All Songs Considered Blog
11:36 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Song Premiere: TNGHT, 'Higher Ground'

High-profile producers Hudson Mohawke and Lunice recently teamed up to adopt the vowel-less moniker TNGHT and assemble a self-titled, five-track stampede of brazen electronic instrumentals. The two have been busy individually; Mohawke's touch is all over Kanye West's blockbuster banger, "Mercy," as well as on a new mixtape from sharp-tongued wunderkind Azealia Banks. Lunice has kept busy producing for Banks, too, and has been throwing shows for the Scottish label Lucky Me and releasing accompanying hip-hop mixes.

From the TNGHT EP, out July 24, "Higher Ground" proves that pairing two hip-hop chefs doesn't automatically render the kitchen overcrowded. The track opens with a running string of claps and a pitched-up sample, which bounce against each other as a stout drum kick teases its way into the mix. All falls by the wayside when the track's focal sample introduces itself: A brief brass riff hangs atop reverberated vocal leftovers. When the beat punches back in, a harmonizing brass line joins the riff, injecting the song with bombastic energy. These themes filter in and out through the three-and-a-half-minute jam, oscillating between moods of tense anticipation and unrestrained energy.

The result isn't really made for dancing — these beats may well have been cooked to serve a rapper's lyrics. But the power of "Higher Ground" on its own suggests that it's a dish best served raw.

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