It's finally here. If you pay even the smallest amount of attention to the electronic music scene, you will no doubt have caught a glimpse of this project, be it through YouTube clips and rips or the many blogs writing about their live shows. Scotsman Hudson Mohawke pairs up with fellow LuckyMe affiliate Lunice to present some of the most futuristic, forward-thinking and minimal beats you will have heard - or will hear - for quite some time. The rapidly-rising anticipation behind this project is justified, Hudson Mohawke has been delivering some of the most out-there beats for a few years now, and is really picking up the pace with last year's Satin Panthers EP and work for Kanye West. Lunice has been a staple of the LuckyMe family, with two very hip-hop influenced EPs under his belt and another forthcoming, his profile too has been rising. From the gate, the pair aim to make an impact on hip-hop and it is fair to say with this EP, they most certainly have.
"Top Floor" opens the EP, with a heavily modified sample having some slithering drums trickle over it before some of the biggest rumbling low-end side swipes any calm. It's the shortest track here, but is a suitably subdued for the bombast that quickly follows. "Goooo" comes in straight after, sounding like an apocalyptic rave tune played through a Gameboy. It's a sucker punch of retro sprinkled hype music, and is just one example of why TNGHT should not be unfairly chucked onto the ever-growing pile of "trap" artists. There is so much more than that going on here, a neck-breaking track full of colour and bounce, it'd be an injustice to slot TNGHT into the already formulaic "trap" genre.
"Higher Ground" makes use of a repeated vocal akin to juke, but its deployment and build-up is much more satisfying that what is often produced in juke/footwork tracks. It's just relentless, really. Using only a few components ramped up with maximalist characteristics, it never feels bewildering, it's just funneled energy climaxing with those horns. What TNGHT have done so well is arrange these sounds in such away that can be appreciated for their craftsmanship but too for their ability to naturally evoke reactions from listeners
"Bugg'n" is one you will no doubt have heard, even earning it's place as "Record of the Week" on Zane Lowe's UK Radio 1 show; a title I personally don't hold that highly in terms of merit, but a nice amount of exposure regardless. On an EP so directly aimed at the changing landscape of hip-hop, this track is stripped back to literally clicks, baby-cries, drops of water and sub-bass. Seriously. In the hands of a suitable rapper, this instrumental could be THE crossover track as it has the duo's personality personified yet remains spacious enough for an MC to rap comfortably over the top of it.
"Easy Easy" in a word, is chaos. The build up at 2:30 climaxes with some of the most, quite frankly, ridiculous bouts of racket you will have ever heard. It sounds like someone kicking windows through repeatedly and shoveling the shards around. Written down, it shouldn't work, but it does. Someone like Waka Flocka Flame is an obvious point of reference but would do some serious damage if he were ever to get on this (please do). Writing about this track pains me, as there is little to say about other than its loud, obnoxious and never fails to get me hyped.
This is by far and away the most exciting, and just downright awesome EP I have had the pleasure to listen to so far this year. Much of the tracks are so minimal in their structure making it much easier to appreciate the sum of its parts. Especially when listened to in detail, it makes what Hudson Mohawke and Lunice have achieved that much more commendable. The tracks are energetic, gleefully chaotic yet so precisely produced that it is very difficult to fault at all. As you can probably gather from my perhaps hyperbolic analysis, this EP is something else entirely from what has come before. There is not one weak track here, they are all as rowdy and upfront as the one before and after. Incredibly refreshing, managing to match the hype and gets a massive seal approval from me, however much that means to you.