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Kahn – Like We Used To review

Coming soon after the Worth The Weight: Bristol Dubstep Classics compilation, new Punch Drunk signing Kahn, aka 22-year old Joe McGann, makes his debut on Peverelist’s home grown imprint. Those who attend one of the young DJ’s gigs in Bristol may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of his old man sipping fine red wine in the corner (you do the math). Marking the 21st release for the Bristol based label, it’s an important moment for Punch Drunk as they change course and guide us through a rather different musical landscape. Soulful R&B vocals collide with slow, slouchy tempos here as Kahn borrows from the contemporary melting pot of house, techno and dubstep and sincerely impresses us in the process.

“Like We Used To” starts with a gorgeous, warm, warping synth line, clipped, snarling beats and lustrous vocals, which are chopped up and rearranged James Blake style, murmuring “mmm, hmmm…” in a gloriously enticing fashion, not dissimilar to the ubiquitous 2010 anthem “CMYK”. Continuing on, delicate drums are paired with rolling subs, at times rather reminiscent of Scuba’s “Three Sided Shape”, and perhaps more strikingly of Sepalcure’s recently released Fleur EP (the title track and “Your Love” especially). The mellifluous melodies Kahn carves out here are at once charming and compelling.

This is not to undermine “Helter Skelter”, of course, which is an equally impressive slice of musical sunshine over on the flipside. Here, colourful swathes of synths – like a more chilled out Night Slugs release – dance mischievously around deep, dubbed out bass, whilst tense synth chords simply bristling with energy pepper the piece. Expect big things from Kahn in the future.

Belinda Rowse