On last year's Bless, Warren Harris angled his return as Hanna as a reconnection with his production roots. The album did contain a few stray prog-y fusion numbers, but it mostly had the familiar markings of his style: sweetly sung samples, warm Rhodes, loose percussion. In contrast, the first installment of the Perpetual Rhythms Welcomes Hanna EP series, which features four knobbly downtempo pieces, seems designed to surprise.
"Poom" sounds like an intro crafted to create atmosphere that might later be filled with four-on-the-floor rhythms, but it actually points to the record's general mood. The familiar pads and Rhodes are present, but their consonance is distorted by irregular percussion and uncharacteristically staccato bass. "Bucktown" is remarkable for its many understated melodies, but also because it contains a rare instance of rupture in Harris's music: a clipped rimshot that sounds like digital glitch.
"Bucktown" and "Wicker Park" bleed into each other, the soft chords of the former echoed in the stabs of the latter. "Wicker Park" also features one of the more unusual Hanna basslines—three slowly churning notes without a hint of legato or slap. "Nuance" is the most propulsive of the bunch, but it's still a far cry from the absolute serenity Harris has pursued on earlier recordings. With any luck, these tracks herald more unexpected music.
B1 Wicker Park