Release date: 23rd July 2012
Label: Warp / LuckyMe
Whenever two great musicians get together for a collaborative project, the amount of hype that surrounds them in the build-up to their release is crazy. And sometimes they don’t even live up to it… But sometimes they do. In the case Hudson Mohawke and Lunice, collectively known as TNGHT, they most certainly have. Referencing all of their influences, be they past or present, electronica or hip-hop, the five tracks of their self-titled debut EP are all un-skippable, excellently produced tracks.
The production is not only consistently good, but also consistently innovative and experimental, using all kinds of strange, energetic and colourful samples. In this they have managed to create sounds so forward-thinking that even when they sample the famously weird Timbaland baby noise (Aaliyah’s Are You That Somebody?) on Bugg’n, it is not only nostalgic, but completely reborn in the context of this song. The highest point of the whole EP for me though has to be the centre piece, Higher Ground. The build-up of the drums against the repeated vocal sample and later use of layering has been put together so well, it’s not easy to do it justice with words. Track is hard:
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say TNGHT does more in under 16 minutes than many producers have done in their whole careers. Somehow, they’ve managed to bring out the best in each other’s production styles to produce an EP which represents both of them equally, yet remains simple and not over-crowded with ideas. In a recent interview with The Independent when asked about their collaborative creative process, Lunice replied:
“You know what, we’re both one hundred on everything from the kicks to the snares. For example, I will lay a drumbeat and then he would go on that drum loop and change the kick something a lot harder. Then I will come back in and change the snare, he will come and do the melody. It’s not like half half or anything like that. We take care of each part of the song and it’s a fluid process. That way we don’t really encounter writer’s block.”
The fluidity of their process and smoothness of their collaborative effort is evident when you listen to the entire thing from start to finish and there really is nothing like it in hip-hop production today. Put out with the intention of getting rappers to jump on the beats, and having worked with some big mainstream artists already (i.e. HudMo x Yeezy), it’s plain to see that the experimental styles of TNGHT are just gonna gather speed and probably even influence some of the future sounds of hip-hop. And I’m sure both Lunice and Hudson Mohawke will just continue to go from strength to strength, both collectively and individually.
Get it now: iTunes link
My rating: 8.5/10