Premiere: Best Available Technology – Chm bss clp Maxell 94

Wide-eyed wonders and vivid feelings from the Portland artist, whose debut album is out on Astro:Dynamics this month.


Words by: Karen Chan

Launched in the summer of 2010, Rekordah’s Astro:Dynamics‎ has been on a roll, serving as an outlet to unleash unstoppable energies from some of the most promising and exciting talents in the UK and beyond. Their first ever release is a 14-track digital compilation, featuring contributions from Lukid, BNJMN, Claws For? (formerly Clause Four), Slugabed and Subeena (now Alis). Other highlights from the label include Gothenburg producer 1991’s debut self-titled album – a dreamlike, curious journey from start to finish – the ‘More Pregnancy’ single from GSD/ GG Alien, who is also known as Twitter phenomenon WANDA GROUP, and the Brooklyn lo-fi artist Lotide’s brilliant cassette full-length from last month.

6th May will see Portland’s Best Available Technology (real name Kevin Palmer) make his debut on Astro:Dynamics with ‘Excavated Tapes 1992-1999’ – the first volume of a series consisting of a string of completely improvised compositions, created in the moment and recorded direct onto cheap blank cassettes between the years of 1992 – 1999. Quietly making music with his array of second-hand samplers and FX for over two decades now, Palmer has only recently started to release his productions, grabbing the attention of Opal Tapes and Further Records.

Presented over the seven tracks are vivid feelings and wide-eyed wonders coming through the framework of metallic, shifting textures and narcotic-fuelled melodies, all melding into effortless sensuality and time-stretched suspense. Dummy are happy to be premiering Chm bss clp Maxell 94 off the album, we also had a chat with Kevin regarding the making of ‘Excavated Tapes 1992-1999’.

Hi Kevin, can you introduce yourself to Dummy?

Libra/ hack/ family man.

You’ve been producing for over two decades, why only release your music now?

That’s difficult to answer. I guess I never really stopped to think about how I would get my music “out there”, until I discovered that I could just upload stuff to Soundcloud and that was it; “there you go sonics… go live out in the world now.”

I was fortunate enough to have found like minded/sympathetic ears. Maybe I was waiting for labels like Astro:Dynamics/Opal Tapes/Further Records etc. I can say for sure that on a certain level it was always enough for me to be able to just immerse myself in the process of creating.

How did ‘Excavated Tapes 1992-1999’ on Astro:Dynamics come about?

I had uploaded some older sonics because I thought it would be cool to show some a couple folks (BNJMN & Evian Christ who I was trading sounds with) my older stuff, and If I remember correctly I was at the same time lurking on the Astro:Dynamics space because I knew BNJMN and Rekordah had some music over there. I was stoked on the variety/vision of the sonics they were putting out, on a whim I sent them a track – Luke got back to me and said he had been listening to the older stuff, and it went from there.

It obviously has a techno-heavy influence, what did you want to achieve with it?

I have always just wanted to incorporate and experiment with all the sonics that I found to be influential and exciting. Total cliche, but in my own naive way I was, and still do, try make the type of hybrid music that only exists one time.

Why did you choose to record an improvised album?

I simply cannot multi-track, it has never felt right for me. I bought a 4 track tape recorder in ’96 and I just couldn’t get into the process of recording with it, but it ended up being a pretty good little mixer for few years. The feeling of immediacy and the moment are lost for me when I have tried to multi-track.

Hailing from Portland, how did that influence your sound and your music making process?

Portland has a lot of pawn shops and second hand gear stores. So when I first moved here (from Tuscon, Arizona) in ’92, crusty old samplers and drum machines were accessible and relatively affordable – add to that the weather that prevented me from skating all the time and forced me to find a indoor creative obsession.

How many tapes do you own?

Of my own recordings I counted a little over one hundred tapes, of those 19 have been digitized and mined for this release. I’m looking forward to getting busy with the rest, as it is a bit like unwrapping a package, very few of them are labeled and I like a surprise.

Can we expect more BAT releases this year?

I’ve got a 12” on left_blank and another on (NY-based label Style Upon Styles sub-project) BASH (Bangers and Ash) coming out this year, some more excavations too.

Astro:Dynamics will release Best Available Technology – ‘Excavated Tapes 1992-1999’ on 6th May 2013.

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