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ISAN 

On their first album in six years, ISAN once more weave together electronic soundscapes, delicate rhythms and the occasional odd sound into a pulsating, ever-morphing whole. Glass Bird Movement is Antony Ryan and Robin Saville's eighth studio album since they have started the project two decades ago. Exchanging ideas between England and Denmark, where Ryan currently resides, ISAN have crafted an album which is reminiscent of heyday Boards Of Canada productions, the friendlier ventures of Aphex Twin or the most focused moments of Ulrich Schnauss, if you will. However, this album (as well their impressive back catalogue, as subtle it may seem) displays a strong signature. ISAN constantly move forwards without leaving their respective studios. And why should they - it's warm and dry in there and the kettle is always boiling.

The title Glass Bird Movement, like those of many of their records and songs, is the product of an free associative process which reflects ISAN's creative methods and frames the eleven songs in a way that triggers the imagination. Communicating less about their music than rather with their music, Ryan and Saville together immerse themselves in complex structures without shutting out their audience. Instead, the friendly bouncing grooves of songs like "Napier Deltic", the washed out harmonies of the aptly titled "Risefallsleep" or the circular rhythms of the album's opener, "Cuckoo Down", have dream-like, inviting qualities to them. ISAN are particular about incorporating the element of chance, a sort of second-hand human touch, in their music. If it's a cheap keyboard that is only good for one note in one song alone or a tape loop cut by hand, anything can find its way into an ISAN song. Even though they take most of their inspiration from the machines they work with, they do not fetishise their gear - but play with it.

Glass Bird Movement relies just as heavily on all those sonic idiosynkrasies as it does on the sophisticated rhythms and throbbing basses that form its foundation. Like the colourful art of Morr Music's in-house designer Julia Guther, which was based on Saville and Ryan's visual ideas, it is a record that very politely defies categorisation. One might call the music that ISAN make Intelligence Dance Music, as it has often been done. However, be aware that there has reportedly only ever been one person seen dancing to it. Glass Bird Movement is likely best enjoyed where it is warm and dry, while the kettle is boiling.

TRACK LISTING

1. Cuckoo Down
2.  Lace Murex
3.  Parley Glove
4.  Glass Bird Movement
5.  Leonardo's Formula
6.  Every Since And Then
7.  Napier Deltic
8.  Rattling Downhill
9.  Slow Rings
10.  Risefallsleep
11.  Linnæus

Soundway’s second foray into South East Asia is focused on North-East Thailand, the epicentre of Molam and Luk Thung Isan music. Hypnotic phin and khaen riffs, pulsing, electrified country rhythms and heartfelt vocals punctuate another journey into the lesser known reaches of 1970s Thai music.

In this second volume of 'The Sound of Siam' the focus is firmly on the music the sounds of north-east Thailand, or Isan and attempts to show how a genre evolved and developed from essentially an acoustic tradition with specific geographic roots, to one that started to incorporate other instruments and influences that reached out to the Isan diaspora around the country.

The term molam is actually two separate words pushed together: Mo meaning ‘expert’ or ‘doctor’ and lam meaning ‘to sing’. Hence the literal translation means ‘singing expert’. Many molam records have extended intros that allow a vocalist to establish the theme of the song, as well as flex their improvisational muscles.

Luk Thung (literally ‘song of the countryside’) is a much broader, rural style that had a bigger impact nationally. Artists like Saksiam Petchompu began fusing this style with molam, a move which propelled him to national fame. You can hear the influence of western funk, as well as Thai arrangements, on the luk thung Isan (as the hybrid became known) smash Jeb Jin Jeb Jai included here.

'The Sound of Siam 2 - Molam & Luk Thung Isan from North-East Thailand 1970 - 1982’ features 19 tracks, many appearing outside of Thailand for the first time. Both CD and double LP and is accompanied with detailed liner notes written by compilers Chris Menist and Maft Sai.

TRACK LISTING

1. Angkanang Kunchai - Kid Hod Chu
2. Panom Promma - Mainaa Tam Pom Loey
3. The Petch Phin Thong Band - Bump Lam Plearn
4. Angkanang Kunchai - Teoy Salap Pamaa
5. Saksiam Petchchompu & Pornsurapon Petchseethong - Jeb Jing Jeb Jai
6. Montien Tienthong - Kor Kai
7. Onuma Singsiri - Lam Plearn Toe Lhong Tong
8. Petch Asia Band - Lam Plearn Tua Yaang
9. Banyen Sriwongsa - Ramwong Saraphan
10. Thepporn Petchubon - Pa Gun Tor
11. Thonghuad Faited - Eua Aree See Sor
12. Angkanang Kunchai - Lam Plearn Mee Mia Laew Pai
13. Banyen Sriwongsa - Lam Plearn Kon Baa Huay
14. Thepporn Petchubon - Saam Gler Tiew Krung
15. Angkanang Kunchai - Yak Si Glap Isan
16. Chanpen Sirithep - Lam Plearn Kiew Bao
17. Thepporn Petchubon - Fang Jai Viangjan
18. Yenjit Porntawi - Lam Plearn Gok Kaa Kao
19. Rome Sithammarat - Sao New Look


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