Various Artists

Thai Funk: ZudRangMa, Vol. 2

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The second volume in Maft Sai's Thai Funk: Zudrangma series picks up where the first one left off -- to a point; then it veers off in its own unique direction. Where the first volume relied heavily on covers of Western funk, rock, and pop tunes from the late '60s through the '70s (often with different titles and lyrics), this second volume delves deeper into Thailand's Luk Krung, or urban style of pop music. While electric guitars, popping drum kits, and organs -- B-3s this time instead of Farfisas -- are still the prevalent instruments, modalities and concepts of harmony and even scale are more Eastern than Western. The grooves are deeper, dirtier, wilder; even as more traditional Thai takes on Western forms are employed, they get further out and funkier. Check the opener, "Singto" (Lion) by Bualuang OST, where indigenous percussion instruments are used to introduce a stomping instrumental version of "You Can't Sit Down." Elsewhere, "Sara-A-Mor-Sara-R: Kee Mao" (D-R-U-N-K: Pissed), the first part of Soonthorn Sujaridchan's two-part tribute to getting messed up, uses a wildly primitive clavinet with a wah-wah pedal amid a J.B.'s-style horn section and killer breakbeats, even as the vocals are chanted in Eastern phrasing. The second part, "Sara-A-Mor-Sara-R: Kee Mao Lae" (D-R-U-N-K: Wasted), while being a remake of the first, delivers compelling textural differences -- flute solos, shimmering acoustic pianos, heavily reverbed spacy guitars, and hand percussion layered over snares and hi-hats. "YomMaBan TaLangKan" (Officer of Hell’s Announcement) by Sripai Jaipra uses a psychedelic blues vamp with swirling organs and surf guitars, but his vocal mode is entirely otherworldly. "Ba Bor Por Khan" (Crazy Same Same) by Sroeng Santi is pure hardcore Asian funk. The high-class studio sheen of "Ya-Ya" (No-No) by Chantana Kittiyapan sounds like David Axelrod producing a very distinctly Luk Krung version of Labelle's "Lady Marmalade." "Loy KraTong Disco" by Oriental Funk delivers exactly what it says, but furiously, with racing hand drums, horns, and a swinging, exotic female chorus. "Kard Klan Nam Mun" (Lack of Gasoline) by Rayrai Na Koratch is a fiery, twisted form of garagey new wave death disco with scorching guitar solos. While the first volume was delightful for its quirkiness, this one is far more interesting to both listen and dance to. The sound is even better than the debut entry in the series, though lamentably, there are no real liner notes or artist information included.

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