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KHRUANGBIN

Khruangbin

Mordechai

    Khruangbin has always been multilingual, weaving far-flung musical languages like East Asian surf-rock, Persian funk, and Jamaican dub into mellifluous harmony. But on its third album, it’s finally speaking out loud. Mordechai features vocals prominently on nearly every song, a first for the mostly instrumental band. It’s a shift that rewards the risk, reorienting Khruangbin’s transportive sound toward a new sense of emotional directness, without losing the spirit of nomadic wandering that’s always defined it. And it all started with them coming home.

    By the summer of 2019, the Houston group—bassist Laura Lee Ochoa, guitarist Mark Speer, drummer DJ Johnson—had been on tour for nearly three-and-ahalf years, playing to audiences across North and South America, Europe, and southeast Asia behind its acclaimed albums The Universe Smiles Upon You and Con Todo El Mundo. They returned to their farmhouse studio in Burton, Texas, ready to begin work on their third album. But they were also determined to slow down, to take their time and luxuriate in building something together. Musically, the band’s ever-restless ear saw it pulling reference points from Pakistan, Korea, and West Africa, incorporating strains of Indian chanting boxes and Congolese syncopated guitar. But more than anything, the album became a celebration of Houston, the eclectic city that had nurtured them, and a cultural nexus where you can check out country and zydeco, trap rap, or avant-garde opera on any given night.

    In those years away from home, Khruangbin’s members often felt like they were swimming underwater, unsure of where they were going, or why they were going there. But Mordechai leads them gently back to the surface, allowing them to take a breath, look around, and find itself again. It is a snapshot taken along a larger journey—a moment all the more beautiful for its impermanence. And it’s a memory to revisit again and again, speaking to us now more clearly than ever.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Limited edition translucent pink coloured vinyl.

    Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Driving anywhere in Texas can cost you half a day, easy. For example, it’ll take you over four hours just to get from R&B singer Leon Bridges’ hometown of Fort Worth down to Houston, where the psychedelic wanderers in Khruangbin hail from. The state is vast, crisscrossed with rugged expanses of road flanked by limestone cliffs and granite mountains, forests of pine and mesquite, miles of desert or acres of sprawling grassland, all depending on what part you’re in. And it’s all baking under the "Texas Sun" that lends its name to Bridges and Khruangbin’s new collaborative EP.

    “Big sky country, that’s what they call Texas,” Khruangbin bassist Laura Lee says. “The horizon line goes all the way from one side to another without interruption. There’s something really comforting about that.”

    On "Texas Sun", these two members of the state’s musical vanguard meet up somewhere in the middle of that scene, in the mythical nexus of Texas’ past, present, and future - a dreamy badlands where genres blur as seamlessly as the terrain. It calls equally to the cowboys bootscooting at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, the chopped-and-screwed hip-hop fans rattling slabs on the southside of Houston, the art-school kids dropping acid in Austin, the cross-cultural progeny who grew up on listening to both mariachi and post-hardcore out on the Mexican borders of El Paso. All of these things, overlapping in a multicolored melange, purple hues as vivid and unpredictable as one of the state’s rightfully celebrated sunsets.

    A journey through homesick reminiscences, backseat romances, and late-night contemplations, the kind of record made for listening with the windows down and the road humming softly beneath you. Like the highways that inspired it, "Texas Sun" is guaranteed to get you where you’re going -especially if you’re in no particular hurry to get there.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: A mild departure for Khruangbin here, enlisting soulful maestro Leon Bridges on vox duties, adding a silky overtone to their nigh-horizontal grooves. A superb, hazy dream of an album.

    "Hasta El Cielo" is Khruangbin's glorious dub version of their second album "Con Todo El Mundo". The full album has been processed anew along with two bonus dubs by renowned Jamaican producer Scientist. The band’s exotic, spacious, psychedelic funk aligns with the dub treatment particularly well. Indeed, keen fans won’t find this a surprising release. Dubs of tracks from their first album "The Universe Smiles Upon You" appeared on limited vinyl releases of "People Everywhere" for Record Store Day 2016 and "Zionsville" on the BoogieFuturo remix 12”. The especially eagle-eared will have caught a dub of "Two Fish And An Elephant" playing over the credits of the track’s celebrated video.

    'For us, Dub has always felt like a prayer. Spacious, meditative, able to transport the listener to another realm. The first dub albums we listened to were records mixed by Scientist featuring the music of the Roots Radics. Laura Lee learned to play bass by listening to "Scientist Wins the World Cup". His unique mixing style, with the emphasis on space and texture, creates the feeling of frozen time; it was hugely influential to us as a band. To be able to work alongside Scientist, a legend in the history of dub, is an honor. This is our dub version of "Con Todo El Mundo.”' - Khruangbin

    Formed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums; Khruangbin’s sounds are rooted in the deepest waters of music from around the world, infused with classic soul, dub and psychedelia. Their 2015 debut album ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ was heavily influenced by 60’s and 70’s Thai cassettes the band listened to on their long car journeys to rehearsal in the Texan countryside. 2018’s follow up ‘Con Todo El Mundo’, which received hugely positive critical reactions and radio play around the world, took inspiration not just from South East Asia but similarly underdiscovered funk and soul of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, particularly Iran. 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Emily says: Khruangbin’s deep, meditative grooves enjoy a generous helping of delay and spring reverb, with two bonus tracks mixed by none other than dub legend Scientist. This time the meandering guitar lines shimmer in the background while the bass and drums take centre stage. Sure to expand the corners of your mind and warm the chambers of your heart.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    LP Info: LP and 7".

    Comprising of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums, Khruangbin’s sounds are rooted in the deepest waters of world music infused with classic soul, dub and psychedelia. Their 2015 debut album "The Universe Smiles Upon You" was heavily influenced by 60’s and 70’s Thai cassettes the band listened to on their long car journeys to rehearsal in the Texan countryside. "Con Todo El Mundo" takes inspiration not just from South East Asia but similarly underdiscovered funk and soul of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, particularly Iran. The sultry and humid grooves of their debut are alive and well, enhanced by a little extra funk, the lightly spiced flavours of Middle Eastern pop and maybe a little strung out Americana a la Cowboy Junkies. The hefty breaks on cuts like "Lady & Man" and "Maria Tambien" have that "Jungle Fever" toughness, while the woozy "August 10" and "Como Te Quiero" are classic examples of Khruangbin's languid style. "Shades Of Man" colours the trio's palette with a little country soul, while "A Hymn" preaches a gospel out of Death Valley. The perfect sophomore offering, "Con Todo El Mundo" retains all the tasty ingredients of the original and blends them with a new batch of exotic flavours.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Shop faves Khruangbin continue their stroll through mellifluous melody with sophomore offering "Con Todo El Mundo", swapping the Thai tonalities of their debut for some distinctly Middle Eastern flavours. Every bit as languid and lovely as their debut, this new LP is different enough to show progression whilst remaining reassuringly familiar.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Limited edition numbered vinyl pressed on 180g “off white” virgin vinyl.

    Taking influences from 1960's Thai funk - their name literally translates to "Engine Fly" in Thai - Khruangbin’s debut album ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ is steeped in the bass heavy, psychedelic sound of their inspiration, Tarantino soundtracks and surf-rock cool. The Texan trio is formed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums.

    The album was recorded at their spiritual home, a remote barn deep in the Texas countryside where their first rehearsals took place. The band listened to a lot of different types of music on the long drives out to the country but their favourites were 60s and 70s Thai cassettes gleaned from the cult Monrakplengthai blog and compilations of southeast Asian pop, rock and funk. This had a heavy impact on the direction of the band, the scales they used and the inflection of the melodies; which coupled with the spaciousness of the Texan countryside culminated in Khruangbin forming their exotic, individual sound. Although the band was conceived as an instrumental outfit, ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ features the first Khruangbin recordings with vocals. Tracks ‘People Everywhere (Still Alive)’, ‘Balls and Pins’ and recent single ‘White Gloves’ show a new dimension to the band.

    “We feel like there is an ease that comes from being immersed in a space, away from the distractions of the city and everyday life. We make our music in a barn, in the Texas hill country, because it makes sense to us. Being there allows us to make music that comes naturally, and that’s what we wanted this album to be. We wanted to make a record that just let the music happen, and we hope that’s what you can hear.”


    Khruangbin

    A Calf Born In Winter

      THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2014 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

      EXCLUSIVE WHITE VINYL RSD FORMAT HAND NUMBERED!

      Limited to 250 copies.


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