Friday, 31 December 2010

Soundway Records & The Sound Of Siam

I used to work with a record producer called Tommy (D). He was a member of the Rough Trade record club (this subscription service where you get sent 5 new-release CDs every month or something) and when a new batch arrived at his studio, I would always have a good root through the pile. One day I chanced upon the original Nigeria Special compilation on Soundway records, and that moment CHANGED MY LIFE*

The subtitle to the CD says it all really. The quality is very consistent throughout, and it's spawned a whole host of further comps, like, err, the disco one and the rock one (which I actually haven't heard yet). My sister's got a bunch of them which I will be stealing very soon.

Since then, i've seen Soundway comps turn up in so many other people's collections too, they seem to be pwning the entire coffee-table afrobeat market (well, that's what it is, isn't it?)... and good for them, their label is awesome.

Anyway, it was with MUCH interest that I listened to their latest, and first Eastern-Hemisphere compilation; The Sound Of Siam, Leftfield Luk Thing, Jazz & Malam in Thailand 1964-1975 (Xmas present- thanks Doreen!). Who would really know what to expect of such a thing? As I put needle to the groove I literally didn't know what was going to come out of the speakers. Well, this did, and it's great:

I love hearing people sing in Thai/Mandarin/Arabic and the like, the microtonality sounds so exotic, and to hear it over the top of western rhythms and rock-band instrumentation is so so, erm, COOL?

I should also briefly mention another comp that I am currently digging, Pomegranates; Persian Pop, Funk and Psych of the 60s and 70s, recently released on Finders Keepers Records (I think that's something to do with über record-nerd Andy Votel). It's a similar thing, funk/jazz backings but this time with Iranian singers doing their thing on top.

Ch-ch-ch-check it out people
* Not strictly true

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