Live: Zoning Right Back In. Mount Kimbie, The Front Room.

It's been nigh on eighteen months since Mount Kimbie could be accurately pinpointed at any London venue. Talking pins, points and iPhones – one of which seems to be slipped into every pocket here tonight, and later hoisted aloft by leaden appendages – the things were then operating iOS 4, and Google would be the ones guiding the geographically blasé from A to B for many pixelated moons to come. It was then the subterranean, and thereby sunless caverns of Heaven that were subject to the quaking shake of indescribably weighty bass; tonight it's a rather more upmarket foyer within the Southbank Centre they're to take to. Venues both worlds and but a river apart, such is the skull-brutalisingly well-documented diversity of London. But eighteen months is a relative aeon in this largely internet-inhabited era of diminishing attention spans, viral scams, and £4-plus pints. To condition according to the temporal, the world was this time eighteen months ago yet to indulge in a woman whose fame now knows no limits. It would only be the following one that Lana Del Rey would emerge.

Needless to say Del Rey has about as much in common with Mount Kimbie as your average Londoner did with the Olympics. Both were surrealities intangible to the lowly man/ woman/ child, and both have divided opinion as much as they've disgusted with their respective commercial affiliations. Conversely, the Southbank Centre is an institution mercifully devoid of such insipid branding and on tonight of all nights, the Ether series assumes the outward aesthetic of a rather more fully-fledged festival. The brutalist angles of the Queen Elizabeth Hall exterior are lined with flickering cigarettes and their associated smokers, as an hellacious bass pummel rumbles from within as the gashed and lacerated stomach of Monsieur Mangetout must've prior to contracting its last. That it permeate these impenetrable slabs of concrete wall suggests earplugs ought to be served as standard once inside; no such foaming luck.

The lights already dimmed, the crackle and statics of strategically placed, and seemingly faulty strip lights engulf every sense. Almonds crunch on symmetrical serrations of tooth, as elbows are employed by their owners to wrench a way into the clenched mesh of human clustered around a stage no more than a foot above the floor upon which we're stood. Impatience continues to multiply with the efficaciousness of asexual reproduction; everything and nothing is happening all at once. The concrete then, almost mercurially and of its own accord, again begins to boom. A new and brooding intro commingles the expansive oblivions of drone, and the oppressive dankness of altogether more evil subgenres of a soundscape in turn already brutalised by the heinous commercialism of dance music in recent times, and prior to that ravaged by rave culture. Although that even in their darkest moments Dominic Maker and Kai Campos can be the undisputed, and with that euphoric greatest (pl.) comes down to their ingenuous demeanour. They're overtly likeable chaps, and the optimism within their minimalism better reflects this than any featherweight allegory ever could. You sense that whatever malevolent depths they plumb within these four walls tonight, all will ultimately be well.

Buoyancy comes to the surface almost instantaneously, as the effervescence of Carbonated begins to simmer. Still fizzier than a can of competitive lager all shook up, it's been so long since I've bathed in it live that even this old acquaintance gurgles up the ear canals as a newfound bezzie. Perfectly bass-y, its synthetic heat neatly rebounds off the stonewall industrial sterility in the same way that the contrast between the gelid climes outside and this stifling warmth within greatly disorients. Indeed, to reprogramme my effusive praises for this Ether series, it's a hot/ cold juxtaposition to echo that of Cale/ Kimbie.

Yet in certain respects these two acts aren't all that incompatible, purely in the sense that both challenge convention; remain monosyllabic in order that their compositions speak more voluminously; and themselves speak only in deference, if ever. "We're called Mount Kimbie. Thanks for coming to see us", Maker at one point utters. It's not as if they've been buried beneath the legions of bass practitioners to have arisen from the lower ends of the equaliser in their absence; rather they're as unparalleled now as then. And their humility only engenders further esteem. Moreover where contemporaries may concert to condense a set down into one fluid piece of sorts, Mount Kimbie work not only with distinctive sounds and excerpts, but in distinct songs. There may be a quite lucid flow to that which is clattered out from beneath the luminescent glow of the stupefacient visuals streamed overhead, but these tracks are starkly detached from one another and are greeted as such. The gloopy samples of Before I Move Off are met with profuse nodding as spines loosen, and zealous whooping – that rare species to ring in the murky hums of Idioteque when resounding out from the great beat Pyramid; the sort endangered by our deplorable indifference toward live music. And Campos' oily slick guitar lines not only carry off a similar effect, but connect the set: a vocal edit of Maybes led by the dulcet tones and eloquent elocutions of Maker may be mouthed ardently, but it's the crunchy distortions of his accomplice that generate the power to push the whole thing through. It's still all too short, although where once loveably sketchy, it now feels fully formed live and lived to the full. It's been honed to perfection, and is enhanced exceedingly by splashes of live drum.

And that is arguably what hikes Mount Kimbie up above their every contemporary: they function as a band, yet forge something different altogether; something wholly electrifying. So to see them having to build everything back up again after a protracted absence – not only in terms of the structure of each individual song aired tonight, but also with regard to their collective presence – is thoroughly enlightening. An ambient, almost lunar resonance sends a new cut up into orbit, Campos assuming vocal duties and impersonating Joseph Mount with an unerring exactitude – its ending abrupt as ever. As far as this new material goes, as Maker himself professes there's "only a little bit of it" and, aside from that magnificently subversive intro which was more or less attuned to the sound of hissing bonfire and the sight of a dilapidated suburban office block powering down indefinitely, we're glimpsing a perhaps more conventional future. Darker, dancier, and fitted with inordinate amounts of extra bloop there's some real womp, and with it weight, to that which they're now sure to do. Though it remains so discernibly London that it feels fitting for their stage to be overshadowed by silhouettes of imposing north bank towers and such, not merely because you sense that hefty wads generated within such ominous spires will have subsequently been pumped into the education of this concourse. Manners may have been lost along the way as many natter throughout of last tubes to Shoreditch and illicit substances, but for those to have tuned in Mount Kimbie tonight reiterated just how worthy they are of attention undivided, or at least whatever may be left of it.