Hanni El Khatib decided to throw away all his past experience for Savage Times, forcing himself to explore new instruments and new ways of working. In other words, this is genuinely experimental music. After stacks of studio discovery, these are the finest 19 tracks from the sessions, presented on CD or as a triple 10” box-set. Out on Innovative Leisure.
- LP box set £44.99
- Sold out.
- Shipping cost: n/a
- NormanPoints: n/a
- IL2040V / Limited indies only 3x10" set on Innovative Leisure, housed in custom hardcover booklet
- Includes download code
8/10 Robin Staff review, 16 February 2017
Man, I wanted to be an asshole and start this review all “here is a garage rock man doing the thing with the chords and the bouncy drums and the overuse of the word baby”, but Hanni El Khatib is only half that guy. Here, he follows up the pacey ‘Moonlight’ with a record of stirring dichotomies, landing his straight-up rock ‘n’ roll action with an eruptive, weirdo experimental style that suggests he’s far away from the cool guy Poochie I always assumed.
At times, there’s a breeziness to this record that feels totally incidental, El Khatib sorta moving between certain grooves with little sideways remarks. On “Gonna Die Alone” he functions over an excellent back ‘n’ forth bass line, basically iterating the title over and over again with little concern for its implications. “Paralyzed” has hooting harmonies over sparkly glockenspiel and a guitar style that ‘RAM’-era Daft Punk would happily champion.
At other moments, though, interspersed through the record with no due consideration for sequencing, El Khatib suggests a totally different side, He’s furious, noisy, and personal, screaming his way through “Born Brown”, a song about growing up in the USA as a first-generation American with parents who came over. He screams about their sacrifices over dissonant synth whirrs, torrid beats that ripple their discontent higher and higher. “Come Down” is an ominous experimental offshoot, its finger-clicks and sleuthing groove matched with a chiming ambience and bumbling synth before becoming a chirpy good time. “Gun Clap Hero” uses string swells and a telegram-like alarm to dramatically and panoramically stylize his sound into something far, far different from its norm.
This record is shooting off in directions -- that it sounds this slick at times is revealing, but El Khatib’s lyrics are freshly political, his music newly enfranchised and his melodies estranged from a bluesy garage sound once known. Worth your time and head scratches.
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- Savage Times by Hanni El Khatib
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