I wasn’t familiar with Issue or Perera Elsewhere before listening to their collaboration with Hanz and to be honest I probably will only be listening to more of them if Hanz continues to provide his beats. ”Power is Mine” isn’t so much a rap as it is hypnotically droned mantras over Hanz gorgeous (if not incredibly low in the mix) beat. Even though the vocals of Issue and Perera Elsewhere take over the mix, the track is held together by Hanz’s consistently off and chaotic beat. With hammering drums, decaying drone and jolts of found noise, “Power is Mine” demonstrates just how far Hanz has come in controlling his effortless chaos. What’s most exciting is that Hanz is bound to get a lot more well deserved press for this collaboration and I’m psyched to hear whatever he has coming up next.
We’ve come to expect unpredictability from Hanz but I still can’t help but be surprised and wowed by his newest single “War Fiction”. If you’re reading The Up-Turn because you like our (pretty darn good if I do say so myself) taste in hip-hop or lo-fi rock then “War Fiction” may not be your thing. This is experimental a.f. bros. The biggest driving force behind “War Fiction” is the burst of military drumming that Hanz spreads through the tracks first two thirds. It gives his music, which has never failed to sound huge, a more directed form. The last minute collapses in on itself with plenty of distorted, dissonant and odd sonic goodies that Hanz is so good at pulling off. Reducer drops this spring.
When I received an open-ended final assignment for my writing class this past semester I pretty much knew what I wanted to do right away. The class was about being a writing tutor and how to teach people how to write so I decided to interview some of my favorite under-appreciated writers and lyricists about their writing process. Although I’m not going to try and make claims about connections between rappers based on their influences, hometowns or styles I hope that the mapping serves as an illustration of just how amazing the world of hip-hop is right now. Hit the jump to read my quick interviews with Chef the Chef, Sidewalk Kal, uhlife, B L A C K K R A Y, Hanz, Chris Villa, NicX, and Tay Devenny.
Considering his more experimental turn in music making recently, I was unsure of whether Hanz would return to making the amazing hip-hop beats that Chris Villa struts over so well. It’s been a while, but the pope and Hanz are back working together and the result is the mature and fine tuned “Deaf Check 3″. While “Deaf Check 3″ is easily one of the most precisely orchestrated hip-hop beats Hanz has put together, it is anything but restrained. Instead, we find a calm, cool and collected Chris Villa threatening cops and riding through his city with the kind of laid back perspective of an elder statesman of hip-hop. It’s amazing hearing Chris Villa sound so confident and comfortable over the abstract beat and it only has me more excited than ever for the return of Hanz and Chris Villa working together.
Woah. After reducing his sound down to bare minimum and then deconstructing pop sounds, Hanz has actually put out a track that could almost be described as straightforward… almost. On “Capsule”, Hanz explores the understated side of UK dubstep and bass-music while retaining his unique penchant for huge sounds coming from minimal production. Imagine wiping away the midnight romanticism from Untrue. ”Capsule” revels in the hard-edged grit of a nighttime urban landscape. Dear Hanz, keep doing you. I will follow you wherever you go.
While most posts I make are written after listening through a track only a few times, I wanted to give my self more time for Hanz’s newest release A Brief Guide. I’ve been following the music of Hanz for a while now as he’s grown from a sample-based and hip-hop inspired beat maker into a force all his own and A Brief Guide is his biggest mission statement yet. The release ebbs and flows like a factory, revealing moments and hints of pop after heavily rhythmic sections of noise and clutter. Influence of bass music, trap, juke and house persist through the tracks in a mutated, twisted and restrained manner. On “Queen Speed”, which absorbed the earlier single “Gum”, bird fluttering replaces hi-hat rolls and breaking glass stepping in for cymbal crashes. ”Read the Sign”, probably the most danceable track, would serve well to soundtrack a dirt-level rave of rats and cockroaches. Working with a restrained yet world-building sound, Hanz demonstrates that he’s working on a whole other level than many of his electronic peers.
This tape was dropped a few months ago, but somehow I never got word of it until later, and I figure that now is as good of a time as ever to post it so here you go. In spring of 2012, Chris dropped his debut tape Pillage Vatican City which despite being an amazing debut, was slept on by almost every respectable rap-listener for no good reason at all. 7 Headed Dragon is his followup to that tape, and his aesthetic seems to have only gotten darker since then. This time around, Chris uses less beats from one of our favorite producers, Hanz, and more of his own early Triple 6 Mafia-influenced beats and it works just as well. Chris laces his stark and mysterious sounding beats with lots of lyrics driven by spite and political sentiments, and vividly brings you into his own collapsing world. Stream two of my favorite tracks below, and the whole thing after the jump.