Some songs linger within introspection. Round synthesized cords and off-kilter drum patterns enclose "Ruby" and "Carbonated" into an abyss that feels more like a great open sky than a frighteningly deep hole in Guatemalan soil. These cuts are matched by outward expressions of joy: "Mayor," maybe the only banger on the record, lets the sub-bass erupt in helicopter jolts of energy over whirling keys that burst in gasps of smoke. But dubstep's integral wobble is toned down here, a softer and less obnoxious gyration of energy that fits into the song's methodical momentum. And always the fissured vocal cuts emerge from the shadows, coded and manipulated and barely recognizable, but striking — a reflection of our own inchoate inner gurgles of sound-patterns unable to organize themselves into the right words or shapes to let us express what we feel.
None of Mount Kimbie's singles on Crooks and Lovers stand out with the same level of warmth and power as say "William" or "Serged" on their previous EPs. But the record is cohesive, meant to rise and fall in a full listening experience. It's the sort of record that connects with common personal experiences, and then stretches them outward. After listening to it a few times — and it is a record that has immense replay value — I understand a bit more where Mount Kimbie is coming from and how they fit into today's electronic music landscape.
If Burial is the fettered graveyard of the dubstep alter-verse, then Mount Kimbie is the haunted hillside where spectral ghosts, fleshed robots, and strange wisps of ephemeral life make their retreat during an indigo dusk that could just as easily be dawn. There's something utterly enchanting there. Field recordings of everyday noise and mechanical grind weave slinky shapes around digital drum patterns that limp and leap and do windmills around sampled chirps and spherical bleeps. It's a soundtrack for dissolution: the rigid lines between human and computer, sentience and thingness, city and nature, all melt away into the gushing blood that pumps through the sewer arteries beneath Mount Kimbie.
If my rampant speculations offend, then let me add that the loose framework of their resonant topography is very open to interpretation. "Mount Kimbie is a fictional creation that is just made up from two different names, both are part of the track name of a song by another band," says Maker and Campos. "It is quite nice to be under a name that has no meaning and suggests nothing. We are not fans of being blatant with meanings." And so the sun sets over the old town of dubstep. What's next?
With Dntel, Asura, Mary Ann Hobbes and DJG
Sat/25, 9 p.m., $10
Mount Kimbie with Dntel, Asura, Mary Ann Hobbes, and DJG
161 Erie, SF