Various Artist: The Rough Guide to Psychedelic Cambodia (Rough Guide)

 |   |  1 min read

Ros Seresyothea: Jam 10 Kai Theit
Various Artist: The Rough Guide to Psychedelic Cambodia (Rough Guide)

When the Khmer Rouge acted out John Lennon's Imagine ("no heaven, no possessions, no religion" etc) and undertook mass murder and driving the country back to primitive, agrarian times among the many millions killed were musicians.

That their music survived at all during those purges of people and possessions is akin to a miracle. But somehow recordings of artists in the Sixties and early Seventies who took an unusual approach to rock and traditional songs -- quite psychedelic if we take that description to mean mind-bending -- did survive. Some are on this rather odd collection, alongside newer bands like the familiar Dengue Fever and the Phnom Penh-based Cambodia Space Project.

Vocalist Ros Seresyothea is the standout on her half dozen songs for her piercingly high but flexible vocals, which come with backing ranging from weird surf-rock styles to something akin to Country Joe and the Fish.

Here too is Pan Ron (she died in the final purges when Vietnam invaded) who sounds like a slightly strange, and oddly flat in places, nightclub singer . . . but she has a real melancholy about her behind the cha-cha-cha and other odd musical settings.

Kom Veacha Th Sneha Knom here is billed as "traditional" but Cher would certainly recognise it as Bang Bang (if Yoko Ono sang it as straight as she could).

There's also a Dub Addiction track from the album Dub Addiction Meets Kampuchea Rockers Uptown, but it stands out as no more strangely psyched-out than anything else here. In fact rather less so.

The bonus disc here is by Cambodian Space Project, so this is another good double-deal from Rough Guide.

One for the more courageous listener, perhaps? 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE WORLD MUSIC QUESTIONNAIRE: Bebel Gilberto

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE WORLD MUSIC QUESTIONNAIRE: Bebel Gilberto

Given her parentage – her father the famous composer/singer/guitarist Jaoa Gilberto and her mother the singer Miucha – it would have been harder for Brazilian bossa nova star Bebel... > Read more

Afrobeast: Yaaba Funk (Sterns/Southbound)

Afrobeast: Yaaba Funk (Sterns/Southbound)

Here's a true meltdown of many African styles from a multi-culti/multi-continent group from Brixton which pulls together juju guitars and a horn section, brings in some rolling Afrobeat percussion... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Harry Manx, The Tuning Fork, Auckland, October 3 2014

Harry Manx, The Tuning Fork, Auckland, October 3 2014

About now Real Groovy – the secondhand and new music store on Queen St in Auckland – is celebrating its 331/3 anniversary.... > Read more

GUEST WRITER VIKY GARDEN is seduced by the Impressionism, again

GUEST WRITER VIKY GARDEN is seduced by the Impressionism, again

To be honest, I was very sceptical about the forthcoming documentary The Impressionists (Sky Arts Channel, Thur April 19, 8.30) I mean, the Impressionists – what don’t we already... > Read more