The Enlightenment Machine
In case you haven't spotted her yet, there's a nun walking around the streets of Berlin, a nun in search of enlightenment. Running his own phone sex line, Khan was a male hustler on 1-900 Get-Khan (Matador); he was a torch singer/gothic bunny on Who Never Rests (Tomlab); he was part of the Last Standing Disco Band -- Captain Comatose (Playhouse) -- circumnavigating the planet, then taking off into outer space, and now he's back as a bearded urban nun, dropping his latest album on the Berlin-based Album Label. The songs Khan recorded for The Enlightenment Machine tell intricate stories about various topics, ranging from ethics gone astray to gender-swapping, at times even offering cheap pearls of wisdom (that ultimately ring true nonetheless). Inspired by Brion Gysin's Dream Machine, The Enlightenment Machine is an album that, much like the perpetual spinning of Gysin's turntable-based device, like a helix in constant motion, keeps on drilling and working its way into the future. Based on a series of siren grooves, Khan intersperses the new tracks with dense layers of dub reverb, live percussion, lots of (sub)bass and some spectral-sounding cello recordings (contributed by Julia Kent from NYC). Once put in motion, The Enlightenment Machine works just like Gysin's Dream Machine: all you need to do is sit down in front of it, close your eyes and get illuminated. It's a simple procedure that also works for larger groups. A restless vagabond and troubadour who's currently based in Berlin, Khan's Enlightenment Machine is the second full-length release by the Album Label, a new imprint under the roof of Random Noize Musick, a renowned independent music publisher (e.g. Apparat, Oval, Raz Ohara, Phon.o) and label network comprised of various Berlin-based heavyweights including Shitkatapult. Following hot on the heels of Raz Ohara's Moksha album, Album Label's debut release, The Enlightenment Machine was created in a similar vein and thus underlines what this new label is all about: to release open-minded-yet-coherent-sounding full-length albums that are novel-like in scope, rough around the edges, scattered with ideas and recorded with passion. Recorded in this vein, both Ohara's and Khan's albums blur the boundaries between machine and emotion, instrument and human voice, song and track.