. issue XV : v .

by barathron

. artist : various artists .
. album : the sound of siam: leftfield luk thung, jazz & molam in thailand 1964-1975 .
. year : 2010 .
. label : soundway .
. grade : b plus .


Soundway, one of the top indie reissue labels in world music, branches out from Africa and Latin America into Asia with this release. As usual with this label, the research and documentation is top-notch. And their angle on Thai music is a bit different from what we usually see – the cheesiness factor is very low: no Western covers and really only one novelty item (it’s a good one, though). Instead, this is a thoughtful exploration of music from Thailand’s northeast, made in Bangkok by rural people who have moved to the big city as Thailand rapidly modernized in the 60’s and 70’s. Western influences of rock, funk and jazz are here, but they’re strictly secondary to a uniquely Asian style of music. Recommended tracks include “Lam Toey Chaweewan” (female vocal), “Wan Maha Sanook” (funky), “Ding Ding Dong” (novelty), “Kai Tom Yum” (jazzy), and “Pleng Yuk Owakard” (crime jazz). The Sound Of Siam is a very nicely conceived project that will bring yet another unheralded sound to the attention of adventurous European and American listeners.

by Bill Lupoletti