HANA’s ‘HANADRIEL’ is a sci-fi anime fantasy.



The cover of HANA’s second studio album, ‘HANADRIEL’.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

Over the past decade, American singer-songwriter and producer HANA has completely switched up the trajectory of her career.

She initially debuted in May 2008 under her birth name, Hana Pestle, with her self-titled debut EP followed by her debut album, The Way, in September 2009, and she would release another EP, For the Sky, in September 2011 before changing the direction of her career in 2013 upon meeting American electronic producer BloodPop.

Feeling dissatisfied with the music that she was making at the time, she took a two-year hiatus to learn music production, and in May 2015, she re-emerged as “HANA” with a new sound and image that starkly contrasted the acoustic, guitar-based style of her previous work.

Her new style was more dreamy and electronic-sounding, and after releasing her second self-titled EP, HANA, in March 2016, she’s slowly risen into a prominent figure on the underground pop music scene, especially after touring with Canadian singer-songwriter and producer Grimes throughout the rest of that year.

In mid-September, HANA announced that she would be live-streaming the making of her next album via Twitch over the course of the following four weeks, allowing fans to watch as she wrote, produced, and recorded the entire project in real-time. The stream concluded in late October, and HANA’s second studio album, HANADRIEL, was released in early November.

HANADRIEL is an evolution of the style that first appeared on HANA, adding elements of techno and nu-metal into the atmospheric sound of the record to create a fantastical musical experience.

The ethereal opening track, “Satellite”, establishes a spacey theme, with HANA comparing the feeling of being lost in the world to that of a satellite floating aimlessly through space, and this theme is furthered by tracks like “Black Orchid” and “ORCA” with their soft beats and fuzzy synths.

The incorporation of nu-metal manifests as “Anxious Alien” an angsty track about anxiety and feelings of inadequacy that HANA encourages the listener to “push aside” because while it may seem impossible at times, we can all overcome the negative voices in our heads.

An avid video game fan — HANA frequently streams herself playing various games on her Twitch account — she incorporates her love of video games into HANADRIEL through mellow instrumental tracks, like “Moonwell” and “HANADRIEL’s Theme”, that remind me of background music from fantasy role-playing games, such as The Elder Scrolls, giving the album the feel of an authentic video game soundtrack.

She’s also a fan of anime, which she references on the song “Cowgirl Bebop”, as the title is a play on that of Japanese sci-fi anime series Cowboy Bebop, and the album artwork features HANA in a purple armored bodysuit reminiscent of characters from classic mecha anime, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Voltron, adding to the anime-esque vibe.

With this incredible body of work, HANA has evolved into the ultimate sci-fi anime space goddess, and HANADRIEL is available now across all online and streaming platforms.

Stream HANADRIEL on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/4BlLJn9RjIJ9WufqeufTCU?si=Z1r_aVFdQxuFcratL5tYbQ 

Watch the music video for “Anxious Alien”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbKiidntSBU 

HANA in the music video for “Anxious Alien”.

This article was updated to include the “Anxious Alien” music video in March 2020.