Sunday, September 25, 2011

Unknown Thai Orchestra

This recording has been issued and reissued a few times, but seems to be out of print again. It's available elsewhere on the internet, but I keep returning to it again and again and decided to put it up here so as many people as possible get a chance to hear this... First made available in 2000 as "Siamese Temple Ball," it was later repressed on vinyl with the cover you see here as "70s Thai Orchestra." There seemed (seems?) to be quite a lot of speculation as to whether this is actually a field recording of Thai musicians from the '70s or some jams whipped up by hipsters in a practice space in Brooklyn. After sifting through a solid amount of the vintage Thai music on offer over at Monrak Plengthai, I'm going to go ahead and say there's no way this is not authentic Thai music, unless you can show me a Brooklynite who slays on a bamboo mouth organ. I may be way off here, but this sounds to me like an electrified, (more) frenzied version of the klong yao tapes downloadable from Monrak. Meaning it is in fact music played at a temple fair in Thailand. It's not hard to hear where the confusion arose, though. The foundation is provided by what sounds to be a trap kit in the process of disintegration, some hypnotic electric guitar and pulsing bass. It's got an addictive kind of shambling groove going on in places,  making it a distant aural cousin, to my ears, of the recordings bequeathed to us by the great Parson Sound. But it's the traditional instruments such as the gamelan-esque xylophone and the aforementioned mouth organ that really take these tunes to the next level, giving them an unhinged psychedelic edge enhanced by the ecstatic whoops and hollers you can hear way down in the mix. Must have been one hell of a temple ball.

In case you need further convincing, this is the only sound sample I could scrounge up on the web. In keeping with the confusing history of this recording, someone has delayed the fuck out of one of the tracks and slapped it over some unrelated video of Thai dancing, apparently trying to pass it off as something they taped on their last vacation? Who knows. I think the original recording does quite nicely without the sonic tinkering, but here it is, for preview purposes only:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ilaiyaraaja - Adutha Vaarisu OST (1983)

When well enough just can't be left alone... Here's one more download of synthtar bombast from the Maestro Ilaiyaraaja.

This track seems like it has to have been sampled by J Dilla or Madlib, but maybe not. All I know is that is one brutal groove:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ilaiyaraaja - Ninaivellam Nithya OST (1982) & Garjanai OST (1981)

My mind having been thoroughly boggled by those Solla Solla comps out on Finder's Keepers, I couldn't help but do a little digging around the Internet. Come to find out that the songs collected on those two platters are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

If you haven't heard them, Solla Solla Vols. 1 & 2 are collections of Tamil film scores from southern India spanning the relatively short period of 1977-1983. Of course, that brief span was more than enough for Kollywood soundtrack maestro Illaiyaraja to score dozens and dozens of movies. And he's still at it today! Round about that time, though, he was wont to throw some gray matter melting synthesizers and other delights over the top of perhaps more typical Indian OST fare. What's so unique about Ilaiyaraja, really, is his equally masterful grasp of all sorts of Western rock, funk and jazz tropes along with Indian classical music. In this case, I don't think the press hype goes too far in saying that he may possibly be a genre unto himself. If you're not convinced, I've scrounged up a couple soundtracks (they're short, so I've included two) full of songs not featured on either of the Solla Solla discs.

Raga Me This

First off, there's Ninaivellam Nithya from 1982, featuring the following little gem. The dancing seems to have been universally panned by YouTube commenters, and I'll defer to their expertise on that point, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a catchier tabla-fueled synth and Indian string jam this or any other side of Madras.

Also included is Garjanai, from a year previous. Not too shabby, either, I'd say.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Akiko Yano - Japanese Girl (1976)

Alright, Pop Overbite is back for real now. Been on a bit of an avant singer/songwriter jag here lately, and I figured this was as good a place to start as any. "Japanese Girl" is Akiko Yano's debut from 1976 and the 26th-best Japanese rock record of all time, according to Rolling Stone Japan (ahem). I don't know if this really even qualifies as rock, though. It's a truly odd mix of lots of things that shouldn't work together in theory but do. Isn't that always the way? '70s synths clash with rubbery bass lines and compressed drums, Latin percussion patters behind Akiko's piano and vocal acrobatics, traditional Japanese instruments and melodies are squeezed into almost-proggy time signatures. But always glued together by a tight pop sensibility. Oh, and did I mention that she was backed on half of this record by Little Feat? Better just check it out before you get any more confused.

All but the best three songs are available on Youtube. This should give you an idea, though:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Arthur Verocai - S/T

Apparently, Arthur Verocai is old news to crate diggers and beat makers, but I just caught wind of this 1971 album from Brazil's answer to David Axelrod thanks to a fine homemade comp of obscure Tropicalia and more over at Ghost Capital and thought I'd post the whole thing. I can see why dudes like Madlib and MF Doom are all over this. Breezy Brazilian pop dipped in reverb with big brassy choruses, unpredictable arrangements and sample-ready 70s drums anchoring it all down. Perfect for summer or any time of the year, really.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Joachim & Rolf Kühn - Bloody Rockers

As featured on the unfuckwithable Byg Deal comp, German free jazz vets and brothers Joachim and Rolf Kühn here bring their unholy organ and fuzz-wah clarinet skills to bear on a set of relatively poppier material, circa 1967. Big brother Rolf got his start on the German big band scene and would later go on to play with the likes of Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey, while baby Joachim was a familiar face in Eurojazz blowout circles. Mix those two ingredients about half and half and you've got "Bloody Rockers," perhaps the finest in-and-out balancing act I've ever laid ears on. Numbers such as the title track keep things firmly in the pocket, without slacking on the Neu Thing solos, while tunes such as "To Our Father" take things out to lunch, complete with a bit of Krautnik spoken word. And then there's the likes of "El Dorado," which move between free and 4/4 in ways you might not have suspected possible, topped off with glorious Morricone-esque melodies for a smooth, refreshing finish.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

V/A - Beat der Sozialisten, Vol. 2

Pop Overbite is going on vacation for a month or so, but here's one for the road, another compilation to keep your ears occupied for a bit... This one is all bands from the former Eastern Bloc. There's the requisite amount of typical period fare here, but there is enough Bolshevik brilliance to make this one worth your while. Check out the broken amp fuzz of Krzysztof Klenczon (below), Hungary's General flexing their heavy pop chops with some Rob Halford-like banshee wailing from their frontwoman, some funky drumming from fellow Magyar lady of rock Kati Kovacs, a bit of early Scorpions-esque proto-metal from the DDR, with what sounds like (but I suspect is in fact not) a Jew's harp, courtesy of Puhdys... And the list goes on. Check it out for yourself!