Listen: Hard-hitting melancholy from Kan Wakan

Kan Wakan teams up with Rachel Fannan for an emotional ambient offering.


Kan Wakan is one of the more interesting artists making waves in the new music scene at the moment. His output toes an unusual line between world music, pop balladry, electronic and ambient. With such an eclectic mix, it’s no surprise that his latest offering, I Had To Laugh, is a mixture of blissfully relaxing ambience and inexplicably tear-inducing emotion.

With a slow plodding piano forming the majority of the musical backdrop for most of the song, it is the beautiful vocal of Rachel Fannan that makes this song so impactful. Rachel’s voice is fragile and melodic, but is delivered in a deliberately breathless manner to really nail the emotional fragility necessary to break hearts. Wakan exploits this a lot over the course of the track, layering her vocals to create a haunting ethereal vibe that becomes almost unlistenable after a little while. Not out of being unpleasant, but simply out of being heartbreaking.

Of course, Wakan has more sense than to leave listeners feeling shattered. The crescendo amends all of the sombre dirge-like first half and elevates the mood into something that feels almost triumphant, as if Rachel is successfully emerging from her feeling of morose melancholy and becoming free to feel positive again. It’s an emotionally-charged ambient journey, but it’s not one for the emotionally fragile.

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