Various Artists

Music from Thailand [Arc]

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This album of ethnomusicological recordings from 1973 was originally in the archives of Deben Bhattacharya, but licensed to ARC in 1999. As one can tell relatively quickly upon listening to the album, the recordings are definitely of the ethnomusicological nature. Buddhist chant is included (a dead giveaway), and is rather less than exciting music. Other, somewhat more festive, music is also included though, for the sake of people who want to listen for enjoyment reasons. The funeral music is rather upbeat, and a few other festival songs emerge, along with another mainstay of ethno recordings -- the demonstration of various native instruments: here mainly the khaen (a mouth organ) and various war drums and gong circles. Overall, the music is certainly well performed, and has its own aspects of enjoyability without a doubt. This is generally music of the people, with festival, funeral, and religious music -- it may not be the most complicated music available in Thailand, but it can still hold a rhythm. For sheer musical enjoyment, one should perhaps instead pick up something else, such as Royal Court Music of Thailand, but for an armchair ethnomusicologist, this album, along with its relatively extensive liner notes, might not be a bad thing to give a shot.

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