Album / 206
Calculated Chaos: Black Hat's Spectral Disorder
by Dave Segal
on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 2:13 PM
Debacle Records, incubator of exceptional local and non-local exploratory music, has a new release by Black Hat (aka Nelson Bean, who recently relocated here from Oakland). Spectral Disorder is a five-track EP that stakes out gritty, distinctive territory in the city's electronic-music scene.
"#000000" is a landslide of distorted low frequencies and reverbed, bellicose beats, somewhere between Cut Hands and Andy Stott on the harshness meter. By contrast, "Northwest Passage" begins as an edgy new-age meditation with wind chimes and pacific synth wafting in the distance, before morphing into a mellow, quasi-gamelan piece that sojourns into misty, malarial climes, with dread-inducing white-noise threshing in the background. Here’s where the Demdike Stare comparison in the press release really resonates.
"Callas" dispenses coal-black ambience with undercurrents of malevolence while "Spectral Disorder" rigs calculated chaos and industrial catastrophe into a tumultuous track that sounds like Coil in a tussle to the death with NON or Pan Sonic. Harrowing. "Foreign Bodies" could be music for a dystopian chiller-thriller flick, a kind of rough-edged IDM that marches into battle with scowling determination and merciless momentum.
Black Hat plays out with some frequency; his next show is Sat. Nov. 3 at Black Lodge. Make it a priority to see him perform.