London producer and vocalist Ben Khan has shared the stunning video for his pulsating single “Ruby,” taken from his critically-acclaimed self-titled debut record. Directed and produced entirely by Khan himself, the visuals perfectly marry the album’s futuristic and science fiction themes to ruby’s gentle electronic beats and Khan’s own heavenly vocals.
Having exploded into view with the launch of his two previous EP’s 1992 and 1000, Ben Khan released his highly-anticipated debut via Dirty Hit this year. The album was produced alongside legendary PJ Harvey, Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails collaborator Flood, mixed by Spike Stent (Björk, Frank Ocean) and mastered by Dave Cooley (J Dilla, M83), with Ben playing every instrument on the record.
Ben Khan stays true to the old adage: good things do come to those who wait. After a near three year hiatus, critics have praised the record universally, with The Guardianpraising it as “a singular and rather fantastical vision” and Q lauding Khan’s “tighter sound, studded with wobbly, futuristic beats.” DIY called Ben Khan “a wildly inventive, varied, kaleidoscopic album” and The Line Of Best Fit summed up, saying quite simply “[it’s] a very special debut indeed.” Noisey described Khan as approaching “auteur-like”status in their long read feature – his first interview since stepping back into focus this year – setting the tone for an album driven by a singular vision and packed full of ingenuity.
Channeling the likes of Burial, Arthur Russell and S U R V I V E, it is an album whose overwhelming intricacies demand an attentive ear and repeat listens. “I like the idea,” muses Khan, “of having something be unintimidating and beautiful, but driven by anger, or driven by sadness.” He uses synthetic, computer-driven sounds to fulfil this desire, but weaves them with organic noises he recorded on a field mic. A year ago, he travelled to Kashmir, the home of his father (who works in textiles, and whose floral art inspired some of the album’s artwork), “and I just walked around and took sounds on my daily rituals, and tried to put that in there somehow, so it felt like a journey through places.” The result, he hopes, is a work of “magical realism.”
When he left Kashmir and went back into the studio, Khan brought his projector with him, and had films running silently as he worked – films like Ghost In The Shell, Blade Runner, Angel-A and Akira, whose themes and aesthetic found their way into the album’s DNA. Ben rounds off, “I think the point of an artist is to show people a different side of things, to take different perceptions of life and present them back to you. Hopefully, this album will take you out of your reality for a bit and take it to the start of a fantasy place.”