C72 – gray tape with black imprints. Pro-dubbed chrome plus cassette. 2-side 3-panel J-card with and artwork and design by HausMo Max.
Nelson Bean’s work under the name Black Hat bridges the gap between kinetic beat music and mesmeric ambient texture. His take on modern electronic composition finds room for high definition synth programming, swathes of fine-grain drift, and layered percussion lines that evolve into webs of head-bobbing polyrhythm. Impossible World, Black Hat‘s second release with Hausu Mountain after 2014’s Thought of Two LP, catches up from where his practice left off, broadening his sound over the course of a 70 minute program stuffed with dense sketches and extended cinematic set pieces. Bean’s synths ping, drift, or slither across the stereo spread, melting together or juxtaposing against one another as bubbling digital granules and smeared music box whirls. His melodies and arrangements paint detailed emotional narratives, with conflicts and resolutions embodied in sudden shifts in harmony and contrasting tonalities that drape over each other. Black Hat channels the hallucinogenic sound design of Coil, the slow-burning arrangements and utopian/dystopian atmospheres of Drexciya, and a scientist’s approach to tonal manipulation and synthetic instrumentation in the vein of Aphex Twin or Autechre. Bean’s tracks can offer an illusion of stasis, as central elements churn through the mix for extended periods, but his shifting rhythmic grids and subtly thickening stereo spreads eliminate any obvious recursion in favor of organic growth and constant mutation. He has researched music neuroscience at UC Berkeley and currently attends medical school in New Orleans at Tulane. From one perspective, Black Hat‘s recordings offer an escape from the world of his studies, but more accurately, his music illustrates a mind in which all pursuits converge into one.