Live at Leeds Festival 2011 on Sunday, 28th August 2011
The generic explosive dubstep found on the YouTube channel UKFDubstep could learn a thing or two from Mount Kimbie and SBTRKT. The restraint beauty of minimalist dubstep can withstand the wind of time and is a lot harder to criticise. They conduct themselves properly during performance and they put the quality of the music first and foremost. The two artists affix deeper emotions to their music with echoing-chunks of tangible meaning.
Mount Kimbie of Hot Flush records hit the dance stage on the Saturday afternoon encircled by an entourage of drum machines, sequencers, synths and samplers. It was a performance of ambient soundscapes and sensual overload. Dom Maker and Kai Campos are post-dubstep pioneers like two canaries down a goldmine of modern dubstep progression. The duo lightly intermingle floating, foggy synth and damp, looping clunks of cowbell during "Maybes". It has an unexpected intro of electric guitar and an unexpected outro of pleading, emotive lyrics. With imagination running wild it gives off the vibe their playing in a storm-cloud of wispy smoke with a submerged bass just reaching the surface.
The afternoon slot was an intense barrage of resonance and drowsy coherence. Even down by the front the sound was soothing me to sleep, but not in the childish "5 seconds of attention" way but in the warming trip/hop way. Mount Kimbie are the perfect pacification to crowd atmosphere as people are forced to stop moshing and listen, which at a festival is a talent in itself.
SBTRKT displayed a live set late on the Sunday night at the alternative stage as part of the Transgressive records party. He'd already hit the dance stage earlier in the weekend with a DJ set but came back for a double helping at the northern site. A huge array of technological equipment swarmed SBTRKT and vocalist Sampha with the addition of a drum kit.
The magnificent subtlety of the bass lightly dressed by the beautifully delivered vocals of Sampha is a gloriously hypnotic combination. The components that make up each SBTRKT song are fine-tuned into perfection. To add an interesting angle to proceedings SBTRKT spent the entire evening behind a drum kit, expectedly he unleashed expert skills on the drums giving as much energy any rock-band drummer would usually do.
"Hold On" and "Trials of the past" were both impeccable performances as they taunted the audience leaving the room cold with tension. They never quite made the crowd an alacritous mob of ravers, and I thank them for that. They develop a feeling of lust for their sound amongst the crowd. Infectious electronic whirlwinds and lyrics that produce meaning after a couple of lines leave me with a lasting impression that this artist is going places. "Wildfire" a track announced by Sampha that we might know was great to witness in a live set. A rapping verse in the early part of the song and a slight remix towards the end made a distinguishable change from the album version.
A triumph for both acts who blessed tent dwellers with architectural, fastidious Dubstep delicacies from the capital city. Acts like Mount Kimbie and SBTRKT give an extra level of depth to the Festival circuit which should be welcomed with open arms. If the future of Dubstep falls into the branches of an emotional, swooning shrubbery, then let it be.
[Mount Kimbie appeared at Leeds Festival on Saturday 27th and SBTRKT on Sunday 28th]