Ones To Watch: Mount Kimbie

Porcelain post-dubstep

A Spanish guitar from the hills of Catalonia, its sound board battered keeping rhythm to flamenco, doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with with post-dubstep. It does for Mount Kimbie.

Kai Campos, one of the duo, tells the story: “My grandfather used to play classical Spanish guitar near Barcelona. He passed his guitar to my dad, who’s a really good blues guitarist. Now the ‘Campos acoustic’ has been passed to me. ‘For Maybes’ [the group’s biggest track so far] I played a few chords on that guitar – Dom, my partner in the group, wanted the chords to score a film, so we made the track.”

Post-dubstep may sound a trite term but it is relevant to Mount Kimbie. We get two-step revisited with fascinating percussion instruments that make a Burial drum pattern sound like a string of different-sized bottles being dragged off by a wedding car. It’s dubstep revisited – in the accurately-titled Sketch On Glass we get what sounds like a garage track, complete with compressed vocal, and yet chunky beats are replaced by a rubbery squeaks and cluttered, light percussion.

Mount Kimbie are made up of twenty-four-year-old Kai Campos and twenty-three-year-old Dom Maker. Kai is orginally from St. Auster in Cornwall while Don hails from Brighton. They met at Southbank University in London, where Kai was having a second stab at university and Dom was studying film: “I remember Dom had a Pete Doherty poster on his wall!” says Kai. “He was into stuff like The Libertines when I first met him. I remember quitting and phoning my mum and saying I was going to try and get signed in a year so at least I knew I’d given it a fair crack. It went really well from then on.”

Luckily Dom dug hip-hop too and they bonded over their mutual interest – Kai tells me of his love for acts like Cannibal Ox and J Dilla; then they bought the first Burial album, and tellingly, the first Bass Clef album and started hitting dubstep raves in 2006.

Kai started to try and copy Dilla production styles – using ‘side-chaining’ – when you over-compress drums, which gives a whirlpool ‘sucking-in’ effect on the kick drum. His sound has other hip-hop shades – Mount Kimbie’s remix of The xx’s ‘Basic Space’ sounds like it sampled DJ Shadow’s ‘Midnight In A Perfect World’.

These days, like another experimental dubstep act Bass Clef, Mount Kimbie perform live sets. They find it tough to get the crowd jumping, and cite “the difference between being able to play stompers from anyone’s repertoire and being isolated to your own output” as the main drawback to the live genre.

As a result, “there are no female groupies so far.. Just geeky men. It would be good to change that – there are more vocals on the album, so maybe that will make a difference!”

Their album is due out before the end of the summer, and we’re hoping any singing doesn’t temper their brand of porcelain percussion draped over threadbare bass and UFO washes. If this is post-dubstep, we like it.

Words by Miguel Cullen

Where: Cornwall and Brighton
What: Porcelain post-dubstep
Unique Fact: Dominic genuinely believes he has discovered an infallible ‘system’ that guarantees winning the £250,000 on Deal Or No Deal.
Get 3 songs: ‘Maybes’, ‘Taps’, ‘Sketch On Glass’

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