Brendan Hanks’ new EP Through is a really intelligent record. It is measured and studied, and it’s obvious that Hanks has had a long love affair with electronica. It’s not showy. It doesn’t grab you out of your seat immediately and force you to dance, but it does worm its way into your ears and make its presence known.
Hanks draws heavily from a techno canon that includes Juan Atkins and Aphex Twin. He cites both Autechre and Squarepusher as influences, and notes an interest in techno for its melodic rhythms. This isn’t big room techno, although the EP’s opening track, “New Planes,” would happily find its place in a dark room with big speakers. Hanks has been making intelligent dance music and techno in Iowa City for over 10 years, and his knowledge of and appreciation for the genre are evident.
The EP follows a logical progression of sonic enlightenment, as we are taken on a journey through Hanks’ appreciation for techno. This is a dark and moody album, with occasional bits of sparkle. I really like the third track, “Boneclock,” for its melodic drum lines and synths. I love synths. It’s the goth in me, but that’s always been part of my attraction to techno in the first place.
I enjoy the overall moodiness of the record. By the title track, I’m hooked. “Through” is my favorite track on the EP; it’s the perfect song to drive to. It has shades of techno classics like “Night Drive” by Juan Atkins and Aphex Twin. It’s the standout on the EP; while not the most dancefloor friendly, it’s clean and crystal clear.
The final track on the EP, “Clovid,” captures Hanks’ experience with a group of crows. It’s moody and dark, like the rest of the record, but manages to offer the slightest glimmer of hope.
This EP is a study in intelligent techno. It’s obvious that Hanks knows his influences well and can draw from them to produce clean, tight tracks that add a new narrative to techno, especially on the local scene.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 209.