2017 marks the 20th Anniversary of Shitkatapult, a German label co-founded by electro-pop pioneer Marco Haas alongside Sacha Ring, perhaps better known as Apperat. Exploring different aspects of both electronic and instrumental music, the label has attracted interest over the years for its eccentric fusion of popular and alternative styles, from ‘synthier’ pop tunes reminiscent of the 1980s to harder Techno and IDM. Its character is reflected in the sizeable repertoire of German-based trio Kahn of Finland’s frontman, suggestively-named Can Oral. Both a vocalist and guitarist as well as a producer, his latest album, ‘Nicht nur Sex’ straddles the boundary between electronic and instrumental music, shedding light on that universally-known convergence point between themes of consumerism, physical and emotional attraction: the ‘in-between,’ of sexuality.
An experiment in musical diversity, the album epitomises the multilingual, cosmopolitan soundscape of Berlin that has played host to Kahn’s events in the past. A host of guest artists including Mexican rapper Alemán, Icelandic producer Urður and the Tom Waits-esque ‘narrator,’ figure Joe Volume add enormous depth to Kahn’s already extensive musical influences. These alienated, displaced voices make regular appearances throughout the album, giving it a continuous, operatic feel – this is definitely an album designed to be listened to all the way through. Its eclecticism doesn’t stifle the album’s unmistakably German, campish sass however, although the groovier, more traditional instrumentals like ‘Khant Buy Love’ quickly descend into more subversively dubbed-out rhythms, that manage to somehow both be relaxing and disconcerting at the same time. Despite its predictable ‘anti-capitalist’ message, ‘H&M Freedom’ nicely plateaus the flow of things after the fiery Spanish-language rap of ‘Funky Dollar Bills’ for example. So much variety would be difficult to hold together for any musical ensemble, let alone one this bizarre, so credit lies at Kahn’s door for pulling off some sense of consistency, however ponderous and slow its dub-like elements may eventually feel. Kahn’s project feels succinct and coherent.
‘Nicht nur sex’ is more than a title. A cry from the artist himself taken from gay internet forum, ‘Gayromeo’ stays fixed in your mind as you make your way through the album. A nod to the LBGT community with its diversity of lifestyles, identities and preferences, the phrase reverberates through each track. With titles like ‘Hold me Tender’ ‘Should I Give You Up’ or ’Khant Buy Me Love’, Khan is teasing at a dilemma blighting modern identities: that of expressing culture through a sexual aesthetic, exploring the relationship between sex and sexuality.
The album is out now - released by Shitkatapult Germany on CD.
By Alex Davidson | Loose Lips
01 // ALLEY CAT SAID (feat. Joe Volume)
02 // KHANT BUY ME LOVE
03 // TO THE LIMIT
04 // FUNKY DOLLAR BILL (feat. Urður & Alemán)
05 // SHOULD I GIVE YOU UP? (feat. Urður)
06 // H&M FREEDOM
07 // HOLD ME TENDER (feat. Urður)
08 // NADA
09 // VOODOO ME
10 // HUNDRED MILES