Hall's blithe massaging of Detroit techno and house tropes is strewn across The Boat Party, an album suffused in smoky tape hiss and blackened drum programming. The rough grace common in so much Motor City house is often subverted and turned on its head; you keep expecting Hall to dip into funky trots even as he winds himself around sample barrages and drizzles of static and sonic blare. "Spoof," for example, opts for a kind of a gritty industrial surge, all cloudy drums and grainy blurts of noise. "Flemmenup" is sputtering gun-fire drums wrapped tightly around a clipped vocal sample that creates an uneven, drunken sense of rhythm. "Finnapop" is even more hellbent on this kind of surrealism by distortion, with hyper-pitched samples repeated against the most elementary drum patterns.
Elsewhere, The Boat Party traces Hall's mellower moods. The brief opener, "Kixclap$chord$nhat$," follows a deep synth melody and a chunky beat, like something out of Legowelt's catalogue. "Crushed" is maybe the most emotive track on the entire record, with a submerged vocal that hums and moans against jazzy 4 AM chords. Likewise, closer "Measure2Measure" rides a stormy drum-break into an anthemic chorus of divas, though Hall subverts the track's groove with stop-short halts to its slender flow. These are moments that play much closer to tradition than some of The Boat Party, which, given repeat stereo-time, begins to open up into something increasingly intriguing but also more insistent on its own idiosyncratic charms. Whether he's Detroit's next Great is beside the point—as you can tell from The Boat Party, Kyle Hall is damn good.