Nelson Bean produces and performs electronic music as Black Hat. His compositions combine elements of minimal techno, drone, IDM, and industrial music into fluid song structures propelled by evolving polyrhythms and abstracted tones. On record, Bean's wide stereophonic spreads find room for layers of textured synthesis, overlapping beat grids, and digital processing. In performance, Black Hat compositions expand into low-end rituals that push loops and live tones into peaks of paralyzing physicality. Bean has issued music on labels including Debacle Records (Spectral Disorder, 2012) and Field Hymns (Covalence, 2013). He grew up in Oakland, CA and currently resides in Seattle, WA.
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Black Hat has shared the stage with Hieroglyphic Being, Pete Swanson, Pulse Emitter, Prostitutes, Panabrite, and more.
"...one of the best records of the year so far. It follows further developments in Black Hat's sound, retaining the compositional elements that drew me in initially but with an added level of sophistication and bleakness that works incredibly well for the project. Thought of Two is a maze of emotions masked inside dark electronics and pulsing rhythms. Within it's three tracks, the drones are hypnotic and the melodies obscured, yet there are hooks to sink into. It's a deep record that requires repeated listens and proves that Nelson Bean is a force."-Ad Hoc (Brad Rose)
"There’s a tons of layering and clever manipulation of tone to arrive at a style that is both blissed out and impressively tuneful for ‘drone’. Particularly memorable is the side long epic ‘Memory Triptych’ that takes a singular synth tone and sends it on an adventure through differing atmospherics introducing deep bass tones, mesmerising splashes of percussion and deep, cinematic drones along the way." - Norman Records
"This track aurally paints in the ashy grays and unfathomable blacks of glowering gloom-mongers like Demdike Stare and Haxan Cloak. The beats aren’t really tailored for dancing, but rather for shuffling urgently down creepy alleys and skulking past non-functioning, rotted-out factories. On this piece, Black Hat’s entering horror-film-soundtrack territory with paranoiac panache and a leery gleam in his eye."-The Stranger
"It reminds me of Leyland Kirby’s recent beat-driven work, but drawn out with a much more overarching sense of dread (watch out for that rumbling bass, it’ll get ya)." - Decoder
" This dude jams some dark techno drone that drowns out the rest of the watered down stuff in the genre. Thought Of Two could easily have come out on Modern Love, it’s got the sprawling ambient vibe that drones with the best of em, soaring through deep space headed for the edge of the universe and glimpsing the other side of life, and beautifully textured foundations that set the scene for a mixed bag of rad rhythms, occasionally woozy & blissful, but mostly just alien industrial grooves that are murky as fuck and damn near perfect, this is the most premium shit, definitely a high point in the scene right now." - Anti-Gravity Bunny
"...sinister sounds and steamy rhythms that spill out from the mossy manholes and grab your ankles as you cross the crowded intersection."-Tiny Mix Tapes
Black Hat is my pick to break out of the Seattle underground and make (inter)national waves. - The Stranger (Dave Segal)
...minimal, dub-infused basslines crawling along beneath layer-after-layer of smoked rhythms... Covalence is a horror soundtrack from a bleak, distant future. - Fact Magazine - #13 in The 20 Best Cassette Releases of 2013
Each throb, every shrill blast is an awesomely calculated penetration of sound that would make Einstürzende Neubauten break me off a piece of that Kit Kat Bar... dustings of sound that are equally as primal as they are futuristic. - Tabs Out - Tape of the Month
Black Hat’s debut is an astounding one, and proves that he can make nuanced, novel electronic music just as well as the pros can. With enough time and practice, there’s no reason Bean can’t capture the aesthetic essences of the emotional veins he’s choosing to tap into, stealing their sinister, murmuring souls like so many photographs. - SSG Music (8.3/10)
Black Hat’s Covalence is the summer mix tape you’ll want in your car stereo. Though it doesn’t have jams like “Get Lucky” or “What I Like,” what it lacks in mainstream pop appeal it makes up for in pacing. - Tiny Mix Tapes