Joseph McGann is Kahn. He produces music that can be seen to straddle the line between grime and dubstep and is a member of upstart Bristol collective Young Echo, a group of six musicians, including Vessel, Jabu and Kowton, who send out irregular radio shows through their website. McGann cut his teeth in the SureSkank Convention where he DJ’d alongside other more experienced Bristol producers such as Neek and Gemmy.
The Young Echo collective were the subject of one of XLR8R’s Bubblin’ Up series at the beginning of this year and I have been following their production closely ever since, particularly Kahn. McGann is a producer who has kept the essence of what dubstep started out as before the Skrillex generation hijacked it, a wobbling bassline synth with jittering kicks and claps and an overall simplicity to a record.
With that in mind, last month Kahn dropped two tracks on the Black Box – Box Clever Soundcloud page: ‘Snake Eyes’ featuring the aforementioned Jabu and ‘Badman City’ featuring former Roll Deep member Flowdan, the latter of which is posted below.
‘Badman City’ incorporates the essence of the bass music that has been so prevalent in the Bristol underground scene for the last decade. “Mind how you’re talking; cos’ right now you’re walking on my side of the street” Flowdan warns at the start of the record and the song is immersed in this sense of territoriality, both Kahn and Flowdan are so comfortable in their surroundings that they both execute their respective parts with relative ease. Flowdan never seems stressed or even out of breath but it is Kahn’s production that accelerates this track from grime mediocrity to embodying the exciting times ahead for Bristol bass music. The drums only enter when necessary for accentuation and the track is built on a base of low, echoed bass synths occasionally interrupted by a sharp string section or chromatic vocal sample. He is so comfortable in his own surroundings that he doesn’t want to show you what he can do, it’s as if you’re on his turf and you don’t deserve to see his full abilities.
Kahn’s eponymous EP is out April 8th on BlackBox.