Khun Narin is almost too good to be true: a band from Thailand that parks itself at parties and weddings with a homemade PA system to lay down psychedelic jams led by a hand-carved, three-stringed instrument called an electric phin. That's what first inspired Josh Marcy to track down and record this pan-generational group after a YouTube video hit the psych freaks, and why the L.A.-based producer returned to Thailand to cut the simply-titled follow-up II. Here's a rare chance to see the recording in action, filmed in an open field.
"Chackim" sits right in the middle of II, with a giddy melody that bounces from Aob's phin and is surrounded by the band's polyrhythmic percussion, which — at times — sounds like someone's about to pick-it-up, pick-it-up. Turns out that "Chackim" is a cover of a hit by a Thai ska band, Marcy writes NPR:
This was shot on Songkran 2015 — Thai New Year — behind Khun Narin's house, just a stone's throw from where the first album was also recorded. That day was the culmination of a week-long celebration and the band had blessed the sound system before we started with incense and the flowers on the speakers. This song is one of the current hits the band would play again during the very wet parade through the city of Lom Sak that was to follow. That's Aob playing the lead phin on this song (he's also a very good drummer) and you can see Bas next to me, awaiting his turn to jump in.
For the recording, I used a compact, field-friendly setup that you can see a bit of in the video: a MacBook Air running Logic, Apogee Duet and a couple Blue Microphones.
Couldn't have asked for a better day!
II comes out March 25 on Bandcamp and Innovative Leisure.