Exposure Therapy fuses muggy electronics, heavy-lidded rhythms and molten dub into abstract compositions that leverage the studio as an automated tool to siphon out an implied form of radical, rugged hip hop. Before the world of hip hop shrunk down to the size of a few websites, back when local radio stations were the trusted cultivators and keepers of regional sounds, New York City's musical landscape was defined by two words: boom bap. That asphalt-hard sound stands in stark relief to the luxurious, glittering production that has dominated the airwaves in recent years, but New York's original sound throws a long shadow and the specter of boom bap still lingers.
Kevin Palmer is channeling those ghosts on Exposure Therapy, a sonic seance that lets ambient, dub, and boom bap bleed into each other forming a complex meditation on the golden age of New York hip hop. That distant era has served as a source of endless inspiration for Palmer's production under the moniker Best Available Technology, and this is his grime-caked love letter to the faded memory of a grittier New York sound.
Exposure Therapy is as expansive as it is intensely personal. Over the last three decades, Palmer has been experimenting with how to express a deep affection for a sound that was always thousands of miles away growing up, and this is his distinctive vision of that era. Palmer's abiding love for a specific moment in New York's musical history is also riven with a looming anxiousness, as if he's unsure of how best to act as a conduit for a time he experienced by proxy. The physical distance and insecurity lend something unique to Exposure Therapy, sounding as if the high-pitched peal of graffiti-covered subway cars and the persistent din of traffic endemic to boom bap-era New York were beamed to another world.