The Wrath of Khan: UK Pop Warped Through the Dhaka Lens
Khan’s gone a UK electro-pop route over the past week, reworking tunes from Sam Smith – best known for his vocals on Disclosure’s breakout hit, Latch – and the Sharna Bass featuring Extraordinary, by Clean Bandit.
Both of these tunes represent significant departures from the moods of the original tunes Khan has selected. He’s ramped up Smith’s acoustic ballad, taking I Told You Now into straight ahead sexy house territory. Fan’s of Latch are likely to find more to like in Khan’s remix than in the Smith original, and the laid-back housey vibes surpass some of the less compelling official Sam Smith remixes, like Armen Van Helden’s paint-by-numbers entry for I’m Not The Only One.
We’re slightly less enthusiastic about Khan’s Clean Bandit remix. Clean Bandit, halfway between a band and a gimmick, combines electronic production with live incorporation of western classical compositions and guest vocalists for each track. So in a sense, it’s more apt to say that Khan has remixed the featured vocalist, Sharna Bass.
Which is a shame. Her vocals are entirely adequate, but are stuck in the generic R&B inflected pop rut that’s unfortunately trending on both sides of the Atlantic. To his credit, Khan reimagines them through a much more melancholy lens, sampling from the acoustic intro to the song rather than from its more dance-floor driven middle section.
And it’s not that we dislike Khan’s trap-influenced drum programming. It works. But 2015 is creeping up on us, and it’s beginning to feel like it might be time to retire that style of drum programming for a short breather. The highlight of the track, however, comes with Khan’s chopping and pitch shifting of Sharna Bass’ vocals, routing his trap influenced electro pop requiem through the abstract future garage territory that we’ve come to love from Bombay’s Sandunes.
written by Kerry Harwin