June 1996: three experienced british musicians met at a belgian studio.
No contract, no rules, carreer was no point. This trio had other stimulations, usually hardly accepted in music business: spontaneity, instinct, anarchy, pleasure and innovation. Some tracks arised and they decided to call the project KHAO (chinese word for ‘life’).
Jon Caffery, Mark Rutherford and James Whelan knew each other for quite a while. Jon Caffery and James Whelan planned a dub project since 1991 , but there were lots of other obligations on Jons agenda: he produced Germany’s best selling band the Toten Hosen and Berlin’s avantgarde industrial outfit Einstuerzende Neubauten, without being fully satisfied by this work. But Jon Caffery is already a producer with a long history. He has worked with cult-musicians like Dennis Bovell, Karl Bartos (Kraftwerk) and Jaki Liebezeit (Can), learning from them not to make any compromises. Beside of meeting some of today’s most interesting musicians he also can look back on production jobs for Joy Division, Magazine and a lot more. So one day he called James Whelan to start their own thing. Whelan has been playing with his band Sugardog since 1985. One day they met Mark Rutherford, a London based allround talent with exceptional abilities. He has worked with Goldie in the original Rufige Kru outfit, was part of the first Metalheads crew and joined Vivienne Westwood for some fashion-shows in Japan. He also runs the Jam Nation Act, signed to Peter Gabriels Realworld label. Finally he "felt at home working with KHAO"
They started to experiment in the studio where they got joined by south-african singer Mandisa Dumezweni for a weekend where she spontaneously started singin on some of the tracks. By using one big and six smaller rooms, recording sometimes at the same time, sometimes subsequently the 3 studio wizzards became the perfect partners for Mandisa’s dark voice. So the musicians could record very spontaneusly ideas they got while recording the main track. The slogan for the sessions was: "Live Life To The Full – No Compromise" .
You can hear it for example in "Suppressed" with its dub elements, funky guitar, dense percussion, surprising echos and vocals crossing borders of several styles, creating a mysterious and dark sound. The album features dub, dope beats, drum’n’bass aswell as sounds of nature and daily life.
The cover shows a photo by New York based multimedia artist Robert Longo which is called "Death Star" and stands for the people who have been killed in gun-shootings in America, as registered by the FBI.