by Griff Stevens
Ben Khan is a 21-year-old London artist that created a handful of catchy minimalist funk songs and racked up more than two million SoundCloud plays in the last nine months. The grooves are inspired by J Dilla and B.B. King blues. The music is catchy modern pop with a subtle edge. Khan’s highly anticipated debut album, Ben Khan, is due for release on August 10th, 2018. The album was produced alongside legendary PJ Harvey Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails collaborator Flood, mixed by Spike Stent (Björk, Frank Ocean) and mastered by Dave Cooley (J Dilla, M83), with Khan playing every instrument on the record. The fifteen tracks are a blend of pop, funk, and R&B, but done in Khan’s futuristic electronics-soaked grooves.
“2000 Angels” starts the album off with swirling synths and space sounds. The anticipation grows as the instruments and voices layer in. The layers grow until the beat comes in and establishes the pulse. Khan’s vocal style is subtle, he uses vocal harmonies and doubling to make his vocal lines big and full. The beat is certainly danceable, and his melodies are catchy. Khan’s songwriting is interesting, there is not a clear chorus, verse structure, but the songs melodies and groove capture the ear all the same.
Khan keeps the diversity and groove coming with “ruby.” The tune again relies on swirling synth sounds and bass lines, but on this track electric guitar is added to good effect. The slow groove allows Khan to dig into the rhythm of the melody to create a clear pulse that is very catchy. He shows his wide vocal range with low register singing all the way to high falsetto parts. His vocal harmonies are always subtle and building. The layers of parts and various instruments float in and out as the groove develops over time.
Ben Khan’s debut self-titled release demonstrates why he has exploded onto the music scene with his hip grooves, catchy melodies, and diverse singing. Over the course of the fifteen songs, we get to hear different sides of things Khan’s songwriting and singing. All are enjoyable perceptions of life and this is the type of music you can always find richness and depth in upon each listen as you enjoy the album’s story and vibe.
Tracks to sample first: “2000 Angels,” “ruby,” and “soul into the sun.” The song to take a chance on is “fool 4 you.”
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