Friday, November 12, 2010

Ponglaang Kalasin: North-East (Esan) Melody (2252)

Really great tape of rollicking pong lang. Lots of cool instrumental Isan grooves here but it's the appearance of familiar classics like 500 MILES and YOU CHEA-IN HEART (Khun Hank!) that nudge things into an especially unique dimension. Both electric organ and wah guitar show up to add their energy. Music for the good times.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Festival Gong Keybar '98 "Sanggar Manggala Sami" (Aneka 1152)

Very nice collection of kebyar tracks from the Universitas Warmadewa's gamelan "Sanggar Manggala Sami", released as a result of their participation in the 1998 Bali Arts Festival. The lelambatan piece on side B is a favorite with it's exquisitely evolving long-form structure that's so characteristic of the repertoire.

Thai Classic Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

These two endearing cassettes were among the first tapes that I bought in Thailand way back when. Both volumes contain a number of excellent classical and traditional tunes, but note that the music does cut in suddenly at the beginning on several sides. I have very fond memories of playing these on my cheap walkman while walking around in southern Thailand, and, having had very little listening experience with any Thai music up until that point, really digging the new and strange sounds. Beautiful music.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Thai Orchestra: THO-RA-NEE-KAN-SAENG (T.106)

Thai museum aficionados may recognize the image that's on the cover of this tape. It comes from the Thai Human Imagery Museum. Located on the outskirts of Bangkok, this is THE place in Thailand to see uncanny fibreglass human replicas. The online caption for the scene depicted on the tape cover reads:

Slavery in Thailand existed as early as in the Ayuthaya Period. It was accepted as a way of life at all levels of society. Slaves were considered an asset of the master and classified into 7 categories, one category being babies born of slave parents. The old law stipulated that slaves could not gain their freedom until they paid their prices. If they fled for their freedom they would be executed.

I have no idea how the history of Thai slavery relates to the music on this tape (if directly at all) but after a number of listens I have to say that the overall vibe of sorrow and grief seems perfectly fitting. The instrumental title track that takes up all of side A is an epic in mournful form cycles. The B side is also all instrumental, containing a half-dozen tracks that further evoke the heavy feelings. I'd say "enjoy!" but it's not quite appropriate... so, here you go...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Baleganjur: Blahpane Kaja Vol. 1 (Aneka 960)

Another excellent tape from Aneka record... spesial baleganjur by Blahpane Kaja. Some fantastically focused playing, hypnotic waves of reyongan, swirling sulings, and gong pulsations captured on this one. Great stuff.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Padma Kencana Vol. 4 "Tabuh Gede" (Aneka 569)

Here's a cool tape of sublime lelambatan performances courtesy of Padma Kencana. I have a good handful of other Padma Kencana tapes that I'll try to post in the future - almost all are quite topnotch.