Kyle Hall and the Rebranding of Detroit Techno

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Back in the summer of 2009, a week before his 18th birthday, Detroit’s Kyle Hall made his live debut outside of his hometown at Brooklyn’s ecstatic and sweaty outdoor dance party, Sunday Best (now known as Mister Sunday). The anticipation was high, as Hall had been highly touted as the next generation of Detroit dance music producers, in the fine lineage of Carl Craig, Moodymann and the like, a show sponsored by dance music website, Resident Advisor. Hall’s set on that hot and dusty eve began to build and build and then, just as the bass kicked in, it all went dead. No power. And when it was restored, the first hits of bass again blew the fuse. It seemed to be a young DJ’s worst nightmare come true.

“Aww man, it didn’t bother me a bit, I was happy,” he tells Hive. “It was a blast to be at Sunday Best.”

Now about to turn 22, Kyle Hall’s Midwestern drawl is evident as he recalls that gig, chatting with me by phone while driving around Detroit in his Mitsubishi Outlander. After a series of singles and collaborative releases, Kyle Hall is finally dropping The Boat Party, his debut full-length on his own Wild Oats label. “After the singles, I needed to present people with a body of work so that they can reference a certain sound,” he says.

The Boat Party’s eight tracks are succinct and invigorating. Some are raw and in the red, while others are carefully built up from modern soul and sweet boogie samples to counterbalance the wicked house bludgeoning to be had on cuts like “Crushed.” And even though his touring schedule now carries him to Europe more often than not, he finally found the time to come home and hone the album: “I get writer’s block when I travel too much,” he says. “But once I get back home and get grounded, I’m able to get back into it.”

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