Thai Funk Zudrangma Vol.1
In some ways it's difficult to describe what Thai funk actually is - like other funk and soul made outside of the US, it is a reflection and filtration of ideas and sounds heard from visiting bands, off the radio and off records and cassettes, recast in a country's own image. For Thailand it is termed 'Luk Krung', largely music for the urban crowd, and considered more 'sophisticated' than 'Luk Thung' or 'Molam' which has more sway in the rural areas of Thailand. But rather than being totally divorced from Thailand's rich musical traditions, it still retains its links with the country, not least because most of the music is still sing in Thai, and local musical elements still seep through in the sounds and arrangements. At the forefront of this musical style were The Impossibles, who still occasionally play in Thailand. With a deal with Swedish Phonogram, and a residency in Hawaii, they represented Thailand's international aspirations, which is maybe what Thai funk is about - the music of a people engaging with what is happening internationally, but putting in some of their own flavour for the rest of the world to enjoy.
Beautifully packaged in a hand-stitched soft cloth sleeve (patterns and colors may vary), and limited to 1300 copies worldwide, this first collection compiled by Maft Sai for Bangkok‘s Zudrangma Record label brings 18 forgotten seventies Thai pop, garage, and funk tracks by 16 artists into the spotlight. As with a lot of music culled from the bins of little shops and markets of Southeast Asia, where original master recordings are virtually impossible to track down, the recordings were transferred from their old vinyl source, giving each song a slight crackling quality, as though you just dropped the needle down on a record that no one in the western world has ever heard of before (and likely hasn‘t).
From Meesak Makaratch’s “Luk Ron” to the superbly funky “Kun Rod Fai, Pai Rod Bus, Kee Chang, Kang Tent” by The Hot Pepper, the album gets sprayed with horns, wah wah riffs, bass-y hip-swaggers, and pre-disco funk numbers like Royal Sprite‘s “Yang Hai Mun Hong.” There are no details about the artists themselves or when the song was recorded, which gives a sense of mystery to the whole CD. But there is some familiarity: Kana TNT’s “Kod Hang Kam” borrows completely from Pink Floyd‘s “Another Brick In the Wall Part 2,” and Pranee Thanasri’s “Chown Thur Ten Rum (Ask You For a Dance)” is the “Funkytown” you’d hear at some seedy Bangkok discotheque in 1979. Very diverse and weird. Impress your cultured friends with this, a no doubt about it ethnomusicologist’s wet dream!
1. LOUIS KENNEDY - Pu Yai Lee
2. MEESAK NAKARATCH - Luk Ron
3. CHANTANA KITTIYAPAN - Chee Vit Kon Dum
4. THE HOT PEPPER - Kun Rod Fai, Pai Rod Bus, Kee Chang, Kang Tent
5. ONGART JEERAPAN - Ka Ma Kon Deay
6. PLEARN PROMDAN - Sam Bai
7. ROYAL SPRITE - Yang Hai Mun Kong
8. KANA TNT - Kod Hang Kam
9. PANADDA CHAYAPARK - 5000 Nut
10. PRANEE THANASRI - Chown Tur Ten Rum
11. PANADDA CHAYAPARK - Rus Pu Tin
12. NAKPLANG KRUMKLOWNA - Disco Tour
13. CHAMPOO - Arai Arai Kor Disco
14. BUPPA SAICHOL - Sheng Ra Bert
15. CHAIRAI CHAIYATA/SAWANEE PATTANA - Khown Tai Doey Loak Puin
16. CHANTANA KITTIYAPAN - Sa Ra Wan
17. SROENG SANTI - Nam Man Pang
18. THE IMPOSSIBLE - Do It (Till You're Satisfied)