Bristol’s Joseph McGann, better known under his moniker Kahn, has an outstanding body of work to support his name to say the least. His debut was released on Peverelist’s ever strong Punch Drunk imprint in February this year and overwhelmed us all with its two tracks “Helter Skelter”, a rich and radiant track with hints of halfstep attached to it, and “Like We Used To”, affluent in both melodious sub and sonorous vocal samples. His output proceeded this with a number of quality remixes such as his official remix for the late Poly Styrene’s “Black Christmas” and his remix of Superisk’s smooth Final Fantasy VIII themed anthem “Find Your Way“. Another EP saw its release on Box Clever last month, in the extremely vibrant “Way Mi Defend / Azalea” that carries an immense amount of weight in its two tracks, with “Azalea” being the highlight with a deep French film noir vocal sample to kick it off and a flawless combination of melodies and cadence to follow it.
This week marks the release of Kahn’s latest and highly anticipated work, “Illy/Tehran” back on Punch Drunk Records again. Both tracks are equally consistent and impressively successful in setting exactly the mood that they strive for, though they are rather different in nature and almost polar opposite in their atmospheres. “Illy” is an uplifting and enthralling harmony of a hard-hitting beat combined with freely used vocoders on its vocals, and is somewhat reminiscent of the more “purple” vibes that his labelmate Superisk goes for. On the flipside, “Tehran” might be the most compelling piece of music that Kahn has ever done, with its syncopated rhythm and its charged vocal samples right from the start. Though Kahn’s strong influences from Middle Eastern music could always be drawn from his use of melody that always tends to move towards the Arabic maqam, it’s never shown its colours quite like on this track, with not just the melody pointing east but also its entire use of instruments and emotions embedded within the vocal samples. This is one release we won’t be forgetting about anytime soon.
Kahn’s “Illy/Tehran” is out now on Punch Drunk Records.