mon 04/03/2024

Album: Lunice - OPEN | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Lunice - OPEN

Album: Lunice - OPEN

Exploring the interzones with the Quebecois beat scientist

There are whole books to be written – indeed, hopefully being written – on how hip hop has interacted with dance music culture in North America over the past decade plus. From the overblown mania of rap megastars jumping on David Guetta tracks in the heat of the EDM explosion at the start of the 2010s, to the far more sophisticated fusions done brilliantly by Beyoncé and slightly less so by Drake on big albums last year, it’s created some of the most ubiquitous sounds globally.

And in the thick of the raves and festivals, Black American vernacular forms like trap, drill, New Jersey club and more have constantly flavoured the general melange of genres in DJs sets.

Right in the thick of all this to-and-fro has been Canadian producer Lunice Fermin Pierre II. Most famously he teamed up with Scottish producer Hudson Mohawke to form TNGHT, blowing up the trap beats of southern US hip hop to vast vast proportion with ludicrous build-ups, drops and squealing synth riffs purpose built for the big stages of EDM festivals. He’s also worked with Kanye West, Skrillex, Flying Lotus, SOPHIE and many other genre blurrers, opened for Madonna as a DJ, danced in Azealia Banks’s “212” video, and generally had no truck with accepted boundaries between underground and mainstream, or “urban” and “dance”.

For all the crossover and collaboration, though, Lunice has retained a real clarity of purpose. His breakout release, Stacker Upper in 2011 was essentially a set of hip hop rhythm patterns used as a jump-off point for sonic experimentation, and that’s precisely what he’s doing on this crisp little collection 12 years on. There’s none of the crowdpleasing hyperdramatic dynamics of TNGHT here, just enormous kickdrums forming ludicrously funky patterns (note well: this will make absolutely no sense on small speakers), and voices, drums, synths all tweaked and flung around to embellish them.

Sometimes it gets pretty avant garde as in the relentless percussion jam of “Red Congo” or the fractured industrial crash and acid house-like bassline of “Make Face”. Sometimes it could be relatively mainstream hip hop as in “Walk. But mainly it walks in that interzone, as in “Open”, the most emotionally intense, its cut up yelps sounding like ancient blues, yet sitting perfectly against robotic voices. And all the way, it is not just fusing pre-existing styles but shining a bright spotlight on just how electronically experimental rap is now, and just how hip hop has infused electronica.

@joemuggs

Listen to "No Commas" feat. Cali Cartier:

 

This will make absolutely no sense on small speakers

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