Album Review: Khan – “Monsoons” 8/10 (Stoner/Prog)

Written by Dune from Canyon

KhanMonsoons
Stoner/prog/psych from Melbourne, Australia
Released December 11th, 2020
8/10

Here I am, fumbling through the digital ether of Spotify again. Another day at work, another familiar album, another podcast. Tap, skip, scroll, skip, scroll. Then my little eye spies a dreary sky, with, wait, what is that? A melting planet amongst the clouds? Yup, sign me up. Tap. I’m instantly rewarded with a rubbery, chubby bass line sliding around under a shuffling drum groove. You got me guys. In chimes the guitar. I’ve found a chill place to let my mind float off through the planetary clouds while the rest of me does whatever earthly chores I’m stuck with.

Spotify

Khan are a 3 piece from Melbourne, Australia. The band formed in 2016 after Beau (drums) and Josh (guitar) moved over from Adelaide and recruited their mate Mitch on the bass. Although their influences are broad, Khan try not to let any one or two bands influence their music too heavily.  For me listening, some of the main influences would have be Tool, Soundgarden, Cog, Elder, John Frusciante (RHCP) and Karnivool.

Khan told me “Since recording our previous album ‘Vale’ we had a few jams and ideas that worked well together but didn’t quite fit stylistically with the follow up album, so we worked on them a bit more and decided to release them as a separate, shorter, instrumental album.”

This was a really adventurous idea for a band to try and I love that they kept it instrumental. Although, I’m not usually a fan of instrumental stuff, these guys have really nailed it here. The EP clocks in and out at 31 mins, a perfect length for a shorter commute or perhaps just my attention span.

Artwork by Reza Afshar

NOMAD – The aforementioned chubby bassline sets the tone for a sleepy intro. Like steam slowly rising after a random shower on a hot road this song grows as it pulls you deep into its unerring groove.

ORB – This intro riff is a perfect mix of Tool and Mastodon’s stylings and has a flow that moves really well, then drifts off into a celestial cathedral of crystal clean clarity. Fuzz shatters the scene and blisters through a sweet solo, great influence and execution of John Frusciante style leads but expertly fused with this heavy psychy/stoner vibe. The rise and fall of light and dark moods in this piece is really hypnotic.

The songs all have a dreamy presence which kept me fairly relaxed at each listen and I never lost interest. Josh (guitar) does a lot of work here showing us the differing facets within each piece through use of lead lines, texture and some great wah work worthily conjuring Frusicante. Fucking excellent playing all around!

Meanwhile, supreme discipline and support is consistently demonstrated by Beau and Mitch, they groove as one, sublimely transparent for the most part, intentionally exploding forward whenever deemed necessary to really lift the dynamic. I’m so keeping my eyes and ears on what Khan get up to in the next few years. There is amazing talent here in Australia! To top it off all the music was recorded at Josh’s home studio by the band and has been mixed and mastered by Josh. It sounds especially lush through a good pair of headphones if you really want to transport yourself somewhere else for just a bit.

HARBINGER –  The smooth rolling drums and hairy bass lumber through a forest in my mind, moving casually like Sasquatch on a morning walk through the trees. Cascading high note melodies from the guitar allude to tiny droplets of dew reflecting rays of light that cut through the trees in this sun soaked forest of the mind. Uh, did I mention that this music takes you places? Go there.

MONSOONS – An odd time shuffle lays the foundation for Khan to experiment on this ambitious 9+ minute vibe builder. Layering lots of different sounds and effects throughout this song (and EP) Khan really explore the realms of sound within their grasp as a trio. This piece has what feels like 3 different songs within it, each reaching its own climax and linked together with some beautifully dynamic ethereal chords. A perfect closer as well. Once again treat yourself to this with some good headphones or stereo setup.

Album artwork by Reza Afsharr compliments the music well, setting an ethereal,  otherworldly scene. This doesn’t appear to be out on Vinyl yet but is available digitally and as a CD through https://khanofficial.bandcamp.com/ for only $15.

I like how much experimenting Khan have done here. It was a bold move also to omit the vocals but, man, they really pulled it off. This EP has well and truly made a fan out of me and I can’t wait to see how they incorporate the things they have learned making this, into the next release. Monsoons is good one to chuck on as a wind down later on at night or as a bit of a slow start on a hangover day. Though it shouldn’t be limited to those times.

Follow these guys on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/khanbandofficial/ to keep up to date with shows and as a bonus they have a ton of live video covers they do. Keep supporting local bands during this time and even if you can’t afford to buy anything artist are creating, you can always reach out on social media and let them know you dig what they are creating. It really goes a long way. Stay safe people.

8/10


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