies in the third act, and “Carbonated” takes over two minutes of its time to build into its sequence of synthesized chords and decimated, out-of-kilter vocal samples.
Crooks and Lovers stands entirely on its own as an isolated statement to the possible, but rarely achieved, heights of electronic music. But it is because of Mount Kimbie’s humble and grounded approach to music production that their music engenders unique senses of enjoyment and respect in the minds of their listeners. Depth doesn’t have to be nauseating, and serenity doesn’t have to be boring.
Song: Before I Move Off - Opening up with a worldly sitar-esque loop, before merging into an orchestral body of computer dots and clicks, this track may seem disorienting at first. But the natural feel and rhythmic perfection of all the pops and click, glitches and pitchy vocal samples steady the ship into a beautiful and moving musical force.