From the backwaters of New Orleans, Hiatt dB bursts forth with ‘Palimpsest’, a remarkable debut on Rhythm Section International, marking the label’s first recruit from the US of A. Having grown up in San Antonio feeling the absence of ‘club culture’, instead finding dive bars and live music venues in its place, Hiatt sourced creative inspiration elsewhere and evolved a love for the region that was born out of its vivid history. “I’m proud and grateful to be making music in the American Gulf South - a part of the world that has brought so many people, ideas, and sounds together by way of both tragedy and triumph alike.” After a move to New Orleans in 2015 with the intention to widen the scope of his musical output, newly exposed influences from the Mediterranean to West Africa, Brazil through to the Caribbean motivated him to begin making dance music and performing as a percussionist and DJ. The Mystery Zone club nights commenced not long after, followed by the label and a mission statement of facilitating his community and exporting their work to the global discourse. As such, Hiatt has been instrumental in nurturing his burgeoning local scene. He enthuses, “there is a sound developing here among artists making dance music with these unique and varied influences, and I’m excited to share our take on club culture.”
The lead track ‘Sun Spell’ explodes in glorious technicolour: an orgy of uplifting piano stabs, hyper-speed second line rhythms and spiralling bass. This frenetic, joyful opener - road tested and verified extensively by Bradley - has ‘PEAK TIME’ written all over it. New Orleans is a drum city and true to his home Hiatt doesn’t let up on the rhythmic assault with second track ‘Palimpsest’. An intricate snare rudiment leads us to a demented bassline which sears a hole through the percussion as it builds to a dizzying crescendo, only to release the pressure teasingly, time and time again. Hiatt dB is an artist who wears his city’s influence proudly, and as we flip the record over we see these local ingredients incorporated once again but this time resulting in a distinctly more ethereal energy. The sizzling stylings of ‘6 O’clock Rock’ have ‘Big Easy’ written all over them, perfectly complimented by a cameo from the mellow canary himself, just to make sure the vibes is right… To round off this exceptionally strong debut EP, the closing track takes a turn towards the deeper side of the New Orleans sound. Effortless, hypnotic and masterfully understated, sit back and bask in the euphoric, sparkling breaks of ‘Everyday Break’. It’s the warm afterglow you need as the journey of the record comes to it’s triumphant conclusion.
As well as running his own Mystery Zone imprint and parties, Hiatt also spent the best part of a year designing and building his own travelling Hi-Fi Soundsystem. Galvanized by an admiration for the soundclash culture of Jamaica and a dream to recreate the bespoke big stack setups of Notting Hill Carnival’s dub systems, he was spurred on by a distinct lack of this specialist engineering in Texas and Louisiana. A visit to Public Records in NYC sealed the deal and Hiatt set about piecing his project together from Craigslist ads and pick ups in different corners of the country. “The tops were from an older guy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana who had bought them new in ‘85. I replaced the tweeters and balancing networks and cleaned them up a bit. The subs were from an old movie theater in Georgia that was liquidating - I got them cheap but they were a wreck. I replaced the woofer and wiring, then sanded and stained the cabinets.” The MZSS debuted at New Orleans’ 2019 Mardi Gras, measuring up to an 8-piece samba band and 14-piece afrobeat orchestra that performed alongside the records being spun. We couldn’t be happier to have Hiatt dB joining the RS family.