The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band – Planet Lam

planetlamThis is quite unlike anything I’ve heard before. Caveat: This is only the second example of  Thai music I’ve knowingly listened to, the first was an album of traditional music by Pong Lang.

This is apparently a reinvigoration of a traditional style known as Molam. Also, there is quite clearly at least one westerner in this line-up. Look at the dude on the right, who may have at least some reponsibility for the obvious western influence in some of the tunes, The Adventures of Sinsai especially combining a fairly standard rock beat and bassline with a wonderful Thai style melody played on an instrument I cannot guess at to marvellous effect. They also incorporate dub stylings very well indeed at times. My favourite tune, the indescribably wonderful Namtok (Waterfall) is impossible to put into words, really laid back with a sparse backdrop and meandering guitar over the top. Indeed, there’s a passage of tunes in the middle of the album that really, really, float my boat. The narrative of the album seems to get more and more traditional as it continues.

It doesn’t sound a million miles from folk music at times, which might be a silly thing to say because Molam is probably a folk music by definition. In fact, there might be a clue there. I wonder how much similarity there is across the various folk musics across the world? Then perhaps, supposing you’ve already clocked the strange similarities in mythologies across the world, and for the sake of argument may have noticed similarities in certain rituals from different parts too… well, makes y’think. If thinking is your thang, anyway.