Taking influence from 1960’s Thai funk – their name literally translates to “Engine Fly” in Thai – the Texan trio Khruangbin is formed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums. Their debut album ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ is steeped in the bass heavy, psychedelic sound of their inspiration, Tarantino soundtracks and surf-rock cool.
“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.”
‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ 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 favorites 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.
“If you like the idea of soundtrack music that might not sound out of place in a Tarantino movie, some wistful soul and slow-motion funk with an exotic ambience that offers hints of countries as far-flung as Hawaii and Japan, then you need some Khruangbin in your life.” The Guardian
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