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I found out about this guy through the Needle Drop's (AKA Anthony Fantano, The Internet's busiest music nerd), YUNO Review segment on his you tube channel. HANZ is shrouded in mystery, I'm going to assume based on the sound of his music and name that Hanz is a he. I cannot find anything about the man himself, other than that he is from Durham in the United States. What I can say is that his Facebook has 666 likes and that his début album 'Reducer' has been released for free on his website. It is released physically on vinyl through Tri Angle records later this year. All you really need to know about HANZ is what you will hear on the opening track 'The History of'. The album does get easier to listen to on the tracks afterwards, Yet it's the opening track that breaks in your ears the same way you might with a new pair of shoes. The song has no structure at all, uses samples and huge blasting beats. It reminds me a little bit of Aphex Twin, but without Richard D James' subtly or perfectionist streak. Much of Reducer sounds raw and off the cuff. It's hard to say when a lot of these songs start or where they end. I'm not sure how many times I've played the album yet, because if you're not careful you can end up playing it on a constant loop. If you're a fan of Crystal Castles, Health, Death Grips, Thom Yorke's solo records or even Portishead, you'll find a lot to like here, not because it sounds anything like those bands, but because much like them HANZ likes to challenge and perplex his listeners. The vibe is dark and brooding, and despite the lack of any melodies or structure it is an easy record to listen to and enjoy. It reminds me of the heady days of the early 90's (which I'm far too young to remember) when DJ's were less interested in making millions from advertising and streaming than they were burning millions of their own royalties, and mixing with scraps of sandpaper.
Reducer is a very vague album, the samples are nonsensical, and it mixes hard hitting beats with dark vibes and a laid back trip-hoppy presence. It's a welcome reminder that electronic music is not just for the clubs or gym. It feels timeless, yet is one of the most forward thinking records to come out in 2015.