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can oral / khan oral: captain comatose, el turco loco, bizz o.d., 4e, gizz tv, etc

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can oral / khan oral: captain comatose, el turco loco, bizz o.d., 4e, gizz tv, etc
little nobody
takeshi kitano: takeshis' review
luke vibert
from dada to disco - a (brief) history of electronic music
if? records
yoko umehara - art
mamoru oshii - ghost in the shell/innocence
reinhard voigt - kompakt
autechre
joey beltram, live @ womb, tokyo
album of the year (2005): jamie lidell "multiply", warp
si begg - noodles
fumiya tanaka
andrew weatherall
goldie - metalheadz
coldcut & ninja tune
nightmares on wax
gene farris - 2006
captain funk / oe
tigger vs. andrez
tobita-san... the yoda of j-english
zen paradox
george w. bush
top 10 aussie electronic artists (from the past decade) to investigate...
keitai kouture
jeff mills
juan atkins
king britt
cabaret voltaire
orde miekle - slam
speedy j - 1998
damon wild
hmc, cinnaman, dirty house & juice records
martin damm: biochip c, subsonic 808 & steel
the advent
milkcrate man sightings
de-vice's gratuitous top 10 lists for no reason whatsoever
some interestingly diverting links
makeshift archive: neural imp
'zeitgeist': a whole world full of (scary) other uses

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interview done via mail in november 2005

Khan Oral, a.k.a. Can Oral, has been one of the more charismatic pioneers of electronica over the past 15-odd years; he's also disarmingly enigmatic & cool and one of this magazine's fave producers.
A German by birth to Turkish immigrant parents, Khan has lived at various stages in Cologne, Berlin, New York City and Mexico City.
Along the way, he's bamboozled people with a wide variety of musical aliases and styles, from the more Detroit-style acid/electro of Bizz O.D. a decade back, to his contemporary philanderings as just plain Khan.
Oh yeah, and he happens to be brother to Cem Oral - a.k.a. Jammin' Unit, and formerly one half of Air Liquide.
Read on for all the goss and the world according to Khanski...

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captain comatose

KHAN: Hey andrezzz, here we go...


ANDREZ: Which name do you prefer - Khan or Can? And what's the difference?


KHAN: OK, long story. My real name is Can which is Turkish for life or soul. The thing inside you that makes or keeps you alive. So moving to New York everybody was calling me John because it is pronounced almost the same way. Only pro's hear the difference. I didn't feel like being Jonathan so it mutated to Khan. Actually I was only pronouncing my name Khan. The spelling the way it is today came from Direct Drive Records out of Brooklyn. I did one of my first records on that Label. Adam X and Heather Heart signed me and put out the 12-inch "And More" E.P.


ANDREZ: You started out in bands, yet moved on to make electronic music. So why'd you decide to make the switch...?


KHAN: As you can see today almost everybody is mixing media, and I really appreciate that attitude. It took quite some time before people accepted the mixing board and the studio in general as a musical instrument. Now the computer is accepted as well in this gallery.
There are many interesting aspects in this evolution, like the computer is getting more human and the human is getting more and more computerized or robotic. Techno is getting sweatier and rock is getting colder.


ANDREZ: Diamanda Galas suggested that you are "very disturbed" ...what do you think of that appraisal?


KHAN: She's damn right, but it is not the confusion that stops you doing things, it is the confusion of finding your own ways with dealing with people, culture, art and such sort of things. It is a jazz attitude. I want my own sound and my own musical universe, but I need to connect my world to the rest of you guys to be able to survive. That's the challenge I like.


ANDREZ: On another level, Kid Congo Powers said you have a great ass, Alec Empire declared that you're a genius, and vocalist Julee Cruise insisted that her dog thinks you make devil's music. Your thoughts on these diverse opinions?


KHAN: Well, first of all I have to say I have pretty hip and cool friends, right ? And second of all - it is all true!


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khan

ANDREZ: Over the years you've released muzak (sometimes with accomplices) under a huge variety of names like 4E, Bizz O.D., Gizz TV, Khan, El Turco Loco, Captain Comatose, H.E.A.D., Super-8, Global Electronic Network, blah-blah-blah. So... what aliases are you currently using for music, and how do they differ?


KHAN: I was getting confused myself about all the names and releases, so I decided to concentrate on Khan and Captain Comatose - C.C. because I moved to Berlin after living in New York City for more than 10 years, and that was supposed to be my/our income. I'm currently working on new Khan solo material after a long time. But with Khan stuff I really need to have this feeling of wanting to say something. It has to be filled with meaning to me, and that is important to me more than ever.
I was thinking about doing some kind of a Bizz O.D. revival. I was recording with Alex Kowalski, and he's a Bizz O.D. fan, so we were thinking about doing something together. Let's see. It's all in the stars.


ANDREZ: So what's the integral Khan/Can Oral soundscape in 2005?


KHAN: 2005 is almost over! ...a dying toad, Swan Lake style...?



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ANDREZ: How would you say that your basic sound (and musical ideology) has changed over the past decade?


KHAN: I'm not sure if it has changed that much. I'm very analytic and always try to come up with something that our time, or new music, needs.
Like when I did the first El Turco Loco record "Bolero". I was getting fed up with all these remixes that came out left and right. Every old rock hag had to be remixed in a Drum & Bass mix. So I thought, what ever happened to a REMIX...? - meaning to take the original recording and make it sound different through the possibilities of a studio? Without putting my own opinions and styles into the musical material - at least in a compositional way. Know what I mean?
So I came up with a remix machine. A couple of rather strange machines connected to each other where I would play the Bolero through, and the mix
that came out you can hear on El Turco Loco 001. I premiered the remix machine at Robot Wars in San Francisco in 1997 or '98.
Then, with "1-900 GET KHAN" I wanted to open electronic music to a bigger instrumentation and added guitars, live drums, field recordings and vocals!
With "No Comprendo" I made a rock record with some of the best singers I know to bring song structures into techno and house.
I think a lot of people followed me in both moves.


ANDREZ: What upcoming releases can we expect from you, and what's the current situation with your record labels?


KHAN: I'm working on several things at the moment but my main focus is on a new Khan solo album. Other than that I almost finished another "Little Annie & the legally Jammin'" album. Captain Comatose is not recording at the moment, but I did some new tranny-disco stuff with Kid Congo Powers (the almighty!). We did a Kid&Khan album for Trans Solar Records, called "Bad English". He's on tour right now promoting his band album "Philosophy & Underwear". Check it out!
Then I will re-launch El Turco Loco Records in early 2006 with a different series of LPs and CD box-sets. It will be four different artists putting out vinyl LPs, and at the end of every series will be a double-CD with all four of them on it. That's why I call it a box-set. I'm also planning a series of radio plays in the same manner.
The whole thing is very much an art project of mine. So expect very interesting stuff, but be quick, 'cause the vinyl will be very, very limited!
By the way, the best label name I ever heard was "Artist Throwing Money Out Of The Window Records"...

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ANDREZ: Cologne was a pretty crazy place for music in the 1990s, what with people like yourself, your brother Cem, Ingmar Koch (Walker), Jorg Burger, Wolfgang and Reinhard Voigt, etc, etc. Why do you think that the city was so conducive to electronica during that era?


KHAN: It was everywhere, all over Germany. Frankfurt, which is one of the most important electronic music cities now, was strong back then, but more
into industrial or trance. Cologne was always acid and Detroit techno but wanting to be independent from overseas and come up with their own German version. They did!
Berlin was and is always fresh in electronic music, and producers in Germany
and everywhere come from the smallest places. It is a global thing, no doubt!


ANDREZ: How would you rate the city now?


KHAN: The name "The Sound Of Cologne" leaves a lot of interesting music and talent behind. If you don't fit in, you get lost quite easily. The music scene is really big there, and people work in very different fields so I don't like to capitalize on one sound. Too much good stuff gets left behind.


ANDREZ: When did you move to Mexico? Whereabouts in that country? And why...?


KHAN: I lived the last three winters of my NYC stay in Mexico City - my city, I
love her so much! '99, 2000 and 2001. I had a good friend who would give me his beautiful apartment in the winters cuz he was meditating in Thailand. I stayed each year for three or four months.
The first time I went to Mexico D.F., I completely fell in love. I felt home there, so I came back and learned to love the people as well. Literally! I feel a deep affection to Latin America. I got my theories, but that would be too much now...


ANDREZ: Did you ever feel like an outsider in the culture there, and is that an important thing for you to experience?


KHAN: I'm kinda used to it. I mean I get a lot of attention in Mexico for example because of my height and looks, which is nice, but that feeling tells you at the same time that you'll never be one of them. I'm blond for Mexicans. In Germany they would consider me brown to dark brown hair. Growing up in Germany with non-German parents was like that too. You
have to find your own identity, which is not so easy - but you have to learn to be comfortable with your life.


ANDREZ: Cologne - New York - Mexico... what are the essential differences?


KHAN: Don't forget Berlin. I've been in Berlin now for 3.5 years. New York is the capital of kapitalism, so that lifestyle is something you need to be able to manage. It bored me after a while, as you realize that everything is about numbers. I mean I would record an album knowing it will not interest more than 500 people on this planet, but that was the whole point. This concept doesn't fly in the 'States. They wanna see either numbers in sales or in price, meaning how expensive can you go.
There are certain things in my art that you're not supposed to translate into numbers and I'm proud of that. Berlin is the opposite. It is a cheap lifestyle, and there are a lot of artists living there who don't make any money but that doesn't mean you're a loser like in the 'States. Cologne is cursed, and Mexico is so far away for me nowadays. I miss it!

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ANDREZ: Over the years you've of course worked quite extensively with your brother Cem [Jammin' Unit], and with Ingmar [ Dr. Walker] - what're those two guys up to these days?


KHAN: Well, they had a falling out about six months ago and split up as Air
Liquide. I don't think they have talked since. Cem - a.k.a. Jammin' Unit
(www.jamminunit.de) - lives in Berlin as well, so we have lots of contact. We are planning a studio together. Walker has a hotel now in Crete where he is
breeding some Brasilian monster dogs (www.monte-christo-crete.com)...


ANDREZ: You've switched on your stereo, and you're reaching for a CD to soundtrack this moment, right now. Which one is it - and why?


KHAN: It's Jendreiko's "Plastic Universe", which will be the new El Turco Loco
Records 001. It is a mix of electronic and acoustic free jazz ambient symphony rock. It is traditional, but at the same time breaking all rules. Fantastic record! I'm up for big emotions at the moment.


ANDREZ: What's the most positive future direction for electronic music?


KHAN: There are no positive directions. It will all end in big chaos!


ANDREZ: ...and that's it...! Thanks so much fer yer time and effort on this one, Khan!


KHAN: It was a great plesure my friend. Let me know if you have any further
questions. For bio and stuff check (www.captaincomatose.com) for pix just
mail me.
Stay in touch and say hi to the familia !!

Love,
Khanski

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