Hanz - Plasty I - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Hanz - Plasty I

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:7 Release Date:2018-01-26
Hanz - Plasty I
Hanz - Plasty I

North Carolina-based producer Brandon Juhans, working under the name Hanz, is dropping two EPs this year. Plasty I is the first, and it's like a miniature explosion of cassette tapes from another dimension. This EP zips by in sevens tracks across barely more than eighteen minutes, with a mix of complete songs and odd audio sketches. There is a lot of stylistic continuity, in an odd way, across most of the set, such that it is hard to tell when one track ends and the next begins.

The first song, 'Advice Ad', is just an acoustic guitar chopped and twisted into bird nest. The title track is a slice of gritty drum and bass, with a mix of samples from whistles and birds to whispers and shouts. It has an echoey, disjointed feeling, bolstered by clipping breakbeats that make it feel like it's partially out of phase with reality.

'King Speed' is a grimy, dingy tune, something that's happening in a dirty hotel room with a broken TV set buzzing and crackling in the background. There are a couple of vocal samples, one of which reminds me of the vaguely French murmurings on the old Autechre track 'Zeiss Contarex', although the song also feels like a slowed down, jazzier Prefuse 73.

'Root Words' sounds like a reprise of the title track initially, with loads more but breaks down into an ultra-blunted piece of percussive feedback. In fact, tracks 2-4 feel like something of a suite, modulating through alternate takes on the same big theme.

'Your Local Shapeshifter' is more of the same: pounding, insistent beats with creepy, ghostly half-melodies flitting around the corners of vision. 'A Breathing House' had a warbling bassline that pushes in briefly into trip hop territory, but more ethereal swishing effects keep it from becoming too grounded, making it sound like a breeze through a haunted house.

Final tune 'Page', the longest in the set, plays around with vocal samples, chiming synths, and more hard-crashing beats. The entire album uses a particular form of percussion that I've heard only rarely. It's a snapping, back-and-forth style, like being shaken and having your head bounce forward and backward while looking at a strobe light.

It's an interesting little set, somewhere between Aphex Twin, Massive Attack, and Doldrums. Still, it's relatively challenging, and definitely not a good starting place for people new to electronic music. If you're brave enough, check it out.

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