Have you ever been hipped to something that made your eyes widen up in an “oh shit” fashion that you had to do a double take? Well that’s what happened when I recently heard a clip of the new Khruangbin “Con Todo El Mundo” LP the homie DJ Zattar posted. Without a doubt, the saying “music and art is to be shared” couldn’t be more true especially in this instance where Nostalgia King is passing the goodness your way about this new album.
“Formed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums; Khruangbin’s sounds are rooted in the deepest waters of world music infused with classic soul, dub and psychedelia. Their 2015 debut album ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ was heavily influenced by 60’s and 70’s Thai cassettes the band listened to on their long car journeys to rehearsal in the Texan countryside. ‘Con Todo El Mundo’ takes inspiration not just from South East Asia but similarly underdiscovered funk and soul of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, particularly Iran.
‘Con Todo El Mundo’ is in part dedicated to Laura Lee’s Mexican-American grandfather, a formative influence on the bassist. She says, “My grandpa would always ask me ‘Cómo me quieres?’ (how much do you love me?) And he’d only ever accept one response: ‘Con todo el mundo’ (with all the world). He created his own world to live in. Khruangbin is the world we’ve created.”
Though outwardly unassuming (but no less stylish), the trio’s diverse backgrounds aligned with a shared worldview and passion are at the heart of what makes Khruangbin tick. Their desire in representing international culture is notable given the climate and agenda in certain areas of the US. In some respects it’s throwing back a compliment by reinterpreting artists of other countries reinterpretations of US-based music, which again drew influence from the world. Throughout ‘Con Todo El Mundo’; Laura Lee’s melodic low-end theory, Mark’s lyrical, free-role guitar lines, and DJ’s ever-steady, ever-ready backbeat form something greater than their parts. A statement that crosses languages, ages, cultures and borders.
Opener ‘Cómo Me Quieres’ sets the tone with its exotic, spacious, slow-motion funk while in antithesis the album’s first single ‘Maria También’ is filled with urgency and attitude. ‘August 10’ is a classic Khruangbin track, infused with their signature bass-heavy sound, while also introducing new elements to their chemistry. There’s time for solid disco-funk in the form of ‘Evan Finds The Third Room’ and the band even finds space to nod to P-Funk with a chant towards the end of the evolving jam ‘Lady and Man’. Closing the album, ‘Friday Morning’ – “a song about jumping into love” – skips between laid back Isley Brothers-esque vibes via delicate tempo changes into gentle hymnal passages.”