Hanni El Khatib Flight Vinyl LP
What would eventually become Hanni El Khatib's fifth studio album, the virtuosic but characteristically raw Flight began as spontaneous experimentation. Over the last several years, El Khatib had become close friends with Leon Michels, best known as the mastermind of the soul controllers, the El Michels Affair, but who has also quietly racked up producer credits for the likes of pop juggernauts like Lana Del Rey, Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky, and Eminem - as well as frequently working in sessions with Grammy-winning super-producer Mark Ronson.
At first, their jams were intended as riffs and breaks for other producers to sample, but quickly, El Khatib decided to say fuck the middleman. Why create samples, when they could create the entire beat themselves? The process unfolded casually and organically. El Khatib took a few trips to Michels' studio in upstate New York, and when Michels would come to LA to produce the new Chicano Batman record or to work with Ronson, he'd steal away an afternoon to help create Flight.
The finished result is a rollicking sampledelic opus that recalls the beautiful chaos that the Dust Brothers created on Paul's Boutique and Odelay. Or maybe the euphoric bricolage of the Avalanches' Since I Left You crossed with the aggrieved darkness of the early Prodigy. Of course, it's all filtered through the singular style that El Khatib has developed over the previous ten years.
The irony, of course, is that for a record that sounds like little else El Khatib has ever done, it's the most complete embodiment of who he is as an artist. It's a record both dense and intricate yet direct and spontaneous. It is garage rock, it is hip-hop, it is soul, it is blues, it is psychedelic, but more than anything, it's a brilliant Hanni El Khatib record - one that taps into the adolescent spirit of creation that first stirred him to make songs in the first place.
Hanni El Khatib Flight Track Listing: