Say what you like about Detroit’s finest, their music is unrivalled. Their prodigious talent in the studio and behind the decks is made all the more alluring by their close-knit reticence, but that doesn’t put us off. Despite a recent Fader interview however, the media’s thirst is rarely sated making the narrative of Kyle Hall’s latest album From Joy the closest thing to a live catch for the rest of us vultures.
Although released this year, From Joy is comprised only of tracks made pre-2010, back when Hall was in his late teens. Teens, or rather childhood, for Hall represents a period in life when we are “most honest and present”. While the album’s title relates to physically being from Joy Road – where he lived at the time – it subsequently is a hark back to his youth and to the freedom of self we have at that stage in our lives.
It could be argued, with that nostalgic theme Hall has followed the route taken by Omar-S in his Fabriclive mix, effectively putting out a ‘pick of the bunch’ from his archives and labelling it an album. Some might be disappointed then that they haven’t got an album by the Hall of now, which ironically contradicts the album’s theme of living in the present. The music does however have that light-hearted air of youth and while we can talk about themes until the cows come home, ultimately, it’s the music that we’re here for.
There are no lengthy intros or tracks that glide on to get you lost in some ethereal experience, as is the case with so much contemporary dance albums. Simply put, the album is filled head to toe with groovers. Remnants of KMFH’s hip-hop and squelch from Dirty Thouz are apparent in tracks like ‘Able To’. The opening drum work on ‘Mysterious Lake’ is reminiscent of Jay Daniel’s ‘Royal Insanity‘ before a sunset synth sears it into a deeper groove. And perhaps the one track that is detached rather than present – so to speak – is the brilliant ‘Wake Up and Dip’, which features melancholic piano keys that trickle over vast dispersed kicks. Its jazz spontaneity with endless synth variations and unpredictable drums keep us hooked and present throughout, making it a joy for home listening as well as inevitably apt for a dancefloor shuffle.
On the surface Hall’s done nothing new and the album might seem downright lazy but if we think of the music, it’s impossible not to enjoy it. Everything about the album is what we’ve grown to love about Hall’s sound from the start. It’s the debut album he should’ve had. Hall is a picky bloke with very high standards and the fact these songs still impress on him as much today as they did then surely speaks volumes of their quality. Moreover, their organic nature has created an album that is truer to Hall than he could’ve ever tried for if he’d made the songs last year. The playfulness and purity of producing without an end goal is evident throughout. It’s an easy one in the bag for any Hall aficionado and a perfect welcome pack for those still unfamiliar with this genius.
Grab the album over at Wild Oats. The excellent artwork on the vinyl is courtesy of Hall’s friend James Grady.