KEXP at Trans Musicales: Flamingods

Live Video, Trans Musicales
03/17/2018
KEXP
Photo by Justin Wilmore

Today, we continue sharing our discoveries from the Trans Musicales festival in Rennes, France, where last December we captured twelve exclusive sessions. We’re sharing with you one unique session per week, and you can watch all the previously released ones here. This week’s feature is of Flamingods.

DJ Morgan says of the band:

Our last performance of the night came from London-based international psych band Flamingods. What began as the solo project of Kamal Rasool originally from Bahrain, his love for exploring instrumentation and all around groovy sounds from around the world led him to recruit his friends from high school Charles Prest and Sam Rowe, with the later edition of drummer Karthik Poduval rounding out the main lineup. The band digs deep into instruments from around the globe as well as guitar, bass, drums, percussion, and some amazingly rockin’ flute to create a classic psychedelic rock atmosphere with sounds just unusual enough to hook you in and make you lose track of time. When Kamal told me the last song they played in their KEXP session today was nearly 15-minutes-long, for example, I couldn’t believe that was true. It was truly mesmerizing.

There were two instruments that Kamal played that I was very interested to find out the story of. One was a guitar-esque instrument (which I must point out again seemed to be an unintentional theme today of non-western stringed instruments) which he told me is the equivalent of a guitar from Thailand called a Phin. It had a gorgeous flame-shaped head that honestly stole my attention through most of the set. I asked where he got it and Kamal said that sadly he didn’t get it directly from Thailand but had wanted one and checked to see if there was a Thai eBay, which of course there was, and he found a seller that made these by hand. Because of the unusual shape, there are not Phin-specific cases in order to ship them so the seller wrapped it immaculately in wrapping plastic so thick he said took over 2 hours to unwrap. It was worth it though since it is clearly in pristine condition! The other instrument I was interested to learn about is a Japanese keyboard that has the typewriter keys instead of traditional piano-style keys called a Taishōgoto. It has keys that press down on strings that make a sound similar to a zither, which Kamal uses through tons of distortion and effects.

Flamingods have been touring fairly regularly for the last two years, recently playing notable places like Iceland Airwaves. They are currently working on a new album that Kamal says will hopefully be out at the end of 2018, one song from which they played during our session today for the first time ever! I was so excited to hear that we’ll be premiering their new song when the session comes out. They also just released a re-recorded edition of a song from their second record called "Hyperborea (Parts I & 2)" five days ago that over the years has grown and changed from its original 6 minute long version to a new 13-minute-long behemoth that deserved an official re-do via 10” vinyl on Speedy Wunderground Records. They played it for us today in all its glory. I hope you enjoy the session as much as we did when it goes up. In the meantime, check out their latest EP called Kewali that came out this past May.

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