Thursday, August 16, 2007
Music I Liked And Didn't - 8/15/07 - 8/16/07
V/A: Molam - Thai Country Groove From Isan, Vol. 2 CD (Sublime Frequencies) - Whenever the great Sublime Frequencies label releases another batch of CDs, it’s a cause for celebration at the lair of the Sonictroubadour. “Molam - Thai Country Groove From Isan, Vol. 2” is one of two new CDs from Sublime Frequencies featuring authentic archival sounds from Thailand. It focuses on recordings from the 1970’s and 80’s which feature a unique hybrid of traditional Northeastern Thai (the geographic area known as Isan) folk song structures and instrumentation (like the khaen, a bamboo mouth-organ, and the phin, a Thai lute) and modern Western pop and rock influences and instruments. The resultant sound was (and still is!) something entirely new - a mesmerizing blend of organic Asian folk rhythms, hypnotic, bleeding keyboards, repetitive guitar figures, and amazing, jaunty, freestyle vocals*. Although the material on this disc is almost uniformly great, several tracks still deserve special note for their transcendent qualities: “The Generosity Of Our Fans” by White Leg Group, Chai Mungpon’s “Lady With the Big Eyes”, “Two Brothers Leave Town For Bangkok” from Doi Intanon And Group Suthep, “Give Responsibility To the Son-in-Law” from Soonton Chairoogruen (now there’s one in your face rock and roll statement of counter cultural defiance for you, huh?!?), and “Finishing My Business In Burma” by Aungkana Kunchai. Perhaps even better than the first volume, these unique and genre-defying tracks represent another great musical discovery from the fine folks at Sublime Frequencies and are a prime example of the kind of music that fuels the fire of the Sonictroubadour!
I can’t wait to dive into the other new CD from Sublime Frequencies that features authentic archival sounds from Thailand, “Thai Pop Spectacular”, next! Look for a review of it on Sonictroubadour soon.
* One final, related note - The vocals on many of these tracks and the rhythms on a few less sounded to me almost as if they were proto-rap, hip-hop, or, even, in a few cases, DJ “toasting”. That makes me wonder if there is, perhaps, some (as of yet undocumented, at least to my knowledge) connection between this music and those, seemingly, unrelated genres. Could some of these tapes have come back with veterans of Vietnam and to then be picked-up on by their younger brothers? Brothers who later may have become the OG’s of the genre? Obviously, I don’t know, as that is not among my areas of expertise, and it very well may simply be the case that both Molam and Rap/Hip-Hop were influenced, in part, by the same American R & B, Soul, and psychedelic Funk. All I’m certain of is that I detected some strong similarities in these two, otherwise, rather divergent musical styles that may merit further investigation.
If there are any old school Rap/Hip-Hop experts out there who may have something of significance to relate on this matter, I’d surely appreciate your commentary.
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Running Count For The Year
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