Khruangbin - Late Night Tales Music Album Reviews

Khruangbin - Late Night Tales Music Album Reviews
A mixtape from Houston’s worldly psych trio digs deep into funk classics, spiritual jazz, and unusual finds from South Korea, Belarus, and Nigeria.

Like most of the world, Houston slow-jam trio Khruangbin had big plans for 2020: a collaboration with Leon Bridges, a new album, a worldwide tour with fellow slow-psych purveyors Tame Impala. The pandemic waylaid their globe-trotting (though they still managed to make the cut on a former president’s summer playlist). Mark Speer has said of the enforced downtime that what he missed the most, aside from the live show, was DJing after-parties, where he might fold in cuts that reflected the band’s coordinates that particular night, like Serge Gainsbourg sleaze in Paris or funky molam in Bangkok.
Khruangbin’s entry in the esteemed LateNightTales series closes a circle of sorts. It was on Bonobo’s own 2013 mix for the franchise that much of the world was introduced to Khruangbin via their hushed, meditative “A Calf Born in Winter,” the clear standout of the set. That instrumental sowed the seeds for their own global rise, so it’s fitting that a group prone to making eclectic, exploratory radio shows and playlists would finally take the LNT reins themselves. The time-loosening, un-placeable qualities generally associated with the band apply to the mix itself. Spanning from the early 1970s to the past year, the trio’s 15 worldly selections favor a hazy, sun-bleached sound: Every new track conjures the image of a thousand dust motes spilling into the air as the record is pulled off the shelf.

Much of the mix is rooted in their hometown, from local artists to a spirit of eclecticism that reflects the diversity of the city itself. They feature the city’s dub-and-vocoder outfit Brilliantes del Vuelo as well as Kelly Doyle and his ponging drum machine and exotica guitar; the spoken-word piece that closes the set comes from another Houstonian, Tierney Malone, paired with a banjo version of Erik Satie’s “Gnossienne.”

Another portion nods to their live set. Onstage, Khruangbin have long played a medley that weaves together old funk and hip-hop rhythms, slotting Kool & the Gang’s jazz-funk classic “Summer Madness” alongside tunes like “Nothin’ but a G Thang” and “Electric Relaxation,” and they finally record a studio version of “Summer Madness” here. Fully inhabiting the song’s mellow haze, Speer’s guitar captures the psychedelic soaring of the original’s Arp and Mellotron.

Elsewhere, the group ranges far and wide. They open with “Illuminations,” Alice Coltane’s mystical 1974 collaboration with Carlos Santana, the one corner of her catalog that hasn’t experienced a renaissance yet. It’s a baffling entry point on the surface, packing more drama, dissonance, and ornate opulence than anything in the Khruangbin aesthetic. But in Santana’s long, sustained strings, one can hear the careful pacing of Speer’s own guitar work.

Playful motifs run across the mix, like the big, chewy bass tones of South Korean trio Sanullim, Ethiopia’s Roha Band, and Nigerian boogie singer Maxwell Udoh (the latter doing an excellent job of repurposing the whispered come-on of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” for a more upbeat setting). The detached cool of Nazia Hassan’s Bollywood disco classic “Khushi” echoes in the deadpan disco of Justine & the Victorian Punks’ “Still You,” a delirious cut from downtown composer and Arthur Russell collaborator Peter Gordon. Sensuous, sax-laced, inscrutable, sprawling, and woozy, it’s as mysterious now as it was back in 1979.

As to be expected, some of Khruangbin’s digs are ludicrously deep, like the cassette-only Latin pop tune from crooner David Marez or Gerald Lee’s lo-fi soul number from the never-released soundtrack to blaxploitation film Black Shampoo (IMDB keywords: “pubic hair,” “mafia,” “barbecue party”). But after a few times through, smooth yacht rock from Japan and Belarus loses its luster and just sounds like yacht rock. And even though the tempo barely tops 100 bpm, all the far-flung fusions of Asian pop, Nigerian reggae, and Korean boogie leave Khruangbin’s set feeling a little like a busy touring schedule on the international festival circuit: both awe-inspiring and exhausting.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Khruangbin - Late Night Tales Music Album Reviews Khruangbin - Late Night Tales Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on December 15, 2020 Rating: 5


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