TNGHT TNGHT EP (Warp)
So what’s the most divisive hit song of 2012? It’s a tough call: “Call Me Maybe” is annoying but anodyne; “I Don’t Like” is harmless thuggery; “Starships” and “Good Feeling” are universally derided for the landfill dreck they are.
No, it’s most likely “Rack City,” a barren, concrete jungle trap anthem so monotonous, one worries Young Money sideshow Tyga will suffer from repetitive stress disorder if he performs it to excess. But it’s memorable (traumatic, even): from the Faltermeyer bassline to the annoyingly reverbed Alonzo Mourning/nacho cheese verse to that infernal mathtarded chorus. Such is the status of dance music today; that there’s a time and place where “Rack City”’s primitive leanness is an asset.
Fifteen minutes is barely enough time to break a sweat, but that’s all you’ll get in this first collaborative effort between Glaswegian Hudson Mohawke, producer of likely the most frenetic song devoted to Northwestern Ontario (“Thunder Bay”) and local golden boy Lunice, who seems to be making an even bigger splash abroad than at home.
Perhaps because of the short running time, TNGHT EP is a downright pithy statement on the hip hop-designed-for-the-club trend: a slick oozing of snappy 808s, declaratory horns, vocal samples pitched every which way, freakin’ laser beams and neighbour-angering bass. “Rack City” is an undeniable hit, but it’s understandable that rap connoisseurs would take exception to it due to the horrid vocals from its bland frontman. On TNGHT EP, the vocal snippets are mere window dressing, allowing the beats — excised of clutter to the point where the weird gunshots and tweety bird melodies are seemingly introduced one by one — to mainline directly into one’s veins at a neatly staggered pace.
Much like how it’s possible to appreciate “Rack City” as an instrumental, the five compositions on TNGHT EP could easily have featured guest rappers, and will make for good mixtape fodder. Even finale “Easy Easy” concludes with explosions and thug chants, as if to overtly reinforce the message. As such, this EP feels more like a beginning than a definitive statement.
TNGHT EP is also by no means the work of an odd couple or supergroup; it’s a pair of likeminded, established young producers teaming up to make some succinct hip hop beats. And rest assured the five they’ve created hit the spot.
Richard Reed Parry “I Believe in You”
The Arcade Fire guitarist and noted cover-bandist delivers an ethereal version of this ’80s tune, to be included on the tribute album The Spirit of Talk Talk, out Sept. 3 on Fierce Panda.
Angel Haze “New York”
Sex, drugs and ultraviolence from Brooklyn’s rooftops, tunnels and crack houses, and from Angel Haze’s recently released Reservation mixtape.