Khodor Ellaik, aka Kid Fourteen, is a Paris-based Lebanese musician and songwriter who has been intriguing listeners for over a decade with his unique style of mixing Pop, Post Punk, Noise, experimental Jazz and Electronic Music. Last June, the artist released his fourth album, ‘A Brief Emotional Dragon’ - an intensely personal project that has been in the works for almost two years. Inspired by Japanese synth, Western film scores, free jazz, Scott Walker and Bruce Lee, the album is a self-reflective odyssey in which all experimental elements collide to express the chaos and vulnerability in Kid Fourteen’s mind.

“I wrote the music for this album during my last few months in Beirut - in what I now recognize as the darkest period, to put it gently,” Kid Fourteen tells SceneNoise. “I think a frail shadow of me miraculously wrote it, because that's all I was then. In a sense, this album saved my life by narrowly giving me, and keeping me in touch with,  a voice when I barely felt visible. ‘A Brief Emotional Dragon’ is my survival statement and my autobiography in all its abstraction.”

Between 2010 and 2014, Kid Fourteen fronted a couple of Beirut outfits including ‘Beirut Scum Society’ and ‘Friendly Faces’ before deciding to go solo under his current moniker, donning synths and drum machines with the release of his debut album, ‘Dream Kids Never Sleep’, in 2016. Khodor toured extensively between 2016 and 2019, and released his second album ‘Blood-thick Silence’ in 2018, blending punk influences with noise-pop elements. In 2020 he formed his own art collective and label, ‘Kidsplay’, and released his third album, ‘Love’, which shows a more literary side of his artistry and was roughly based on the 12 phases of love in Arabic literature.

The 12-track project, which is composed, recorded, arranged and produced by Kid Fourteen, is a cataclysmic melange of synth pop layered with Industrial beats, noise guitars and crooner vocals to create an experimental sound that is simultaneously upbeat and melancholic.

The album starts off with ‘Enter The Dragon’, an instrumental track full of futuristic space synths and brooding base notes, lending it a sinister villain-entrance vibe.

In ‘Cowboy Lonely’ the artist fuses country and electronic elements with his raunchy voice, using the classic Western image of the wandering cowboy to express the solitary and tortuous world of a haunted man. ‘Learning How to Die’ sees a more echoed and elongated articulation from the artist, featuring somber Sax solos, pulsing synth arpeggiators and lyrics contemplating life and death.

‘Sum of Green’ is by far the most emotional track, with a melancholic yet hopeful air to it. ‘The Ballad of Lien’ features glitchy static sounds and a minimal music production which puts Kid Fourteen’s lyrics centre-stage.

The rest of the album is all instrumentals. ‘Born From Sand’ features empowering church organ synths and a narration extraction from ‘Secrets of Self Defense' by John Richters. ‘I Think of Him Sometimes’ is strictly keyboard keys and synths, while ’The Rabbit’ blends grim Sax with fleeting electronic notes.

The artist taps into nature in ‘The Scorpion’ where he incorporated soothing recordings of waves, whilst ‘The Elephant’ features crickets recordings with deconstructed and chaotic Sax pieces. The latter reminded me of when they taped a banana to a wall and called it art if I’m being honest, but hey, art is subjective in the end.

The choir voices heard on ‘Enter The Dragon’, ‘Cowboy Lonely’, ‘Sum of Green’ and ‘A Better Place’ were performed and recorded by Anthony Sahyoun. The album ends with ‘The Dragon’ which features jazz-infused segments and an unreleased track by Orphée called 'The Devil' being hummed in the background.