Neither Nikki Nair nor Hudson Mohawke are keen on pigeon-holing themselves into any particular genre, and Set the Roof is a quintessential example of this “I do what I want” mentality. With a host of A-list production credits behind him (including Kanye West, Drake, and Future, to name a few), Hudson Mohawke has spent years establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in the beatmaker scene (not to mention his work as half of TNGHT). Nikki Nair, likewise, is no stranger to success with releases on Dirtybird, Mad Decent, Fantastic Voyage, and a slew of other labels in the past five years that might seem inconsistent to those unfamiliar with his musical versatility.
As a matter of principle, it seems, both Hudson and Nikki are keen on keeping fans on their toes with an ever-changing but familiar sound behind their releases. Whatever reputation you may have of them in your mind right now, Set the Roof is sure to make you question it.
The eponym track plays like a microcosm of the album as a whole with its rollercoaster of clubby, acid techno basslines in the first half that subtly roll into the subwoofer-stomping second half. ‘More Recently,’ ‘Demuro’ and ‘Wait A Minute’ continue the fast-paced BPM magic that sounds like it could have come straight out of a Detroit basement in the 90s. ‘Long Ago’ takes a familiar sample (that this author won’t spoil here) and flips it on its head in a fantastically cartoony, bouncy way. ‘Generator’ is a drum masterpiece that will appeal to fans of breaks and soothing piano riffs, perfectly serving as a poetic end to the high energy of the tracks preceding it.
Warp Records truly has a gem on their hands with this album. Nikki Nair and Hudson Mohawke have shown time and time again that they have the talent and seemingly innate musical ability to nail whatever project they set their minds to, with Set the Roof only being the latest in that line. We’ve no idea what direction they’ll pivot next, but it’ll surely be a work of art. Until then, be sure to check out Set the Roof below.
Written by Braden.