Friday, October 29, 2010

CD Review: Sound of Siam - Leftfield Luk Thung, Jazz & Molam [1964-75]

Various Artists
The Sound of Siam - Leftfield Luk Thung, Jazz & Molam [1964-1975]

The vinyl sounds of Thailand in the 1960's and 70's signaled a rise in various styles popularized in the cities and rural areas. The music of luk krung contains a longer running time than luk thung, or country music, and it is more instrumental. Molam is indigenous to the northeastern part of Thailand and it involves faster vocals, a mouth organ (khaen), a lute (phin), and a bowed violin (sor). Despite the fairly rudimentary classification, The Sounds of Siam... incorporate psychedelic guitars, groovy bass-lines, and hints of Latin or African influences. Many of the tracks are catchy, including "Lam Tung Wai", "Lam Toey Chaweewan", "Mae Kha Som Tam", and the instrumental hit "Soul Lam Plearn". The male and female vocals are passionate, funky, and never boring. The funk-ladened "Sao Lam Plearn" is very attractive. At any rate, the folks at Soundway Records have captured the musical pinnacle of Siam's yesteryear. Numerous obscure bands never-before-released outside southeast Asia are prizes for anyone into the psychedelic, funk-driven, folk music of Thailand. A detailed 24-page booklet includes music background and band/song information. The Sounds of Siam... put the fun in funk! ~ Matthew Forss

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