Stream Hot Sugar's New EP
After releasing a teaser video yesterday of a rat helping make the beat for "Watermelon (feat. Open Mike Eagle)," you can now stream Hot Sugar's new Made Man EP via Complex and download the EP in full over at Hot Sugar's Bandcamp.
Nick Koenig (a.k.a. Hot Sugar) is keenly aware of the emotional resonance in specific non-musical sounds, and seeks to use those sounds to his advantage. Koenig is hardly the first artist to build songs out of original samples, nor is he the first person to choose his sonic sources based on their symbolic weight, but Koenig might be the first musician of note to choose his sources strictly on the basis of their psychological triggers. Whether it's the comforting thump of a mammalian heartbeat, the cold sterility of television static, or the whimsy of a rat stumbling across a piano keyboard, Koenig hears both emotional implication and the timbre of an instrument in mundane, everyday auditory detritus.
But the strength of Hot Sugar ultimately resides in his music, not his manifesto or process. Sure, understanding how his glitchy electronic and instrumental hip-hop passages were constructed can make them all the more intriguing, but the back-story wouldn't amount to much if Koenig didn't have a knack for melody and beats. Koenig's music might use such unmusical sounds as electric shocks or the moans of an orgasmic woman, but he's also not above drafting a sample from a cheap Casio synth or an old omnichord. Ultimately, the rhythm and melody are most important. This commitment to the unorthodox hook explains why The Roots lifted one of his compositions for their Grammy-nominated album Undun, or why he's been tapped to ghost produce for Damon Dash, or why his production skills have been employed by Das Racist-affiliate Big Baby Gandhi. You don't need to read the artist statement to be drawn into Hot Sugar's clever compositions.