Various - Molam: Thai Country Groove From Isan 2xLP


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Label: Sublime Frequencies

Our Review:

Compiled by Mark Gergis from a multitude of sources, this collection of Molam music comes from a distinct window in Isan, Thailand history. Molam, which comes from the rural areas of Northeastern Thailand and neighboring Laos, was for many years generally characterized by male and female vocals backed by the khaen (a free-reed mouth organ). Migrating rural Thai and Laotian people to the cities modernized their Molam with electric guitars, bass, drums and keyboards and the music spread like wildfire to the urban population. Inevitably, through the ever changing nature of music and the economically driven producers, the electronic keyboard surpassed the need for a band and the music was more often than not reduced to the standard pop that is ubiquitous throughout Thailand. This is a time capsule of the glory days of Molam gone electric. Certainly fans of the Cambodian Rocks compilations should take heed here as well, but you will find a collection of tracks that are much more removed from Western rock. Firstly, there are no covers of popular rock songs, nor are the melodies here even related - except by chance - to Western pop. These are all traditional tunes that have merely been arranged with modern electric instrumentation (which isn't to say that you won't here any khaen on these tunes). It is the vocals though that are what really drive these songs, modernized or no. With melodies that seem utterly independent of what the band is playing, the lilting, almost yodelled, singing is unlike that of any other region in the world. Dare we say it's quite mysterious and sultry. Oh so very highly recommended.