Dave Brubeck’s, Take Five, gets the Pakistani treatment

Fantastic! Just watch that tabla player go!



Album of The Day: Gabor Szabo – Spellbinder (1966)

An absolutely fantastic melange of international influences, using the past as a framework for developing a new Jazz language. Accompanied by the sympathetic rhythm section of master musicians Ron Carter and Chico Hamilton, and Latin percussionists, Willie Bobo and Victor Pantoja, Szabo deftly combines a world of inspiration into a modal groove with early psychedelic touches, a style for which he became known over further albums. The album features Gypsy Queen, which Carlos Santana would cover on his chart topping album Abraxas, and a striking arrangement of the Sonny Bono penned Cher hit, Bang Bang, with a rare vocal from Szabo. When I thrifted a CD copy of this, it didn’t leave my car stereo for about a month.

Sun City Girls, Torch of The Mystics, to be reissued.

I purchased this from the Forced Exposure mail order catalog when it was released, and though I recently ditched it, I’m glad to see that the world now has the chance to purchase an affordable copy of this, the undisputed highlight of their catalog. The SCGs had already built an impressive resume via tapes on their Cloaven Cassettes label, and LPs on Placebo Records, but on Torch of The Mystics, they dropped the Cloaven Theater antics, and occasional, ahem, “standard'” rock structure of their earlier shenanigans, and went straight into a third eye psychedelic ethno punk jazz that was truly their own sound, and the basis for all their future output. Words cannot do justice to how different, even to one familiar with their work, this was to everything else being released at the time. Every time I hear it, it takes me back to that moment, which is high praise indeed.


Trailers for forthcoming documentaries on the amazing Cambodian, Khmer era, music scene : “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll” and “Elvis Of Cambodia”

If you, like me, scour the bins/internet for lost musical obscurities from all corners of the globe, “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll”, should be a documentary worthy of your time. Not only does the movie feature unseen and rare footage of the area’s talented musicians, it’s a document of the troubled culture clash of a country beset by a bloody civil war.

On the border of the war in Vietnam and sandwiched between the American backed Cambodian military and the emerging communist power of the Khmer Rouge, these performers were true Rock and Roll rebels often facing imprisonment, or worse, for their westernized contribution to Cambodian culture. Two of the biggest names to emerge during that period, Sinn Sisamouth and Ros Sereysothea, both died under mysterious circumstances when the iron fisted Khmer Rouge came to power in the mid-seventies, so it’s safe to assume a similar fate for other, less recognized, artists. Circumstances were such that by the end of the Cambodian genocide, it’s estimated that as much as 1/3 of the population had been killed. Oddly enough, with that omnipresent threat, the wild sounds did indeed abound.

The music of sixties Cambodia was almost entirely unknown in the Western Hemisphere until 1996 when psychedelic reissue label, Parallel World, produced the compilation, Cambodian Rocks. The music, while clearly influenced by Western Rock, was clearly it’s own beast, incorporating indigenous folk and popular elements, creating a uniquely Cambodian psychedelic stew. The first volume of Cambodian Rocks proved so successful that it necessitated a sequel AND provided the blueprint for modern bands like Dengue Fever and Neung Phak to further develop and bring these sounds to the masses.

In addition to the above, fans can rejoice in the upcoming Sinn Sisamouth documentary, “Elvis Of Cambodia”, which should give the most complete, English language profile, of the legend to date.

The company producing King Of Cambodia also has a WordPress, so follow ’em and stay up to the minute!

WFMU’s page has the entire Cambodian Rocks Vol 1 hosted here: http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2007/12/cambodian-rocks.html
and thank youtube for Part 2

The Sublime Frequencies label has also made a significant contribution to our knowledge of Cambodian, and other similarly under recognized cultures, music.