The duo Mount Kimbie offers a sumptuous and contrasting double album

“MK 3.5: Die Cuts/City Planning” is seen as an inventory of the great form and genius of the two producers.

The number “3.5” assigned to the album could leave waiting for an effort released without great ambition, but Dominic Maker and Kai Campos know how to turn expectations upside down. So much so that for twelve years already, they have been mutating the music of Mount Kimbie, their common project, in ever more unexpected directions: from glitched dubstep to the inaugural Crooks & Lovers (2010) to the electronic postpunk of the romantic Love What Survives (2017), the duo unearths the poetry of their synthesizers and drum machines.

Precursor of the so-called future garage movement, in the tradition of artists like Burial or Four Tet, the group always models a rough sound paste, which it has never cultivated as well as on this bulimic new project. Delivered after what would almost pass for a five-year hiatus – during which one became the right arm of James Blake, producer of all his projects since 2018, while the other was more discreetly illustrated alongside Mura Masa, Alex Cameron and Actress –, MK 3.5: Die Cuts/City Planning is therefore composed of two distinct parts, appearing as the double balance of the perspectives taken by the musicians.

The good taste of know-how

All in divergences, the disc opens with the sequence composed by Dominic Maker, resolutely focused on beatmaking and rich in collaborations. If King Krule, however historical accomplice of the group, appears to the absent subscribers, it is pundits of the caliber of Danny Brown or Slowthai as hopes of the English-speaking hip-hop scenes (Kučka, Reggie or Keiyaa for the most notable) who carry a grime and r’n’b infused tracklisting.

While the album manages to be articulated in short formats (few titles reach three minutes) without falling into the pitfall of frustration, the exercise is, for Kai Campos, more the occasion to perfect his talents of producer by delivering a surprising second half, oscillating between micro-house, acid and minimal techno. If the recipe differs, the good taste of English know-how remains good.

MK 3.5: Die Cuts/City Planning (Warp/Kuroneko). Released November 4.


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