Even the most amateur of map readers will know there’s a great deal of distance between Glasgow and Montreal. They are quite literally oceans apart. But dance duo TNGHT are doing their best to defy geography and bridge the two locations with their transatlantic take on 21st century electronics.
Scotsman Ross Birchard aka Hudson Mohawke and Canadian Lunice Fermin Pierre II may live poles apart, but are slurping through the same sub woofer when it comes to their grasp of dancefloor dynamics and raw electronic grit. The pair linked up via the interweb, a shared love of leftfield beats and Glaswegian record label LuckyMe – and they’ve poured their collective creative juice into one musical test tube brimming with hip hop, dubstep and bass bothering attitude – give it a swirl, stick it under a Bunsen burner and watch it pop – that’s TNGHT.
The musical language the duo talk may lack vowels but makes up for letter shortage with lashings of pure, club vibe. Both have ever-burgeoning reps in their own right – Hudmo is the producer du jour having done studio time with the likes of RKelly and Kanye while Lunice is part of the extended Mad Decent family – but this new project is fast becoming a focus. The pair only have one release to their name – a self-titled EP out earlier this year on Warp Records – but they’ve managed to whisk up a right old internet froth in the short time they’ve been musically connected.
Their raucous showing at Bethnal Green demonstrated why – it may have been earlyish on a school night but the big Oval Space resembled Saturday at Sonar with its minimal décor and booming system – you would have needed a sharp blade to cut through the sweaty tension prior to their arrival. It may have been cold outside but it was definitely hot in here and the combination of salivating crowd and big room proved to be the perfect platform for the duo to reveal much more musical leg. The likes of Higher Ground, their remix of Waka Flocka Flame, Buggin’ and a whole host of bombast and squealing bleeps caused much of the crowd to judder and squirm excitedly from aural whiplash.
While their sonics achieved an almost perfect balance of thug and funk, the pair made for an intriguing sight on stage. Hudmo glowered behind their control panel seemingly driving their musical undercarriage with deft prods of powerful knobs. Lunice, by contrast, was very much the hyperactive electronic rock star, jumping in front of their computers and crowd surfing with gleesfl abandon while Hudmo let go another detonation. The DJ finale of Cam’ron’s Oh Boy and Minnie Riperton’s Inside My Love proved to be the icing on the cake of an evening in the lean, yet sweaty embrace of TNGHT. By this showing, you need to get to know. These boys are making up their own musical language – vowels need not be applied.
Photography: Teddy Fitzhugh