musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

paradisebangkok

The recently released debut album by the Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band, 21st Century Molam, is a very interesting collection of instrumental music. “Molam” is a style of Thai folk music, extremely popular in the country’s Northeastern “Isaan” region. Unlike most styles of Molam that feature vocalists, this “International” band from Bangkok (comprised of mostly Thais, but also a Westerner on percussion) focuses on instrumentation. And they boast a lively mix of instruments, including the khaen (a bamboo type of harmonica), phin (a Thai lute, or stringed guitar-like instrument), along with more traditional sounds such as bass, drums, and percussion.

In the liner notes to this CD, the arrangers of the music, DJ’s Maft Sai and Chris Menist, explain that the concept for the band was “born out of looking for records” around Bangkok. At their inaugural Paradise Bangkok party a few years ago, the DJ’s spun a wild mix of music, tunes that they felt to be “natural musical links between sounds around the globe,” from artists such as Mulatu Astatke, Augustus Pablo, R.D. Burman, and Fela Kuti. The spirit of those musical influences can be heard in the songs on this CD, and there are even times when I detect a surf guitar vibe, reminiscent of the Ventures or the Raybeats, but when all is said and played the compositions exude the distinctive sounds of Thai Molam.

If I have one criticism it’s that there is a bit of same-iness to the arrangements of some tracks. Perhaps adding a vocalist on a few songs would have spiced things up a bit, but I can’t fault the concept of making an all-instrumental album either. All things considered, this is pretty darn cool music. The CD contains 12 tracks with a total of 46 minutes. I got my copy at the Zudmangra Record Store on Sukhumvit Soi 51.

 

Meanwhile, here are the other CDs — newer albums and vintage delights — that I’ve been playing and playing and playing lately:

 

FJM_honeybear 

Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

Robert Plant – Lullaby … and the Ceaseless Roar

Syl Johnson – Twilight and Twinight Masters Collection

Rusty Bryant – Legends of Acid Jazz

Benjamin Booker – Benjamin Booker

 

barrencewhitfield

Barrence Whitfield and the Savages – Barrence Whitfield and the Savages (plus 10 for the Pot)

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Fly By Wire

Future Islands – Singles

James Mason – Rhythm of Life

Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

 

JW_reasonable

Jesse Winchester – Reasonable Amount of Trouble

Chumbawamba – Un

Ronnie Dyson – Lady in Red

Crown Heights Affair – The Very Best Of: Dreaming a Dream

Neil Young – A Letter Home

 

southtexasRSR

Various Artists – South Texas Rhythm ‘n’ Soul Revue

Mark-Almond – The Best Of Mark-Almond

Radney Foster – Everything I Should Have Said

Jim Lauderdale – I’m A Song

The Dream Academy – The Morning Lasted All Day: A Retrospective

 

rogernichols

Roger Nichols – Small Circle of Friends

Various Artists – Dave Hamilton’s Detroit Funk

Timmy Thomas – Why Can’t We Live Together

Dorothy Ashby – In A Minor Groove

Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence

 

vicgodard1979

Vic Godard & Subway Sect – 1979 Now!

The New Basement Tapes – Lost on the River

Sali Sadibe – Wassoulou Foli

Frazey Ford – Indian Ocean

The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers

 

lucinda_downwhere

Lucinda Williams – Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone

The Miracles – Renaissance/Do It Baby

Reigning Sound – Shattered

Magnum – Fully Loaded

Laura Lee – The Chess Collection

 

EF_rarestamps

Eddie Floyd – Rare Stamps

Dave Kusworth – In Some Life Let Gone: An Anthology 1977-2007

Various Artists – Living in the Streets: Vol. 2

The Abyssinians – Satta Massagana

Amos Lee – Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song

 

royalgrooves

Various Artists – Royal Grooves: Funk and Groovy Soul from King Records

Peter Bjorn and John – Gimme Some

The Frank and Walters – Souvenirs

Stoney Edwards – The Best Of: Poor Folks Stick Together

J.J. Grey and Mofo – This River

 

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