zudrangma

Maft Sai (Zudrangma Records): Maft Sai is one of the most well known music enthusiast in the world. A collector and selector for over a decade, he is perhaps best known for establishing Zudrangma, a record label and record store based in Bangkok, Thailand. Specializing in, but not limited to, Thai Funk, Luk Thung and Molam Music, Zudrangma has become a must-go for any music enthusiast. As described in his website (www.zudrangmarecords.com), Maft Sai spins a “… mixutre of Roots Luk Thung/ Molam to Reggae, West African, Ethiopian, Far Eastern Psyche and underground sounds from around the world.” This will be the most eclectic Cliff Notes yet, be sure to make your way to the event.

photo originally from: http://www.drumandbass-rec.com/

Equal parts hypnotising past and pulsating future, the Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band’s 21st Century Molam strikes an engaging compromise between 60s/70s Thai pop and groovy folk rock, with teases of heavy dub. This unique aesthetic - initially forged through compilations assembled by band members and crate diggers Maft Sai and Chris Menist - has led to a multitude of events in the Thai capitol, the ZudRangMa record label and shop, and now this just released debut album. Taking traditional influences and then stepping forward, this is a rollicking Bangkok back alley funk party that is simply not to be missed.

 

“Sao Sakit Mae” eases in, with Kammao Perdtanon’s phin lute intro then teaming up with Sawai Kaewsombat’s khaen (large-size bamboo harmonica) to set the stage for the rhythm section’s entry. Instantly mesmerising. The minor tones pair well with the powerful drums, a frequent dynamic throughout the album. “Roob Lor Pu Tai” follows this same formula per se, but here it’s the stomp of the perfectly in synch drums and bass that propels the track’s uptempo melody. The stuttering off-beat tones two-thirds in provide both intrigue and a clever compliment to the relentless groove.

 

The khan leads on “Kwang Noi Chaolay” before the bass teases a few bars and then the the full band hits their stride once again. Each instrument provides surprising depth, not only due to the obvious musicianship but also the mutual sense of pacing and timing required to keep all instruments simultaneously thick in the jam. On “Studio Lam Plearn” its melody alone first, for nearly a minute, before the rest of the band hops in, not needing a measure to get loose.

 

“Diew Phin Rotfai Kwanreo Soong” begins with some multi-string action, allowed to ring out nicely, before the nearly frantic theme makes its presence. Again, its sans backing band, so phin lute to start, though this time that’s how it remains which results in a dazzling display of musicianship. “Lam San Disco” finds a nice hand-drum beat paired with the ever-robust phin lute, with the band moving in with a rock & roll sensibility; that said, it’s the sliding bass which stands out here.

 

Correctly named given the obvious influence, “Zerng India Prayuk” finds the band looking further west within Asia, as the melody line references the sounds of the sitar. The rhythm section ventures nowhere near such subcontinental stylings however, with the bass pushed forward in the mix amidst the dissonance. Almost squawking to a start, “Kiew Sao Pu Tai” finds some nice space for the Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band to breathe.

 

Picking the pace back up, “Diew Khean Tidsoot” is another acoustic cut, finding the traditional instruments in an engaging duet. “Show Wong Molam International” is certainly well-named, as the rock show vibe returns, uptempo and well-layered. The key on so many of these tracks is that the band finds a comfortable musical space as well as the time to explore it. Simple perhaps, but only deceptively so.

 

The vinyl edition ends there, but for digital enthusiasts two more cuts are included. Feeling very much like a walk through the paddy, “Lam Tang Wai Yook Pattana” is a slow-jam in all the right ways. However, it’s “Pu Tai Dub” that is the real gem, with the rhythm section completely locked in. The lute and some subtly hazy dub effects step in to make their appearances (with especially choice echoes as the album winds down), but this is a drum-n-bass affair first and foremost. Or is last and …?

 

Album is available for purchase (along with song previews) directly from ZudRangMa, on vinyl or CD, with iTunes in control of the digital. Only “Kwang Noi Chaolay” is currently streaming, although a re-rub and re-dub pair of “Roop Lor Pu Tai” versions are also out via a Rootikal and Nick Manasseh collaboration:

 

 

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This video features music from WFMU’s ‪#NewRekkid‬ of the Day: THEPPABUTR PRODUCTIONS (ZudRangMa), More great Molam Sound 72-75 Thai electric grooves http://bit.ly/NqUOyq

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#ParadiseBangkok is now playing! #ZudRangMa (at มงคลชาแนล สตูดิโอ RCA)