Jesus Christ, Kyle Hall is one talented kid – a true Prodigy. The Detroit native’s productions are so richly musical, so thoughtful and mature, that it seems madness to think that he was born 1991 – he’s only 18 years old. With forthcoming remixes on the UK dubstep label Hyper Dub, R&S and Planet E he is clearly destined for a rich artistic future.
His work began when he was as young as 11 – local legend DJ Raybone Jones taught him how to spin records, and schooled him in the history of music. After a friend suggested he go check out the Vibes record store in Detroit’s Oak Park, Hall was taken under the wing of its owner Rick Wilhite (Three Chairs), who gave him a wider understanding of underground deep house. In 2005 Hall attended a class on using the music-producing software Reaktor 5, taught by another Detroit house legend, Mike Huckaby. He gave Huckaby a mix CD he’d made, and Huckaby went nuts for it – he helped him get some radio and club shows, and set him on the path to wider recognition.
When he was 16, Hall went to go see his favourite techno DJ, Omar-S, play out. Having danced for hours upon hours, he sat down to take a breather, at which point Omar approached him and said, “What up nig? you’re Kyle, right?”; they’ve been friends ever since, with Omar acting as a kind of patron – indeed, his most recent mixtape is comprised solely of Kyle Hall productions.
So what of those productions? The influence of Detroit’s deep house forerunners – Moodymann, Rick Wade and Theo Parrish, not to mention Rick Wilhite, Omar-S and Mike Huckaby – is all over ‘em, but Hall isn’t constrained by a 4×4 beat – he’s just as likely to work with a slouchy hip-hop rhythm a la J Dilla. Like Dilla, Hall’s music connects with a grander, longer tradition of American soul music, all gut-wrenching melodies rendered in strings, heavy bass and jazzy keys.
Granted, there’s no way of talking about Kyle Hall that doesn’t make him sound like just another Detroit house producer. Visit his myspace and listen to the tracks streaming there and I guarantee you’ll be blown away. At which point you should go buy copies of his two Wild Oats 12â€s with a third one dropping in the next month.