Thai Psychedelia

02/03/2017A Short Introduction To Khun Narin's Electric Phin Band

Sure, there's a lot of hype surrounding this group of contemporary Thai villagers, though there just may be some truth in people claiming this to be one of the greatest musical discoveries...wait for it...ever! But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The short version of their story is this: In 2011 a group of Thai musicians, later to be known as Khun Narin's Electric Phin Band, uploaded a video of them wheeling a seemingly decrepit homebuilt soundsystem through a remote village, playing "some of the heaviest Psych known to mankind". This was literally too good to be true! The video captioned "MINDBLOWING PSYCHEDELIA FROM THAILAND" later went viral (following a post on the Dangerous Minds Blog) and in 2013, they were signed to L.A. imprint Innovative Leisure, where they've released two albums to date, both available from Bandcamp.

"The music they play is called phin prayuk. The first word refers to the lead instrument, a 3-stringed lute known as the phin. The phin player, uses a string of Boss effects pedals, including a phaser, distortion and digital delay to get his sound. He also builds his own instruments, installing Fender pickups into hand-carved hardwood bodies, with elaborate mythical serpents adorning the headstock. The band takes pride in their custom PA system, as well as an imposing tower of 8 loudspeaker horns atop a huge bass cabinet. Khun Narin's Electric Phin Band's membership is always in rotation and spans several generations, from high school kids to men well into their 60s. A standard engagement has the band setting up at the hosting household during the morning rituals, playing several low-key sets from the comfort of plastic lawn chairs occasionally working in a cover version of a foreign classic (The Cranberries 'Zombie' is a favorite) while the beer and whiskey flow freely. After a mid-day banquet, they start up the generator and lead a parade through the community to the local temple, picking up more and more partiers along the way."

There's obviously more to the story and a lot more to be said about this enigmatic formation of, well, everyday guys of sorts. But for now, here's a short video piece to give you a better impression of the group and offer a glimpse of the Khun Narin experience, brought to you by ways of the Great Big Story.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom