Praga Khan (aka Maurice Engelen)
In sound and in spirit, dance music is a juggernaut, and it's relentless demands a constant and immediate turnover. Few artists are able to keep up with the pace. Belgium's Praga Khan (in real life Maurice Engelen) is an exception. As the mixer, producer and songwriter for the two acts he's working on now - Lords of Acid and Praga Khan - he may propel dance music into a whole slew of possible futures.
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For the better part of ten years, Praga Khan has been moving dance floors from London to Buenos Aires, from Tokyo to New York, first as a DJ and later as an artist. Praga Khan's sound forged as he earned the title of high priest, DJing New Beat at the legendary "Happy House" in Brussels. Turntables were soon augmented with drum machines and sound modules. Before long, Praga Khan's transition to the recording studio was complete.
In 1988 Praga founded his first-ever project. He called it "Shakti". Shakti's music was a strange melange between dance-music and Indian contemporary music. Together with "Chris Inger" and "Nikkie Van Lierop" (aka Jade 4U), he recorded a mini-album called "Demonic Forces". This mini-album is now a real collectors item.
The collaboration between Inger and Khan came to an end late 1990. In the three past years Inger, Khan and Van Lierop released over 30 records under different project names such as "Major Problem", "101", "Lords of Acid", "Dirty Harry", "Jade 4U" and so on. Also the first "Praga Khan" singles "Bula Bula" ('89) and "Out of Control" ('90) were recorded in those days.
In 1991 Praga Khan and Nikkie Van lierop meet wizzkid "Oliver Adams". They start to compose and produce under the banner MNO (the three initials of their names-Maurice, Nikkie & Oliver). This collaboration was a real success formula. In less than one year time they conquered all of Europe's dance floors with their trendsetting techno records.
Records such as "Flesh & Blood", "Phantasia", "Rave the Rhythm", God of Abraham" & "Praise God" became the anthems of a generation. Together they record the first Praga Khan single "Rave Alarm" which broke onto the European sales charts and the ride began. Next came the smash hit "Injected with a Poison" which was in the UK chart for six weeks and number one in the top 10 Billboard Dance Chart in Japan.
1992 saw the release of the first "Lords of Acid" album "Lust". "Lords of Acid" was Praga Khan's favorite side-project and he was more than pleased to see the success in the States. (over 450.000 albums in the US only). The same year, another MNO side project, "Digital Orgasm", gets its debut album released in Europe. The album track "Running out of Time" becomes one of the best-selling singles in the UK.
1993 brings the release of the first Praga Khan album "A Spoonful of Miracle". This worldwide release establishes MNO as one of the leading production units in the dance-community. The same year, Maurice, Nikkie & Oliver signed a major record deal with Rick Rubin's American Records for the US territory.
Also Hollywood starts to get aware of their songwritership. After the music they scored in "Basic Instinct", they were asked to write some music for the new box office success "Sliver". The touring schedule has been equally busy with extensive tours in the UK, Germany, France, Holland, Japan and the USA. Praga, Jade and their band played everything from huge raves to universities and from clubs to outdoor festivals. Over 1.000.000 people saw Praga perform in 1992 and 1993.
In the beginning of 94 Avex Japan asks Praga to write the album "Take it to the Top" for their CHANNEL X project. "Take it to the Top" (the single taken from the album) becomes Number 1 in the Japanese dance chart. In-between the busy touring schedule our trio still finds the time to compose & produce the second LORDS OF ACID CD "Voodoo U" (over 350.000 units in the US only - American Recordings). Later that year they remix the new "Jean Michel Jarre" single "Chronology part 6".
In 1995 VIRGIN US asks "MNO" to write and produce an album for the nr. 1 videogame MORTAL KOMBAT. Nikkie decides not to cooperate on this project and starts to write her solo-album "Pages in a dairy". Praga and Oliver call their new project "the Immortals". The album becomes a real success in the States and sells over 400.000 CD's. The same year they deliver music for the movies VIRTUOSITY (Young Boys) and STRANGE DAYS (The Real Thing). Oliver Adams convinces Praga to start working on a more rockbased project. They call it "Tattoo of Pain" and they start to write the first album "Vengeance is Mine". The album is co-produced by Roli Mossimann who comes over to Belgium to work with Praga and Oliver.
Early '96 They finish the Tattoo of Pain album. This album gives Praga and Oliver a lot of credibility on the alternative market. The first reaction comes from WHITE ZOMBIE who asks Praga and Oliver to remix "Electric Head pt.1" for their remix album and for ALICE IN CHAINS they remix "Again". Later that year they also remix "Gravity Kills" and "Corrosion of Conformity". In November '96 Praga Khan decides to start the recordings of the new Lord of Acid album "Our Little Secret".
In April '97 they complete the final mixes. Praga is looking forward to go live on tour with Lords of Acid but unfortunately there is an international demand for the new Praga Khan album. In June 97 Praga and Oliver start the recordings for the new album.
In 1998 Praga Khan releases "Pragamatic". After years of success abroad, this album marks the beginning of huge following in their home country. The Praga Khan live set becomes more and more legendary, and twice in a row, they win Belgian music station TMF's "Best Live Act" award. During the summer of 99 Praga Khan performed at some of Europe's biggest festivals, such as Werchter (Belgium), Glastonbury (UK), Bizarre (Germany).
Beginning of 2004 Praga Khan is the first band to sign on the brandnew Stella Artois Music-label. "Electric Religion" consolidates the bands reputation in the alternative dance scene. While singles such as "Supermodel" or "126.96.36.199.(Life)" may sound familiar to someone who knows the band, the album contains a surprisingly wide variation of moods, including beautiful slower songs ("Hollywood", "Mistress of Dreams"Š)
Fall 2004 Praga Khan introduces "The Next Dimension", an ambitious theatre tour, in which they created a platform for the many artforms the band has been connected to over the years. The music of Praga Khan, performed live, in specially adapted versions, many of them with classical arrangements, will be the spine of a spectacular perfomance, integrating video-art, ballet, fashion, painting, performing arts and more.
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