TNGHT (Warp Records / Lucky Me)
With a shared penchant for amorphous instrumentation and tumultuous hip-hop beats, to call the sounds of much-lauded Canadian producer Lunice and Glasgow’s Hudson Mohawke compatible would be an understatement. The clamourous big-room sounds of the former and the warped, technicolour boom-bap of the latter are a pan-Atlantic wet dream for fans of brain scrambling-ly frenetic electronic music, and with the emergence of their long-awaited collaborative EP as TNGHT (split between the renowned Warp Records and the ever-innovative LuckyMe camp) offer a blistering, forthright exercise in pushing the hip-hop instrumental to its limits.
As an EP, TNGHT is simultaneously curious and direct, woozy and blunt; dizzying synths are scrawled over clattering trap-style beats and mammoth 808s whilst blurred and warped vocal mantras up the intensity to wince-inducing levels. It’s big, but assuredly intelligent; at just under 16 minutes, TNGHT offers the sort of swift, chaotic dancefloor uppercut that you’d expect, managing to make more rapturous noise in a quarter of an hour than some manage across an entire LP. There’s a broad worldview at work as the EP stomps from gloop-flecked 808s (Bugg’n) and clapped-out, rolling Southern-rap snares (Goooo), to nauseating fairground synths (Easy Easy) and even a Satin Panthers-style horn workout (Higher Ground). It’s a veritable collage constructed out of the odds’n'ends of juke, hip-hop, 8-bit and the like, hurled together at high speeds with a palpable sense of enjoyment as the duo bask in the sheer abruptness of the testosterone bombast they unleash, a forthright heft that, unlike most electronic music risking being daubed a – erm – ‘banger’, has a marked consideration to its construction.
Perhaps the only disappointment with TNGHT is that it offers but a hint of something distinctly bigger. There’s a barrage of exceptional ideas but there’s just too little run-time for the EP to fully bloom. There’s no question that the duo are sat on a goldmine of ideas – Top Floor, with its hypnotic vocal cuts, is allowed but a fraction of the potential that a fuller extension would have promised. Yet despite its diminutive size, TNGHT is a distinctly large release. Lunice and Hudson Mohawke have fashioned something extraordinary: an EP of storming, molten electronics and shattering drums which is perhaps only eclipsed by the promise of a longer outing.
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Words: Mike Coleman