Night Time Stories

Khruangbin – The Universe Smiles Upon You


Night Time Stories

Khruangbin – The Universe Smiles Upon You


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A TAV Curator's Pick.

Taking influence from 1960's Thai funk - their name literally translates to "Engine Fly" in Thai - Khruangbin’s debut album ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ is steeped in the bass heavy, psychedelic sound of their inspiration, Tarantino soundtracks and surf-rock cool. The Texan trio is formed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums.

‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ was recorded at their spiritual home, a remote barn deep in the Texas countryside where their first rehearsals took place. The band listened to a lot of different types of music on the long drives out to the country but their favourites were 60s and 70s Thai cassettes gleaned from the cult Monrakplengthai blog and compilations of southeast Asian pop, rock and funk. This had a heavy impact on the direction of the band, the scales they used and the inflection of the melodies; which coupled with the spaciousness of the Texan countryside culminated in Khruangbin forming their exotic, individual sound.

Although the band was conceived as an instrumental outfit, ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ features the first Khruangbin recordings with vocals. Tracks ‘People Everywhere (Still Alive)’, ‘Balls and Pins’ and recent single ‘White Gloves’ show a new dimension to the band.

“We never really thought of ourselves as having a “singer” but we knew that we wanted a voice for Khruangbin. We decided to write about something close to us, tell a story as simply as possible, and sing it together.” - Khruangbin Bandcamp

“Khruangbin are a largely instrumental Houston trio that take elements of ’60s and ’70s Thai funk, soul, psych, R&B, surf, and jazz and pull it all into the same spacious but distinct sonic universe. Bass-ist Laura Lee, guitarist Mark Speer, and drummer Donald Johnson recorded their debut album The Universe Smiles Upon You in a barn deep in the Texas countryside, and during the long drives out, they would listen to cassettes they found on the blog Monrakplengthai and compilations of Southeast Asian pop, rock, and funk — their name literally translates to “engine fly,” meaning airplane in Thai. The result is something both groove-heavy and dreamy, and it absolutely evokes the deep-in-the-wilderness, staring-at-the-stars sense of mysticism that its title and cover art hint at.” – Stereogum

“While The Universe Smiles Upon You often slides by, frictionless, on grooves and guitars that sound like they’ve been doused in Vaseline, don’t be tricked for a moment into thinking that it qualifies as easy listening. The Texas and London-based trio’s debut album is a subtle dance, a constellation of small movements and highly nuanced arrangements that unfolds seamlessly, like ripples on the water. Even as it hypnotizes us, slinking forward on the weightlessness of crisp drums and rolling bass figures, Universe reveals tiny thorns and eddies of tension beneath its soothing surface.” - Paste Magazine

Item description:




The Universe Smiles Upon You


Night Time Stories


Vinyl, LP, Reissue, 180 gram



Release Date:

This reissue: 2019 | Original - 2015


World, Funk/Soul


Psychedelic, Funk

Catalog No: