Texas instrumental trio Khruangbin blends globe-spanning influences harvested from the Internet | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Texas instrumental trio Khruangbin blends globe-spanning influences harvested from the Internet


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In a review of Con Todo el Mundo (Dead Oceans), the second album by Khruangbin, Pitchfork writer Erin MacLeod observed that the instrumental Texas trio makes “music for the Spotify era.” Streaming services give listeners an entire globe of sounds to pick through, and the members of the band haven’t been cagey about where their numerous influences comes from—the same review notes the presence of vintage Thai pop music the group injested from MP3 blog Monrakplengthai. Khruangbin has never directly mimicked any single style; its atmospheric grooves seem to be a composite, assembled piecemeal with elements from whatever particular flavor the group’s members are hooked on at the moment. A recent review by Lars Gotrich for All Things Considered mapped out their inspirations for each tune, such as 70s zouk from the French Antilles on “Evan Finds the Third Room,” borrowed lines from obscure Iranian guitarist Kourosh Yaghmaei on “Rule,” and vocal chants purloined from an Ennio Morricone film score on “Ruins.” The deep, rolling grooves sculpted by bassist Laura Lee and drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson are steeped in late 60s and early 70s R&B, suggesting a medley of tracks dug up by the Numero Group as played by the rhythm section of the funk-soul group Menahan Street Band. Mark Speer’s sweet-toned guitar lines fit that same vibe, while his melodies embrace a global array of traditions. But as lovely as Khruangbin’s music sounds, it all feels a bit remote, as if created in a lab from a set of prescribed elements, a distillation and hybrid of the member’s favorite records rather than an expression of their own.   v

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