Ben Khan is a synth-heavy debut worth listening to.
Ben Khan’s debut album rollout was filled with cryptic messages and shaded announcements but, finally, it’s here. Khan, who’s drawn many comparisons to Jai Paul and his Paul Institute, utilizes a unique, show stopping sound that you just don’t hear very often. Ben Khan has an intentionally unfinished feel to it, like on “ruby1strecording”, which is literally just a shortened early version of another song on the album. His vocals are often whisper-like against the hard backdrop of the heavy bass he has extended throughout the vast majority of songs on the album, and it works — it all works.
The pounding sound of the drums on every track is almost overwhelming but without it the songs would sound somewhat parse with nothing but a pulsating synth to carry the rhythm. There aren’t many, if any, bangers on the album but there are quite a few we’d consider jams. Notably, Khan’s singles are the album’s high points through otherwise heavy yet minimalistic tracks. “the green”, “ruby”, and “a.t.w. (against the wall)” are all singles and standout tracks, for me at least. “monsoon daydream” is a gorgeous instrumental masterpiece and “waterfall” and “warriors rose” are an incredible one-two punch knockout to close out the album. On the other side of things, “our father” is an over-compressed and skippable mess of sound, so Ben Khan isn’t flawless, to say the least. For the most part the album sticks with the same consistent feeling and vibe throughout — so either you’ll really dig it or bail out halfway due to repetition.
In the end, Ben Khan’s self-titled debut is not on par with his counterpart Jai Paul’s own self titled debut (whether or not it was unfinished), but his production skills and style are undoubtedly worthy of comparison to one of the best producers in the world — I think that means something.