Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Hear This 

Khan pits outsider electronica against trash 'n' roll

Wednesday, Aug 22 2001
Khan (né Can Oral) has more aliases on his résumé than most musicians have releases -- even those who been recording for as long as Khan has. Over the past dozen years, the frighteningly prodigious young man of Finnish and Turkish descent has gone by H.E.A.D, 4E, Bizz OD, El Turco Loco, Mass-Turbator, and many more blink-and-you'll-miss-'em names. After coming up in Cologne, Germany's fertile acid techno scene of the late '80s, Khan relocated to New York in 1992 and opened Temple Records, one of the finest vinyl purveyors in a city teeming with techno.

Possibly driven by his lewd given name, Khan's records tend toward the lascivious. His 1999 album, 1-900-GET-KHAN, featured a host of hunky gay porn studs on the cover, while the title advertised an actual phone-sex number (at $2.99 a minute, a darn sight spendier than the CD itself). Far more than an attention-grabbing gimmick, though, the electro-wrecked album -- featuring Twin Peaks soundtrack diva Julee Cruise and phone-sex celebrity Bree McMasters -- was a beacon for freaks and a memorial to New York's disappearing deviant underground.

As you might guess, Khan embraces outsiderism. (His latest experience of otherness has been a nomadic foray into Mexico, living among people he can't understand.) It's fitting that his new release, No Comprendo, features two cocks fighting on the cover (get it?) and explores life on the peripheries of genre. Khan may have begun his career making techno of all stripes, but No Comprendo is basically a rock 'n' roll record -- psych blues trash 'n' roll to be precise. Featuring the raucous vocals of indie kingpin Jon Spencer, Detroit bluesman Andre Williams, and Kid Congo Powers of the Cramps and Bad Seeds, the content is bound to alienate electronic music listeners, while the form -- lolling keyboard and drum machine backing -- is likely to piss off rockheads. So Khan's San Francisco performance this Thursday should be something to see. Will bottles fly through the air? Condoms? Twin Peaks paraphernalia? Just remember that this is the artist who released Black Sabbath Riot, a bootleg of a melee that broke out at a 1980 Sabbath gig. So be forewarned: From the sounds of things, El Turco Loco's been sharpening his claws. This cockfight could get interesting.

About The Author

Philip Sherburne


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"