Passport (Matador)

It's romantic to love the perennial rogue, and for that reason, Khan's (Can Oral) compendium Passport may tickle many an electronic music neophyte. Having spent the last decade or so releasing timely if not temporal dance music on labels all across the globe and under a flock of guises, Khan has issued the best of his vinyl back catalog on Passport -- and in so doing, illustrates that bucking the trend is perilous business. Khan tries to work out various dance music styles from the fringe -- which, while noble in theory, doesn't always pan out in practice. When he works with Julee Cruise (known for her vocal work on the Twin Peaks theme song) on "Body Dump," his patent German minimal techno approach spins wildly out of control -- the song is a morass of plucky bass in a key at odds with Cruise's mousy crooning.

However, his singularly penned "Middle Eastern Cooking," which functions on many of the same stripped-down principles as "Body Dump," comes across as a relaxed dance-floor stormer. Perhaps his tenure in New York City, where he runs the Super-8, El Turco Loco, and Temple labels, as well as the Temple Records music shop, is to blame -- with such a collusion of artists and influences, anyone can get sidetracked. Or maybe it's that he's tried too hard over the years to play with emerging styles instead of finding his own. When he sticks to the crisp beat work found on Global Electronic Network's "Time Square-No Time" or the unrelenting 303 trance throb on Mass-turbator's "I Put a Smile on Your Face," Khan cuts a convincing groove that makes Passport seem worth the cash. But damn it if his forced excursions into Folk Implosion hip-hop on Black Sabbath Riot's "Suck Blood" and garage punk on Psi-Project's "We're Fuckt in the Head" aren't going to give people a wrong impression of what electronic music's all about.

More by Heath K. Hignight


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