I’m listening to the very first track of ‘The Cookbook’, and I think to myself, “This is great, I’m hooked.” I was caught in the first few seconds by the intro of the very first song. I got that excited feeling in my stomach, like butterflies before an awesome party, and I couldn’t wait to hear what happened next.
Secret Recipe is the new alias of Oakland based producer Benji Hannus, formerly known as Intellitard. The new name has a fresh new appeal, and so does the music. ‘The Cookbook’ shows us a different side of Benji’s musical style. It’s matured, refined, and full of surprise. There is a noticeable urban influence that lives harmoniously along side a controlled mastery of glitch leads and surprising vocal samples. Benji is no stranger to the weird bass, and some of the style he established as Intellitard still shines through as Secret Recipe. However, the tracks on ‘The Cookbook’ feel like the next level for Benji.
I really love the new directions he’s taking his style as Secret Recipe and this release is definitively a pivotal album in Benji’s career as a musician. Every artist has a points in their musical development when their style matures and levels up. ‘The Cookbook’ marks one of those occasions for Benji. This release is truly outstanding among his body of work.
I listen to a lot of music as writer for All The Machines, and in a world of short releases, a 12 track album seems like a chore to review at first glance. However, I was delighted to find that wasn’t the case at all with ‘The Cookbook’. In fact, my favorite tracks are in the later half of the album where the songs occasionally drift into future bass territory or darker slow-mo vibes. The Clozee remix at the end is a stellar reward for the time spent with “The Cookbook”. Despite finding I liked the second half the album best, I can’t recommend you skip the beginning of “The Cookbook” because the album has a wonderful journey to take you on, and it really needs to be experienced as a whole.
I give “The Cookbook” 4 stars, because it’s a wonderful evolution for Benji as a musician and the technical side of the production is improved as well. Ultimately “The Cookbook” feels damn good to listen to. This album is a great debut of Benji’s new endeavors as Secret Recipe, and not only does it leave me wanting to listen again, it leaves me wanting more in the best possible way.
Get ‘The Cookbook’ on bandcamp, for pay what you like