I had a conversation today about how, because of the internet, there is this pressing need to be up-to-date on new music. If Jamie xx dropped a track three days ago, then that might as well have been three months ago, such is the sheer volume and frequency of releases out there, and the sense of duty to be in some way ahead of the curve. It is not necessarily something that this blog has ever been particularly swayed by, given my propensity to post here about three times a year and, on those sweet, rare occasions, to write about some entirely irrelevant album from ten years ago. Nonetheless, I feel strangely inclined to apologise for being behind the rest of the world when only posting about Ben Khan now, even though his debut EP, ‘1992’, isn’t even out yet.
Politely tight-lipped about his identity beyond what he thinks people need to know, Khan is an artist making music from a beautifully unique amalgamation of different genres. The songs are at times lush R&B with a sultry, soulful, bluesy undercurrent, but then there are glimmers of glitchy, removed, pretty electro shuddering through, with a sometimes almost Middle Eastern, ethereal vibe. His wonderful vocals are soft as a caress on top of it all; somehow coy yet knowingly seductive.
There is a crepuscular warmth to his tracks – a splash of something almost tropical in moments like the elephant-like sirens of trumpet bursting forth in ‘Eden’; a disarming darkness to the gentle, titillating sway of ‘Drive (Part I)’, with its pseudo-breathless vocals. ‘Savage’ pulsates with a heady, squelchy dance-y sound, though ultimately it does less for me than the rest of his demoes. ‘Youth’ slowly crescendoes from a subtle, refined quietness into a gorgeous, sunny piece of delight; all glorious, bouncing beats, saccharine sweet vocals and pretty little trills of synth.
Needless to say, the promise of Ben Khan is seeming a very exciting prospect on the basis of these sublime tracks. With his EP out on May 5th, now seems as good a time as any to acquaint yourselves with the reasons for the hype.