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.
Although Pusha T’s rapping on Clipse’s essential Hell Hath No Fury is, in my opinion, some of the best ever, he hasn’t be the most consistent artist in the past few years. When “Numbers on the Board” dropped earlier this year I was amazed by Pusha’s ability to channel his Hell Hath No Fury intensity of rapping over an amazingly odd ball beat from Kanye. Hanz, continuing his streak of giving great rap singles great remixes, has taken the original track and chopped it up and reworked it into an appropriately disorienting listen. Instead of just working up a new beat for the track, Hanz’s mix turns the track into a barrage of disjointed phrases and lines.
Throughout his entire career, Hanz has defined himself on his versatility, dynamic compositions and refusal to be easily defined. While I still haven’t come up with a multi-hyphenated genre/buzz-word to describe his music, Hanz’s work remains as undeniably his own as ever. ”Fit” has the Georgian producer firing on all cylinders to deliver a lush, complex and rich listen. Moving away from the minimalist nature of “Reducer”, “Fit” is brimming with sounds that will persuade any audiophile into an eargasm induced coma. Seriously though, listen at your own risk.
If the last single from Hanz, “Reducer”, then “Gum” might be more of your thing. Moving away from the largely ambient and noisey “Reducer”, “Gum” might be the closest thing Hanz has written to a pop instrumental. Only a few hi-hat rolls away from being a trap single, “Gum” has some of the most colorful and playful sounds we’ve ever heard Hanz working with. Admittedly, “Gum” isn’t exactly bubbly or poppy at all as Hanz manages to retain his sense of dark, chaotic atmospheric. The track sounds ready to break down at any time and fly off the rail. This is the type of gum you might find on the sidewalk, dirty, unsavory yet hard to take your eyes off of.