Release Date: Jul 24, 2012
Record label: Warp
Producers Hudson Mohawke and Lunice have spent the last few years blurring the lines between UK and North American club sounds. Already the darlings of the UK’s underground bass scene, Montreal’s Lunice is now working with Diplo, while Glaswegian HudMo has been in the studio with a certain Kanye West – so you’d be right to have high expectations for the duo’s first collaborative release. The ‘TNGHT’ EP packs five explosive instrumental hip-hop tracks, every one dripping with each producer’s trademark sonic flourishes.
TNGHTTNGHT EP[Warp; 2012]By Chris Bosman; August 6, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGAt last month's Pitchfork Music Festival, Brainfeeder majordomo Flying Lotus dropped a whole lot of crowdpleasing into his set, treating it less like a chance to show off his considerable talents in original music and more like an opportunity to curate a live mix of kinetic, frenetic, body-moving music like one would for a BBC radio show or an issue of FACT Magazine. Many of the tracks that FlyLo shoehorned into his set were instantly recognizable, and some were just instantly recognizable as fantastic. The highpoint of that latter group was when the California producer dropped TNGHT's "Higher Ground," the centerpiece of their five-song self-titled EP.
Lunice and Hudson Mowhawke of TNGHT emerged this year with a glass-shattering SXSW set and a few brash, colorful bangers on Rustie's scene-defining BBC Essential Mix. While their contemporaries experiment with footwork loops, yacht rock, and 1970s prog, TNGHT zero in on rap's fixation on the loud and chaotic. Hip-hop production has always had time for bass and bombast but a growing number of producers-- notably Lex Luger, the often copied but rarely equalled soundbomber behind Waka's influential Flockaveli-- have an almost nihilistic embrace of sonic overkill.
Review Summary: Back alley cinematics and purple smoke ballin' from a dream production duoUpon listening to TNGHT's debut EP, it's hard not to ponder why this collaboration didn't happen sooner. Granted that this fascination with "trap rap" hip hop is a relatively recent phenomenon (in the grand scheme of things anyway), and sure it's certainly easy to draw parallels between its recent championing and the explosion of edm in the United States, but with all the components lying around for a few years now it's interesting to note that it's taken until now for it to really take off (outside of the blogging elite anyway). Recent twitter posts showing Sonny Moore and ASAP Rocky in the studio reveal a vested interest from the outsider looking to tap into what has already become a lucrative market, and in many ways the pairing of the rampant Glaswegian beat-maker Hudson Mohawke with the more blunted-out trap productions of Montreal-based Lunice could also be seen as yet another form of mere exploitation.
“Was that just a baby?” This is a particularly oddball, yet necessary inquiry, as Hudson Mohawke and Lunice, known collectively as TNGHT, bounce through the hip-hop sound collage of “Bugg’n”. Between bubble bursts, guttural echoes, and the bassline ‘s iron ting, a baby’s coo builds into an obsession, like the one behind Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody”. The duo’s debut, self-titled EP may only span five tracks, but after repetitive listens, replacing your amps, and multiple refreshment breaks, be prepared for it to take up an afternoon.
Despite hip-hop’s development having long been directly tied to electronic equipment and the advancement of such devices as samplers, Digital Audio Workstations and turntables, its inclusion in discussions of forms like EDM, house, dubstep and even just the permutations within those three umbrella terms has mostly been non-existent. Instrumental hip-hop can be shrugged off as beats without rappers, intended only for the most beat-loving of hip-hoppers. But as popular rap has become more synth-focused and club-driven than anything but it’s earliest incarnations, and the underground mixtape scene has been overrun with producers whipping up variations of the trap music Shawty Redd, Drumma Boy, Zaytoven and Lex Luger have been pioneering over the past half-decade, it’s felt inevitable that someone in the EDM scene would try to capitalize.
Both Hudson Mohawke and Lunice have been working hard to solidify their place in the music world. Mohawke has been in the studio with Kanye West, Lunice has worked with Diplo, and both have contributed their musical chops to rising star Azealia Banks. With track records like that, it’s easy to understand why a collaboration between the two would elicit high expectations.