♫♪  Khun Narin - “Baisi Sukwan”


The closest qualifier one often reaches to when describing new forms of traditional eastern music is “psychedelic.” It is simple to commodify a foreign band in relation to our canon when we portray the musicians as plugging in and rocking out, waves of exotic drone shooting from the dragon-necks of their “phins.” This comparison can capture “vibe” in a snackable, instagramable snapshot, but it will ultimately fail to fully capture the authenticity of certain improvisational styles brought to us by the globalizing inertias of the internet.

The structure makes sense to us, even when the band is as loosely defined as Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band, a “psychedelic” group with their massive own sound system, who create vast lakes of noise with their amplified folk instruments traveling through their village in the northern Phetchabun Province of Thailand. Members come and go, very few recording of the group’s serpentine jam sessions are collected, and, unless they spend all day drinking whiskey in plastic lawn chairs, the band members most likely have day jobs too. There are no hits, and the audience comes through to drink and be merry, not sing along. In other words, the group is a skilled weekend project that has suddenly been thrust into our laps, and life-as-usual was interrupted when Khun Narin’s captivating sound was set to tape. The resulting LP(s) are a lush mix of amplified folk on a conventional, Western promotional platform (the “platform” in this case being record label Innovative Leisure), both caught in a weird feedback loop of appropriation and re-appropriation, making up for poor interpretation and cultural differences with improvisational charm.

With the help of some heavily-layered astral visuals curated by Donovan’s Lights Out! Light Show, the Electric Phin Band has officially embraced the Western musical tradition of “albums,” “music videos,” and today, “premieres.” “Baisi Sukhwan” comes off the Electric Phin Band’s second album for Innovative Leisure, II. Both II and the band’s debut were recorded by LA-based producer Josh Marcy after he was inspired by a blog post to contact the band. Marcy has done an excellent job with his field recordings, and the clarity and authenticity of Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band shines through.

Watch the video below, and visit Innovative Leisure to pick up a copy of II on all earthling listening formats.

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

Most Read