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Album: Kyle Hall – The Boat Party

Released: 16th April 2013

Wild Oats

7/10

It takes something special in order to emerge from any city with a rich heritage of music, yet this is exactly what Kyle Hall has achieved. Hailing from Detroit, Hall has followed the lead of such tech-house names as Theo Parrish and Omar S in becoming a trans-Atlantic success. However even amongst such talent, Hall manages to stand out for what he has formed since the young age of sixteen. Shortly after Youtube videos showed Hall pacing his school corridor’s making spontaneous beats on a keyboard, the Detroit youngster set up his own label, Wild Oats. With a mentoring influence from guys like Mike Huckaby and Rick Wilhite, Hall has since released on labels such as Kode9’s Hyperdub and now sits firmly at the center of his hometown’s next generation of producers. The excitement surrounding Hall’s latest output is inevitable then, with the eight track Boat Party LP being by far his most expansive work to date.

‘KIXCLAP$CHORD$NHAT$’ may not feel like much at the time, but the cymbal heavy opening sequence merely rearranges the audible pallet in preparation for what is to come – something you’ll no doubt be thankful for later. The following two tracks ‘Dr Crunch’ and ‘Spoof’ represent the Detroit techno influence for all it’s worth. ‘Dr Crunch’ stands out as the hardest track on the release with a punishing kick drum and aggravating melody which feels as if it could lead anywhere. ‘Spoof’ maintains a similar industrial kick, but this time is supported by a much softer wave of sound that is occasionally interrupted by some sharp cymbal work.

Hall proceeds to pull down these techno foundations that he has created by bringing a much more subtle sound to the rest of the LP. ‘Flemmenup’ combines kick, snares and samples in a variety of fashions to create a pulsing if not totally attention grabbing beat. However, upon a first listen to the next track,‘Crushed’, it stands out as being as close to a crossover hit as Kyle Hall would ever want. The sampling of vocal notes which fade in and out over a beautifully constructed beat make for a soundtrack to a lakeside summer in Detroit. Or at least we can dream so.

The upbeat ‘Finnapop’ sounds more like it’s from Chicago than Detroit but this again down to Hall’s imaginative use of sampling. At seven minutes ‘Finnapop’ is the longest track on the release: just don’t expect the relentless vocals to give up at any point unless it’s the last two minutes which form a musical implosion, eventually resting on a crackly dying kick. A brief interlude entitled ‘Grungy Gloops’ is perhaps the best measure of Hall’s diversity as synth meets an explosion of percussion. This storm before the calm is testament to Hall’s originality as the next song ‘Measure 2 Measure’ ties the LP together in a cloud of smooth guitar riff and vocals. If ever the phrase ‘save the best to last’ was put into practice, Kyle Hall has certainly done this here.

Whilst Hall will always be compared to his Detroit peers, on the evidence of this LP alone he deserves to be mentioned in a separate sentence all of his own. Rarely are a combination of tracks able to underpin the sound of a whole city whilst remaining so original and varied.

Tags: Album, album review, boat party lp, Kyle Hall

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