Despite wildly divergent backgrounds Lunice and Hudson Mohawke, alternatively known as transatlantic hip-hop driven duo TNGHT, have joined forces to create the hardest hitting of self-titled EPs.
Significantly neither Lunice, who hails from Montreal, or Glaswegian Hudson Mohawke were brought up in your typical hip-hop Mecca. It’s hard to escape the impact the pair’s unusual geography exerts on their idiosyncratic sound. Unshackled by dogma, and with the internet as their primary tool of reference, both Scotland and Canada have lent the duo’s sounds an outlier’s quality that resists categorisation. Regardless of what you want to call TNGHT, it is an EP sure to turn heads in, and beyond, the hip-hop community.
The pair’s debut EP TNGHT is both simple and abstract. There’s something straight forward, almost club banger-esque about the tunes, but it would be doing TNGHT a disservice to label them simple floor fillers as, despite the beats’ accessibility, Lunice and HudMo take us to some rarefied sonic landscapes.
The massive ‘Higher Ground’ for example, is a dizzying onslaught of chopped and screwed house vocals, bellowing horns, and belligerent, regimental handclaps that is so expertly rendered as to give the track an appeal that ought to extend far beyond any niche.
Lunice and Hud Mo’s arrangements throughout TNGHT are less exploratory than their solo works, creating a distinct, spacious hip-hop-tinged sound. The relationship between driving bassline and the myriad effects that appear before dispersing into the duo’s cavernous musical constructions are recurrent, but this EP is far from formulaic.
Bass heavy ‘Bugg’n’, shorn of just the one vowel, is incomprehensibly vast and ever-shifting. TNGHT’s production introduces recognisable touchstones, before withdrawing them into the distance. This aural melee makes the track irresistible before leaving you stranded in the midst of TNGHT’s weird and wonky R&B-inspired space.
TNGHT’s final tune ‘Easy Easy’ is emblematic of HudMo and Lunice’s EP as a whole. A whirling loop of digital, arcade-inspired motifs and spinning analogous effects that drift in and out of focus to create a disorientating anthem, yet at the same time the beat remains driven and forward moving.
Brilliant as a standalone EP, TNGHT is as inventive a hip-hop record as you could hope to hear. Whilst Mohawke and Lunice have produced some of their freshest and hardest hitting beats to date – and there is enough to keep any listener rapt – there is a nagging feeling that the duo has, as any true beat should, left just enough space for a rapper to add another layer of intrigue.
Words: Joseph Clarke-Knowles
The TNGHT EP is out today on Warp/LuckyMe.