Various Artists - The Sound of Siam (4 stars)

Various Artists - The Sound of Siam

Experimental fusion reinvents world music genre

(Soundway)

Chris Menist’s intrepid Sound of Siam: The Leftfield Luk Thung, Jazz and Molam 1964-75 challenges the African, Latin and European dominated world music market while neatly shifting Deborah Kerr and Yul Bryner King and I images for the sounds of Bangkok bars and restaurants.

Nineteen varied tracks (‘luk thung’, meaning ‘child of the fields’ is Thailand’s most popular music style, and ‘molam’ is a folk song style from Laos) map an inventive scene fusing rural and urban sounds, while featuring subtle international influences. Artists such as Dao Bandon and groups including the Viking Combo Band create topical songs variously merging drums, gongs and xylophones with guitars and keyboards. Great booklet info, notes and visuals.

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