Khruangbin Mesmerizes With The Sound of Diversity
Updated: Sep 13, 2021
Thai funk band Khruangbin creates music you didn't know you needed to hear.
There are few bands left out there that can make me stop in my tracks. One reason is there's just too many out there to listen to. You're bombarded by a million similar sounds, trying to catch the last 15 seconds of that cat dangling from the rafters seeing if it will land safely, or you're trying to keep up with everything that Travis Scott is doing. But once in a while you'll come across a snippet of something great and start to wander down that rabbit hole to a point where you realize you've just listened to 2 hours straight of something magical.
This is the exact scenario I went through when encountering Khruangbin. Now, they are on record admitting their name isn't the easiest to pronounce at first glance. The quick story about their name is that the band's bassist, Laura Lee, was learning to speak Thai at the time, and wanted to use her favorite Thai word "khurangbin," which means "aeroplane" in Thai. That name symbolizes the international set of influences that shaped the band's formation, which is a wicked cool symbolization. However, according to their guitarist Mark Speer, had they had the foresight to predict the band's success, they might not have chosen a name that was so difficult to pronounce. Eh, it sounds pretty dope to us. *Shrugs shoulders.*
Another great musical act hailing from Houston, Texas, Lee, Speers and drummer Donald Ray "DJ" Johnson Jr., I'm most fascinated by the group's resilience to sticking with a formula. Working with their engineer Steve Christensen, they record all of their music inside a barn out in Burton, Texas. Usually, you'll see artists attempt to reinvent every album, if not every track. Sometimes, it really is needed if everything sounds like it's on repeat and you'll want to pick at your ears with a screwdriver.
Other times, let's see, what's the old cliché? If it's not broke, don't fix it? Well, Khruangbin does that admirably, yet somehow, each album feels different.
How Can It Sound Different?
Good question. We feel it's because of their passion of pulling from Middle Eastern and Asian influences that you can resoundingly hear on each track. Whether it's an Afghani beat being strummed on bass or a simple high-hat riff on the drums, you can sense there's an undercurrent of culture running through Khruangbin's music.
Just listen to their "Con Todo El Mundo" album from 2018-2019, and you will understand. It's easy to get lost in these songs and suddenly see an hour has passed by in an instant. It's also a great way to get work done without staring at the clock. Most jobs feel like you're watching paint dry. Listening to Khruangbin makes it a little less painful.
It's a shame more people haven't heard of Khruangbin or seek their songs out. Even though hip hop dominates streetwear culture, it would be amazing to see Khruangbin do a live set for someone's fashion show. Can you imagine their music to Louis Vuitton's runway shows? How dope would it be if Jerry Lorenzo pulled from Middle Eastern influences for Fear of God and mixed all that in with his streetwear prowess? Holy shit, that would be amazing. This is where streetwear fashion should be heading. Not recreating the same old, tired colorways.
Just look at Khruangbin's fashion sense. It's like they're shopping in the most couture fashion bouqitues in France. What would a Khruangbin x Off-White t-shirt look like? To us, this is where culture can be extremely fascinating and eye-opening. It's cool to see what Kanye is doing once in a while, but this is where pushing the envelope really is for us. #Collaboration with a band that has a true sense of culture but can still showcase it in a way that doesn't feel too eclectic. You don't feel like a hipster for listening to their music or wanting to buy their merch. It feels like you've got the same love similar to someone who's trying to cop the latest Cactus Jack x Jordan drop. This is where we'd want culture, fashion and music to intersect more often.
P.S. Also check out their site. It's fun.
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