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NYC Record of the Month: Hot Sugar's "Moon Money"

NYC Record of the Month: Hot Sugar's "Moon Money"

We were quite late in discovering this album, but it's so good that it deserves to be our NYC Record of the Month, even if it was released in 2012.

“Moon Money,” the second album by Nick Koenig (a/k/a Hot Sugar) continues the stylistic mashup introduced on the artist’s intriguing debut, “Muscle Milk” (2011). Merging elements of trip-hop, dub-step and electro-funk, Hot Sugar reignites the tone of ‘90s post-rock acts like Mouse on Mars and Autechre. Even the cover design of “Moon Money” is unabashedly retro, as in SO very 2010, with its indie-rock-meets-new wave layout. Incongruity rules the day here. Take “The Kid Who Drowned at Summer Camp,” which effortlessly crosses the dark/urban simplicity of a Mobb Deep backing track with the jammy melodicism of the Eagles’ “Hotel California” coda. Similarly, “#Mindcontrol” (streaming) boils Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” down to its bare elemental structure by employing a ping-pong pizzicato style common to early analog synth LPs, which then allows the song to capture the ephemeral nature of its Twitter-like title in satirical strokes. Later, “Addictions” draws melodically on Martika’s soaring 1989 hit single “Toy Soliders.” Yet here Hot Sugar submerges both melody and rhythm in much the same way that L.A.‘s Moog Cookbook had in 1996 by covering Nirvana and Green Day material with antique keyboards. The difference being that Hot Sugar, by plotting such well-known anthems as a jumping off point (as opposed to direct covers), is able to get at the core of electronic songcraft in a completely conceptual and mind-bending way. The strange cohesiveness of “Coconut Powder” best exemplifies the cavalier aesthetic by transforming a backing track straight out of the Lady Gaga playbook into an intimate cut-and-paste affair at once both cold and bouncy. Time becomes something of an extravagance in this music’s presence. Enjoy the trip. - Brian Chidester

Published: October 23, 2013 |

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