"BAT ruggedly balances neck-snap ‘90s hip hop, dub and ambient psychedelia in a definitive slab capping a decade of uncompromising work in this zone - RIYL early Dabrye, Kaman Leung, Spectre, Lukid, Actress
Call it illbient, ambient dub or whatever you want, this is one of BAT’s best and most woozily engaging long-players. The Portland, OR producer has remained steadfast in his pursuit of the perfectly uneven beat for 10 years now, with significant cuts on Opal Tapes, No Corner, Accidental Meetings and 12th Isle that established his cult reputation.
These dozen new bits typically take their cues from the beat craft of Bomb Squad’s Hank Shocklee and Boogie Down Productions, and could feasibly have come from any period of his work, but there’s a special magic at work on this one that really captures his skewed essence and places it among his most vital - a perfect entry point for anyone sitting on the fence.
While we don’t expect Bomb Squad fiends to be jumping on it, listeners who can join more oblique dots will surely get what his amorphous arrangements are hinting at. His grooves unravel and coil inside themselves simultaneously, loops crumbling into the next bar with a calm yet tongue-tip play of anticipation and resolution that has us rapt for the duration, at least. "
Text & Product Image by boomkat.com
Vinyl release; 200 numbered copies, clear green 180gr LP.
Streaming available on Tidal, Apple Music, Youtube Music & Spotify.
Portland-based Kevin Palmer returns to blundar with his Best Available Technology for another release (having previously been featured on cassette). This time it’s on vinyl but still messing about with the same business of constructing and deconstructing head-nodding beats into a foggy bowl of ambience that has become the trademark sound of BAT.
Initially inspired and influenced by the sound-worlds created by Hank Shocklee, BDP and KDAY, Palmer spent his formative years combing pawn shops for samplers. This kicked off his self-described obsessive compulsive work crunching out impossibly naive and obviously unschooled jams in what might have been and continues to be an attempt to capture and document something he felt when listening to the bombastic sonic collages of early hip hop.
Going backwards in order to go forward could be an apt mantra to describe the philosophy behind BAT. Often attached with labels like nostalgia and melancholy, Palmer surely deals with the longing for that perfect time capsule of N.Y. hip hop in the 90s - but where others zoning in on that era simply imitate it, Palmer goes way further into a world of his own making.
Far removed in both time and place to the outskirts of Portland, the sonics of Palmer filters through an outsider’s perspective, sometimes offering a personal journal of the here and now via field recordings from skateparks and surfing trips.
As if one would imagine looking slightly to the left of what was supposedly going on, these tracks continuously shift one's focus. That funky feel good beat is there, but almost always just out of grasp. Palmer gives us the sound of a memory slipping away.
Yet this reads not as the end of something, but rather a stepping stone into a world of possibilities. Operating at the outskirts of genre, you could imagine anything from dub, hip hop, ambient or techno to emerge and crystalize from the haze, yet it never does. This is all those things and nothing. Or maybe it’s just some “sad fucked up funk” as Palmer puts it.
released September 19, 2023
Music By - Kevin Palmer/Best Available Technology
Manufactured By - R.A.N.D. Muzik
Mastered By – Alexis Rodríguez Cancino
Photography By – mutantexture.com
Released By - blundar.co
A beautiful way to end a strange year. Another quiet triumph for The Humble Bee and Motion Ward. Perfect to walk out and listen to in the worse of weather or to welcome the pending return of the sun wherever you live. AB