Praga Khan - MindGames
Maurice Engelen started in Belgium as a DJ. He might be the biggest name in electronic music that you think you’ve never heard. Going back to the 1980s, he’s been involved with over forty projects including 101, Channel X, Code Red, and Digital Orgasm. He teamed up with Oliver Adams in The Immortals and created the Mortal Combat soundtrack in 1994. He’s best known for forming Lords of Acid. However, he’s had a recording career under the name Praga Khan for decades.
After playing its own set of mind games with a change of album titles and an over two year delay, "MindGames" has arrived. As Khan’s latest work it continues to show both his roots and his evolution as an artist. An upbeat, catchy opener “MindGames” is probably the album’s strongest song. “The World Is Out of Control” is a dancefloor banger. “Down I Go” is a little lighter. The jumpy “Like a Train” raises the energy back up. “The Magic That Surrounds You” follows suit. Khan lends some lighter vocals to the smoldering “I Burn Your Skin.” “You Can’t Stop Me Now” is a futuristic-sounding anthem. “A Strange Concept—Life” is another upbeat track.
This is the point at which a lot of album starts winding down, but MindGames keeps the quality coming. “Absurdistan” begins with a cool, laidback groove before breaking into a symphony and wailing vocals around the 2:30 mark. Kind of “Kashmir.” The bouncy “Heal My Soul” sounds like New Wave. Closer “The Prophecy” brings us back to right now in terms of both sound and society with its lines “Have you heard about the prophecy? / The destruction of democracy / Did you notice that the world’s on fire?” It’s a strong finish that could open a lot of other people’s albums. Ultimately, there are no radical swerves and no failed experiments. MindGames is a very consistent album with no filler tracks.
Praga Khan’s catalog is spread over a number of labels. The current record is available only on his website with the offer to have it signed by Praga Khan. My copy arrived signed by him so that offer seems to still be good (a second signed 6 inch by 4 inch promotional photo also came with it, which was a nice surprise). If you are a super fan, you might investigate the upcoming Khanthology box set of studio work and bonus tracks contained on nine CDs. If you need to build up to that, try the late 1990s and early 2000s albums consisting of Pragamatic, Twenty First Century Skin, Mutant Funk, and Freakazoidz along with MindGames.
You’ve heard Praga Khan in some capacity. Now go hear more.Mar 12 2018
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