Khruangbin — Hasta El Cielo (July 12th, 2019) Pamela MÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃéndez ÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃâ Time (22 Feb 2019)→      เครื่องบิน. Jet~setting Texas trio whose smooth, mainly instrumental music is heavily influenced by Thai rock and funk, among other styles.
Location: Burton, Houston, Texas ~ London, UK
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, R&B
Styles: Instrumental Rock, Neo~Psychedelia, R&B Instrumental, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Deep Funk Revival
Recording Location: Sugarhill Studios, Houston, TX; The Farm, Burton, TX; The Treehouse, Houston, TX
Album release: July 12th, 2019
Record Label: Dead Oceans/Night Time Stories
Duration:     41:56
01. With All The World
02. Sisters & Brothers
03. Mary Always
04. Four of Five
05. How I Love
06. Sunny’s Vision
07. A La Sala
08. The Red Book
09. Order of Operations
10. Hasta El Cielo
11. Rules — Scientist Dub (Bonus Track)
12. Cómo Te Quiero — Scientist Dub (Bonus Track)
•°•     The band’s exotic, spacious, psychedelic funk aligns with the dub treatment particularly well. Indeed, keen fans won’t find this a surprising release. Dubs of tracks from their first album The Universe Smiles Upon You appeared on limited vinyl releases of “People Everywhere” for Record Store Day 2016 and “Zionsville” on the BoogieFuturo remix 12”. The especially eagle~eared will have caught a dub of “Two Fish And An Elephant” playing over the credits of the track’s celebrated video.
•°•     “For us, Dub has always felt like a prayer. Spacious, meditative, able to transport the listener to another realm. The first dub albums we listened to were records mixed by Scientist featuring the music of the Roots Radics. Laura Lee learned to play bass by listening to Scientist Wins the World Cup. His unique mixing style, with the emphasis on space and texture, creates the feeling of frozen time; it was hugely influential to us as a band. To be able to work alongside Scientist, a legend in the history of dub, is an honor. This is our dub version of Con Todo El Mundo.” — Khruangbin
•°•     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 music from around the world, infused with classic soul, dub and psychedelia. Since the release of Con Todo El Mundo, Khruangbin have continued their almost non~stop approach to touring, playing over 130 dates in 2018 alone, most of them selling out well in advance, including sold~out shows across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Khruangbin closed out 2018 supporting Leon Bridges in North America, and have already graced the stages of numerous festivals this year, including Coachella, Marfa Myths, Fortress Festival, FORM Arcosanti, Lightning in a Bottle, and more.
•°•     They’ll kick off their summer tour with select shows in the Northeastern US, including a sold out show at Central Park’s SummerStage in NYC, before heading overseas for festival performances at Green Man, Latitude, Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival and Barclaycard British Summer Time. They’ll return to North American to play Pitchfork Music Festival, Pickathon, Lockn’, and THING.
By Matt Yuyitung
Published Jul 11, 2019; Score: 7
°•°     You need more than one hand to count the number of genres that have been ascribed to Khruangbin: funk, psychedelic, dub, world, jazz and soul, coupled with a globe~spanning taste in music. Mixing airtight grooves with a nocturnal atmosphere, the band’s take on funk is loose and meditative, one that somehow sits comfortably in the background, yet demands your full attention at the same time.
Hasta El Cielo is subtitled Con Todo El Mundo in Dub; it strips back the previous record’s already bare sound even thinner. It’s an intriguing companion to the record, one that doesn’t add too much to the conversation, but still reasonably stands on its own.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Hasta El Cielo is the prominence of bassist Laura Lee and drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson. With guitarist Mark Speer making his presence felt through more atmospheric effects, rather than his usual distinct lead patterns, Lee and Johnson function as the record’s focal point. Putting the rhythm section front and centre is nothing new for dub music, or even for Khruangbin, but tracks like “Mary Always” or “Four of Five” are great showcases for the hypnotic power of a rhythm section sitting comfortably in sync.
°•°     The krautrock~esque repetition of Lee and Johnson is one the band’s most compelling elements; their patterns are simple, but there are no wasted notes played between either of them.
°•°     There are moments when the record feels indistinguishable from Con Todo El Mundo, where it’s the band’s spacious funk, but somehow more spacious. A Khruangbin dub record isn’t particularly Earth~shattering, especially when dub was already so present in their music. But it’s an opportunity for the band to really show off their strengths and further establish what makes them unique. °•°