DIY Disco Molam

06/06/19Bangkok's Zudrangma Records Releases Exceptional Compilation Of Khaen Sang Rarities

Say what?! We were instantly captivated by the sounds of this new compilation on Bangkok's Zudrangma Records, once again expertly put together by Chris Menist and Nattapon Siangsukon, aka Maft Sai, of Paradise Bangkok fame. "DIY Disco Molam" presents an exceptional collection of catchy experimental molam tunes by Thai producer Soonthorn Chairatanachot, "previously only released  as a short run of 45s on his private label Khaen Sang and featuring only members of his family." 

Instantly intrigued by his music, Chris Menist and Maft Sai decided to pick their favourites and put them back into circulation with another stunning record (make sure you also check out their recently released "Suphanburi Soul" compilation): "The sparse production style immediately marked it out from other molam we had unearthed through hours of searching. [...] The records felt so ahead of their time, though whether this was intentional or not is hard to pinpoint." 

Soonthorn Chairatanachot was born in 1938 in Sarakham, a town in the north-eastern district of Isan. Both his paernets were famous molam singers and he was trained from a young age, while also learning to play the khaen mouth organ. His talent showed early on and he began to perform publicly at age twelve. During his military service in 1957 he performed on a military radio station and thereby became known "to an even wider audience." 

After a brief stint as a monk, "he joined Sun Thirat Pirom, one of Thailand’s longest running music collectives," and continued to hone his skills. "Whilst he had a huge following as a live musician he’d never released any music, and through a friend, who had a recording studio and a tape echo, he embarked on what would ultimately be his only recordings, using family members on instrument and vocal duties. It is here that an unanswered mystery begins - no one is sure when the recordings were made, or what inspired their unique sound." 

Soonthorn Chairatanachot passed away in 2004, but his musical legacy remains and sounds as modern as ever. You can stream/buy the full "DIY Disco Molam" release on the Zudrangma Records Bandcamp page and we strongly advise you do. 

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom