In March of 2013 I wrote a piece for Dangerous Minds about Khun Narin, a band from the Phetchabun Province of Thailand. I characterized their music as being “indescribably beautiful psychedelia.” Head music is hard to describe so I linked to their Youtube video - which at the time had few views - and it was a stunner. The sound was otherworldly, magic and hypnotic and the performance intense.
A Dangerous Minds reader named Josh Marcy read the piece, saw the video and had his mind blown. He flew to Thailand to record the group. The result was the first album to be released by the Thai street musicians, Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band. It’s a terrific record and was greeted with great reviews and coverage by Newsweek, Vogue and Wired, among others. It was also enough of a commercial success to finance a second album. Khun Narin II has just been released via Los Angeles-based label Innovative Leisure and it is another trance-inducing mindbender that even the most jaded of music freaks will find find revelatory.
I asked Josh Marcy to write a bit about the path to recording Khun Narin.
Take it away Josh:
The Dangerous Mind headline said all I needed to know - Mindblowing Psychedelia From Thailand - and the music in the YouTube video delivered in spades, with some of the most beautifully deep and heavy music I’d ever heard. And there was a perfect challenge to the reader at the end of the DM article with just enough information needed to make it happen: “Visit [their Facebook page] and implore them to come to your town or city now. Or at least release an album.” I guess I took that as a personal challenge when I left my job later that year and began tracking down the band, first connecting the dots from the video to the phin player Beer Sitthichai’s YouTube channel and then finding the great Peter Doolan. A couple months later we’d all be together recording the first album in Lom Sak! I definitely sweated it out, but my little portable recording setup managed to get it done… And a great performance will always outweigh the technological shortcomings. I just hit record and the band made the magic happen.
As I watch that original video, I’m realizing that the first song they play is also the final song on the new album, so it all comes full circle. It’s been such a great pleasure getting to know the amazingly talented guys in the band and, with Innovative Leisure and many others, bring their music to a wider audience, just as that original post on Dangerous Minds helped and implored us all to!
This is the video that got the ball rolling. When I first discovered it, thanks to Joey Zarda, there were just a small handful of views. Now there’s close to 400,000.
And something from the new album, a track called Chackim. Again, we’re witness to what an extraordinary live group Khun Narin is. Simply stunning.
Below, a full set by Khun Narin.