Merely a few days ago, if you had asked me to write a book report on the electric phin you would have gotten a blank stare. Turns out it’s an oddly-shaped, three-stringed Laotian lute and sounds pretty much like you’d imagine a Laotian lute would. My newfound knowledge is courtesy of Wikipedia and local psych-jazzers Sunwatchers, for whom the phin is only one aspect of their ambitious instrumentation. Besides the core of guitar-bass-drums the band also incorporates the alto sax and vibraphone. Combine all that together and you’ve got some pretty unique sounds. Fans of the instrumental and rhythmic experimentation of bands like Rhyton and Horse Lords should look no further for their new favorite up-and-coming Brooklyn band.
Sunwatchers are hot off recording their first LP, which is due out on Castle Face Records later this year, and sounds pretty damn great. The band has been playing together for a couple years now but Sunday marked their first show since the recording sessions. They put together an excellent showcase upstairs at St. Paul’s Church in South Williamsburg, drawing a sizeable and eager crowd for a sweaty Sunday night. But all left satisfied, and were rewarded for their diligence with an intimate, blistering set full of songs off the forthcoming LP.
I recorded this set from the stage lip where the mics picked up the bass, drums, guitar, and phin, while a feed from the mixer supplied most of the saxophone and vibraphone. The results are outstanding. Enjoy!
Stream the complete show:
St. Paul’s Church
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by Eric PH
Soundboard + AKG C480B/CK61 (stage lip) > Roland R-26 > 2xWAV (24/48) > Adobe Audition CC (align, compression, mixdown, normalize) > Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, exciter) > Audacity 2.0.5 (fades, downsample, dither, tracking, tagging) > FLAC
01. For Sonny
02. There Are Weapons You Can Bring to School
05. Ape Phases
Support Sunwatchers: Bandcamp